These days, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by work. Defined as feelings of mental or physical exhaustion in the workplace, burnout is becoming alarmingly common. In fact, it’s at an all-time high, with one study showing work burnout peaks at 35 years old.
Though the idea has been researched since the 1970s, the World Health Organization (WHO) is only now classifying burnout as an official medical diagnosis. As reported by CNN, the condition was included in the the organization’s diagnostic manual, ICD-11, and the criteria listed for diagnosing it are as follows:
1) Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
2) Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
The manual urges doctors diagnosing burnout to first rule out anxiety and mood disorders, which result in similar symptoms. WHO also says that the diagnosis is applicable only to workplace environments.
It’s easy to see why burnout is becoming so widespread. With today’s technology, employees are accessible around the clock, heightening expectations when it comes to availability. Plus, given today’s economy, many people are forced to take on a side hustle to supplement their main source of income.
What’s more, societal and workplace pressures cause us to feel guilty for taking mental health days, despite evidence showing how beneficial these can be for both employees and their employers.
The World Health Organization clarifies that “burnout” is not a disease but still it remains an “occupational phenomenon” that could lead someone to seek care.
Essentially, people are busier than ever, and it’s clearly having a negative impact on mental and physical well-being.
Medical treatments for burnout have yet to be determined, but in the meantime, there are plenty of ways to help reduce work-related stress on your own. Meditation and other mindfulness practices has proven helpful for many, as well as implementing a strong work-life balance to find satisfaction outside of money-making ventures.