Burnout is a syndrome of mental, physical and intellectual fatigue. In effect, it is the reaction of the employee to chronic stress at the workplace and is characterized by three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, where the employee feels mentally empty, the depersonalization, where the worker develops a defense mechanism to deal with this emotional exhaustion, and feelings of reduced personal achievements gained as a result of the above two (Maslach, 1997).
Some symptoms can be insomnia or excessive sleep, frequent headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, dermatitis, physical exhaustion, propensity to accidents, increased use of alcohol, anger / irritability, feelings of failure, lack of emotional control (Unger, 1980).
It is usually shown in people whose work has the characteristic of giving, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, tutors, social workers, but also in many other professions that the investment of time in combination with great emotional involvement does not bring job satisfaction. It is not a coincidence that quite often it is found in managers and call center staff.
The reasons are many, the grueling working hours and excessive responsibilities. Also, difficult and conflictual relationships in the workplace, the incessant work or the preoccupation with an object indifferent to us. Another important reason is the lack of recognition and reward in financial and / or moral framework, as well as the uncertainty in relation to work and working future.
A first step in addressing the burnout is the early recognition of symptoms and acceptance of the problem. It is important to try to identify and resolve the factors that cause burnout or find means of venting feelings. Furthermore, it is important to begin to set realistic job expectations and realize that failures and errors are also in the work life.
Time management is of great importance. The detailed breakdown of our obligations and deadlines and the adherence to work schedule will help us to be consistent in our professional obligations without reaching the limits of exhaustion. In addition, we need to learn to refuse taking additional obligations when there is no time for successfully completion in order to keep our balance and not to connect our name with inconsistency in the eyes of partners and superiors.
Apart from this, it is necessary to reassess the time we spend at work in relation to the time we spend for ourselves and our loved ones. If time is disproportionate, we need to reschedule our priorities, integrating activities we are interested in, such as exercise, relaxation, and of course our people. In this way, we will "charge" our batteries, we will attempt to relieve our stress and will also improve the way we perceive our work.
Finally, it is important we avoid isolation. It is advisable to seek out help from our colleagues or family in case we need it. If symptoms still persist, we may need to consult a specialist.
- Antoniou Alexander-Stamatios (2008), Burnout: research approaches, ed. University Studio Press.
- Don Unger, (1980), Superintendent Burnout: Myth or Reality, PhD, Ohio State University.
- Maslach, C., Leiter, P.M. (1997), The truth about burnout, ed. Jossey‐Bass Publishers.