We know: there are times when the work we conduct produces more stress than usual. It can be for a heavy workload, as well as for unexpected events. As long as it comes to short and occasional periods, it can be easier to keep anxiety and stress under control by preventing them from impacting too much on personal life.
Sometimes, however, the situation can be quite different. In a society where the new password is “multitasking“And in which everything” is needed immediately or / and is urgent “, it is always easier to fall into a vicious circle that causes additional stress. The latter in fact, can become chronic and difficult to manage and it is in this case that we talk about burnout.
It is a real syndrome recognized as such by the World Health Organization (WHO) which, however, refers to only work context. The term already gives us an indication of the nature of this condition as it means from the English “burst, burned“. In fact, when the subject does not have the resources to cope with situations of intense stress for some time, he can experience symptoms of a psychological and physical nature, consequently compromising the personal well-being.
With the help of the Doctor Sara Baldrighi, Psychologist and Psychotherapistlet’s see what burnout is, how to recognize it and what to do to overcome it.
What does it mean
«We talk about burnout when we are no longer able to cope with all the difficulties that arise in the workplace. They can manifest themselves:
- sense of failure;
- disinterest in doing something;
- loss of self-confidence.
Concurrently, they can occur somatic symptoms such as headache, ulcers, skin disorders, or even fatigue, apathy, insomnia ”, explains the doctor.
The term burnout first spread in America to identify a syndrome that mostly concerned nurses and doctors, or those who in the past decades were considered those most at risk of “burnout” because they were in contact with suffering people. In reality, the categories most at risk are those in which there is a high relational implication, so i workers in contact with the public.
«Burnout is characterized by 3 stages:
- exhaustionthat is the phase in which the person feels drained, exhausted, unable to rest and to plan other projects;
- cynicism, that is, the person takes a detached attitude towards work and colleagues. This behavior can be interpreted as a defensive attitude put in place by the person to protect himself from disappointment and failure. This can compromise the psychophysical balance;
- the feeling of inefficiency, where everything appears insignificant. The person feels inadequate, oppressed, unable to plan new projects », continues the expert.
“The following contribute to triggering Burnout:
- environmental factors like an overload of work, but also relational problems with colleagues that make the environment even more complex;
- individual factorsthat is linked to the personality and the ability of the subject to activate resources to deal with the problem.
Burnout is a contributing cause of all these elements, it is like a discomfort produced by inadequate management of work stress, it is a condition of discouragement that leads to a loss of motivation for goals», Explains Dr. Baldrighi.
Environmental factors can affect being able to find a solution to problems. As a result, you feel ineffective until you get to the exhaustion stage where you go to work to bring home your salary and the motivational drive is lacking that was there before.
«Burnout can have consequences on a physical and psychological level, since it can affect appetite or even sex life, for example. You no longer want to go to work, you are more angry and frustrated, you are no longer motivated, you start absenteeism, you have difficulty concentrating, you have a low self-esteemit is no longer possible to make decisions ».
In some cases, burnout can lead to behaviors such as alcohol abuse and drug use, eventually leading to depressionanxiety, panic attacks.
How to get out?
“First it is important recognize the difficult situation. Also, it is good that the person does clippings of moments of pause from work and has a social life outside the work context.
If all this is not enough, it is essential start a psychotherapy course. It is also good to listen to your body and mind and adopt behaviors that can prevent burnout, for example not skipping meals, doing physical activity, carve out time for yourself. If there is an important amount of work, it can be useful to define priorities (perhaps with your supervisor). Also, it is good avoid conflicts with colleagues because this can cause stress.
In general, to prevent stress from becoming burnout it is important to recognize the first symptoms and implement some strategies to better manage stress at work.