Living in a fast-paced metropolis like ours, it is natural to feel tired from time to time. However, increasingly, people feel dissatisfied with their lives. Couple this with high levels of stress, no work-life balance and general cynicism, you have a recipe for what is known as burnout.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO), included burnout in its international classification of diseases, that it “refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context…a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed…” The WHO identified three dimensions to burnout:
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
3) reduced professional efficacy.
When we think about how we’ve evolved over time, we can issue the blame to hyperconnectivity. Our inability to shut off has made us increasingly prone to burnout. For instance, our smartphones and for all it provides, have left us virtually on-call 24/7, in both personal and professional spaces.
From here, expectations change and clients can make last-minute requests after office hours. This is especially pertinent in smaller business environments. With the myriad of platforms that allow you to monetise a certain hobby, such as influencers on Instagram or writers on Medium, hustle culture becomes such an essential part of our personalities that having free time seems like a foreign concept.
Being “always contactable” does not mean “always available”, but it is easy to see why the lines get blurred over time. Wanting to pursue a hobby out of pure enjoyment seems almost a waste of time, consumption of content often turns into a mental debate and the pressure to maintain one’s mental health by “shutting off” can lead to a horrific case of FOMO. It’s no wonder people feel mentally drained by their work, it’s not that we’re working all the time, it’s just that the hyper fixation on productivity has intrinsically linked everything to work.
Burnout takes a toll on our mental well-being because we constantly feel negative about everything. For the sake of this argument, let’s take the idea of capitalism out for a bit, so forget about the money.
Think about when was the last time you were excited about work? Personally, work has been exhausting, but it is also fulfilling. Knowing that what you do has real impact really makes things worth it at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to go home to our personal lives feeling inspired and fueled by a day of passionate engagement in purposeful work. Conversely, boredom and monotony can also lead to burnout.
Having a different outlook can vastly change your mood. So, if you feel like you may be burnt out, take a moment to sort out your priorities. Make time for those you care about, find what you like about your work and focus on the good for a bit. As cliche as it is, rewiring your perspective can make a huge difference in your mood. Most importantly, take time off when needed. Remember, balance is key.