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What is burnout and what to do about it

In 2019, burnout was classified as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization (WHO). Burnout is specific to the work environment and, according to WHO, there are three main characteristics:

  • Feeling exhausted and depleted
  • Feeling distant or negative toward one's job
  • Having decreased efficacy at one's job

What can I do about it?

WHO is in the process of developing guidelines for mental well-being in the workplace. In the meantime, it is important that you take control of your mental health and well-being both at and outside of work.

Set goals. If you are unsatisfied with your current situation, it is important to set personal and professional goals for yourself. Evaluate where you are now and where you want to be. Set specific goals to help you get there.

Reach out. Seek out a trusted friend, family member or co-worker who you can share your feelings with. Talking with someone you trust may help you sort out your feelings.

Practice self-care. Self-care is not selfish. When you take care of yourself, you are a better friend, co-worker, parent, partner, student, teacher and leader. Whatever hats you wear, by taking care of yourself you perform better. Dedicate time for yourself each day to take care of YOU. Self-care looks different for everyone but may include things like exercise, journaling, being mindful or reading a book. It doesn't matter what you do if you focus on rejuvenating yourself without interruptions.

Get outside. Boost your vitamin D by getting some sunshine for 10 to 15 minutes per day. Vitamin D has many benefits, including disease-fighting powers. Don't forget your sunscreen!

Stay active. Move your body for 30 minutes a day in any way that makes your body feel happy. Some days this might look like a high-intensity workout. Other days it may be a gentle yoga class. Movement releases feel-good hormones in your brain and can help you renew and replenish.

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