Burn-out: yesterday's crisis doesn't have to be tomorrow's

Written by Jamie Lawrence-Craig

A year has passed since the World Health Organisation (WHO) added burn-out to its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. Around that same time, BuzzFeed journalist Anne Helen Petersen described millennials as “generation burnout”. A year is a long time and the world is a different place now. The WHO is occupied by threats to its funding and a very different public health emergency. Many people are now yearning for a feeling of hard work, purpose, productivity and bustle. The generation in crisis, is now facing several other crises.

But things are going to change again just as quickly. Daily routines and typical relationships have been shattered by restrictions on movement due to coronavirus. Some people are working harder than ever, while others have lots of time to be thinking about a career change. When we do return to our new normality, we are going to be just as prone to burning out as we were last year. This is an opportune time to set up new routines and processes to avoid burning out.

Burn-out is not solely caused by overworking. It is typically triggered by a lack of control, lack of rewards, an increased mental distance from one’s job and an imbalanced work-life quotidian; the effects are exhaustion and “reduced professional efficacy”, according to the WHO. Plainly put, you feel atrocious and you become useless at your job when you burn out, which makes everything worse.

Here are a few things we suggest:

Your health

Sleep well, eat properly, and move around, preferably in fresh air. These are the essentials that every body needs, we can't survive without them. Find out how many hours of sleep your body needs, and get them. Make sure your diet provides the right levels of nutrition, but enjoy what you eat. Meanwhile getting exercise can be one of the most effective forms of meditation – do something you enjoy.

Your reality

Live your reality, and match expectations. Identify aspects of your daily life that you can change, such as your working environment or even your job. But don't just make a change, make the right change (Read our tips to revive your career).


Finally, work with your personality to restore and look after yourself. If you are an introvert, invest in quality time alone to recharge. If you're the opposite, be active in seeking the feelings of belonging, interaction and affection.

Burn-out doesn't mean too busy. Busy yourself with these things.

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