What if I told you that burnout is a disease. Not in a figurative sense…but in a literal, clinical sense.
If you’re like me when I first heard this – you’re probably shocked. Maybe even in denial. How, exactly, is burnout a disease?
Well, it’s listed in the ICD-11 which is the International Classification of Diseases 11th edition, and has its own code [QD85]. Here’s the actual definition:
Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: 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; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.
The good news is that it’s preventable and treatable when organizations and people take the right steps!
Leaders, here are 6 things you can do to create a burnout-proof organizational culture:
✅ Ensure sustainable workloads
✅ Offer autonomy in people’s work
✅ Frequent rewards and recognition for effort
✅ Establish psychological safety as an expectation for interactions
✅ Create fair practices
✅ Provide the why and purpose for your people and their role
In addition to organizational changes, here are some things people can do for themselves to prevent burnout:
- Determine the triggers: Is it the job, a co-worker, the profession, the leadership or something else that’s leading to burnout for you?
- Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.
- Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.
- Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
- Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
- Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgment.
Here’s to your health and living a burnout-proof life!