Managing Burnout

Updated: Jul 24

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many employees have found themselves transitioning to the new normal. Essential workers found themselves going to work while risking exposure to the virus. For others, this meant adjusting to long zoom meetings and experiencing the dreaded “zoom fatigue.”

Regardless of the position, one thing that appears to be true is that the pandemic has introduced stressors for all employees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some stressors brought about the pandemic include changes in workload, uncertainty about employment, and having to balance both family and work.

What is burnout?

Contrary to widespread belief, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that burnout is a phenomenon experienced by those in the workplace-- a consequence of prolonged stress, the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases) defines burnout as consisting of the following:

  • experiencing fatigue

  • apathy or increased negativity towards one’s job

  • decreased productivity at work

Mental health providers, healthcare workers, and teachers along with other helping professions find themselves especially at risk of developing burnout. However, burnout can affect other career paths.

The risks of burnout are also widespread.

For one, burnout can manifest in a variety of ways.

  • For instance, one might find themselves losing motivation or having difficulty concentrating on tasks in the workplace.

  • Employees who are burned out may engage in more absenteeism compared to those who are not.

  • Prolonged stress might affect one’s emotional health. In response to burnout, one may experience irritability or anxiety.

  • One may also have physical symptoms in response to these stressors; one may experience insomnia.

  • One study also suggests that burnout can potentially adversely affect one’s immune system.

Burnout can also influence one’s behaviors; for instance, those who experience burnout may engage in less physical activity or eat unhealthier diets which can influence their physical health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of ways to help manage stress that one may face in the workplace during COVID-19.

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