Last Updated on July 9, 2019
Job-related stress is a reality that a lot of workers face in the modern workplace. The sheer difficulty of commute to work, the heavy workload and the unforgivingly late hours at the office are just some of the factors that contribute to the physical, mental and emotional strain that Filipino workers experience. And while stress can be easily dismissed as a normal thing that can be solved with a simple vacation or a weekend of rest and relaxation, in it’s much more severe forms, job-related stress, may lead to decline of health and quality of life.
With the prevalence of work-related stress among workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently decided to include chronic work-related stress – more popularly known as “burn-out” – in its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). But contrary to what has been widely circulated in the news and other channels, they classified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon and not an actual medical condition.
WHO defines burn-out as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” According to them, some of the classic signs exhibited by someone suffering from burnout include:
1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
It’s one thing to feel tired after a long day of work. But being depleted or exhausted even before you begin your day at work may be a tell-tale sign that you are burnt-out.
A lot of times, people exert too much of their energy at work that they start working on overdrive. But the body can only continue working on reserve fuel for so long that at a certain point, exhaustion will set in.
When you’ve reached this point, after a day at work you might crave nothing more than to crash into your bed and sleep your exhaustion off, hoping to recuperate the next day. But then even getting up in the morning to get ready for work may prove to be a labor. You’d want nothing more than to stay in bed all day but you need to get to work so you drag yourself out of bed to get yourself ready for another exhausting day at work.
2. Increased mental distance from one’s job
Job burn-out doesn’t only manifest itself physically. Those who suffer from burnout also experience a huge toll to their mental health.
If you are suffering from chronic job-related stress, you might noticed you are becoming more and more distant from your job. And apart from that, you might start to develop what WHO puts as, “feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job”.
This “disengagement” from your job may not be something that occurs immediately but builds up overtime. As you become burnt-out and disengaged from your job, it becomes more difficult to focus, show compassion and care abouts people or things.
The mental toll of being burnt-out can also translate into anything from being drained to feeling pressure and/or helpless with your job. This can lead to a slew of other related problems that can affect your relationship with the people around you including your boss and colleagues. At a certain point, the stress you feel at the office can also spill over your personal life and can affect the way you interact with your friends outside your work and your family at home.
3. Reduced professional efficacy
While small amounts of stress can increase your performance at work, job burn-out impact your ability to make decisions and accomplish tasks.
Employees who are chronically stressed or burnt-out tend to take more days off from work and are prone to absenteeism – both of which can already take a huge blow on work productivity. And as employees suffer from exhaustion and increased mental distance from their job, issues with punctuality not only going to work but in dealing with deadlines may arise.
Aside from the decline in productivity, your quality of work may also suffer. When you become mentally distant from your job and lose your focus due to burn-out, you tend to make more mistakes. This will not only affect your individual performance but also your team’s.
Dealing with job burnout
Job burn-out is a serious issue that no worker should take lightly and must be dealt with one way or another.
Recognizing the signs of burn-out is an important first step in making sure that it is prevented or remediated. Knowing that you are already suffering from burn-out will also allow you to slow down and step back a bit.
You might decide to take a couple of days off which is one of the more common ways to shake some of the stress away. But if you are dealing with a full-blown chronic stress, no amount of long-weekends and extended leaves can take it all away.
Aside from being able to identify some of the common symptoms of job burn-out, you also need to recognize the necessity to seek help whenever you are feeling burnt-out. You do not need to suffer alone or in silence. At the very least, talk to someone who can help you manage your stress be it your colleagues and managers at work or even loved ones at home. And don’t be afraid to also seek professional help when you feel like you have to.
The sooner that you that you deal with job burn-out, the sooner that you can return to your healthy and stress-free self.