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          BURNOUT

          Burn completely

          Burnout syndrome—or professional burnout syndrome—is a psychological disorder related to prolonged or chronic stress that is characterized by a state of emotional tension arising from stressful physical, emotional, and psychological working conditions, resulting in the progressive and slow degradation of the individual’s relationship with work.

          Unfortunately, burnout, as per the phrasal verb which means “burning completely,” is increasingly prevalent in our society today, being a subject of scientific and political debate internationally and widely researched within organizational psychology. 🔥

          Not surprisingly, teachers, police officers, and health care professionals are among the hardest hit professions, not only because of heavy workloads, but also the emotionally stressful conditions they face on a regular basis. 👩‍🏫 👮 👩‍⚕️

          The disorder most commonly occurs in professions that require constant or intensive direct interpersonal involvement, such as education, health, social work, human resources, prisons, firefighters, and police.

          Inherently, the syndrome is most often linked to work, but it can also be caused by personal life situations, such as motherhood.

          It also affects women—but increasingly men as well—with demanding careers who are simultaneously the primary caregivers for children and/or other dependent family members. It’s important to strive for a work-life balance to avoid burnout. 💼 🏡

          A person suffering from burnout is in a state of physical and mental exhaustion, feeling worn out and overwhelmed, therefore unable to perform daily tasks (and not only at work). This implies a general malaise in the workplace, loss of energy, motivation, and interest, as well as hindered mental and cognitive ability.

          Burnout is not a “weakness,” nor is it “drama,” much less a “trend.”

          Did you know that burnout syndrome was first described almost 50 years ago?

          In 1974, a German psychologist living in the USA, H. J. Freudenberger, named and described breakdowns in health care and home care professionals, and later extended the syndrome to all professional activities in his 1980 work, Burn Out: The High Cost of High Achievement.

          Currently, the disorder is registered in the 11th revision of the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) as one of the psychosocial factors causing illness in connection with employment and unemployment.

          The World Health Organization defines burnout as “a feeling of intense fatigue, loss of control, and inability to achieve concrete results at work.”

          Causes and repercussions

          We have primarily focused on work overload; however, burnout is multifactorial and professional breakdown can stem from:

          • tensions between colleagues or with managers
          • treatment/wage disparities
          • high competitiveness
          • unrealistic/unspecific goals
          • work overload
          • very intensive activity
          • work subject to physical risks
          • changes in working hours
          • toxic environment within the company
          • job insecurity and instability
          • harassment and bullying
          • personal problems that interfere with work

          The feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion generates a multitude of negative attitudes and behaviors, including:

          • aggressiveness and irritability
          • social isolation
          • pessimism
          • mood swings
          • difficulty concentrating
          • memory lapses
          • anxiety and depression
          • low self-esteem
          • lack of motivation, apathy
          • feeling of worthlessness or failure
          • loss of productivity
          • poor performance
          • absenteeism

          Burnout is a psychological disorder with a strong impact on the body, and there are several physical symptoms that are concrete manifestations of this syndrome:

          • insomnia/sleep disorders
          • headaches/migraines
          • low back pain/muscular pain
          • palpitations
          • hypertension
          • sweating
          • asthma attacks
          • gastrointestinal disorders
          • lack or excess of appetite
          • constant fatigue
          • compromised immune system

          Early diagnosis

          Symptoms, heterogeneous and with varying degrees of severity, are usually insidious and progressive, making timely diagnosis difficult. This deterioration of the individuals’ relationship with work can be extremely slow—weeks, months, or even years. Recovery can also take weeks, months, or years.

          In addition, burnout, especially at an early stage, can be easily mistaken for other psychological disorders and illnesses.

          However, it’s not our place to explore the actual clinical diagnosis.

          What we can do is strengthen the importance of an early detection of potential symptoms, as this is the key to preventing chronic disease and is something we can do on a personal and corporate level.

          The vicious circle trap

          vicious circle”:

          • a continuing unpleasant situation, created when one problem causes another problem that then makes the first problem worse:
          Many people get caught/trapped in a vicious circle of dieting and weight gain.

          • a situation in which one problem causes another one, making the original problem impossible to solve:
          In a kind of vicious circle, girls did not study science because other girls didn’t study science, even though they were good at it.

          Burnout syndrome is a direct consequence of the emotional strain of professional life, but it gives rise to difficulty in maintaining interpersonal relationships, deeply impacting those affected at work, but also on a personal level.

          Burnout presents several traps in the form of vicious circles that can be truly difficult to overcome.

          Lack of enthusiasm

          Stress and frustration breed negativity and cynicism concerning work. This is the first vicious circle: you don’t feel motivated, and you cannot distance yourself from your problems, so as soon as you wake up in the morning, you no longer feel like going to work, let alone staying there for 8 hours. This aura of sacrifice ends up reflecting in the behavior of your colleagues and superiors toward you. By feeling devalued and criticized, you will be even more vulnerable to a lack of recognition and exhaustion, which will make you feel even less motivated the next day.

          Irritability and bad mood

          Do you feel that everything irritates you and you are often in a bad mood for no obvious reason? Your relationships with friends, family, and even your partner suffer from this and can become conflictual. Here we go in circles again…

          Exhaustion

          Are you constantly fatigued and feel that you can’t replenish your energy even when you rest? This permanent exhaustion will make you feel overwhelmed much more easily. And if you are overloaded with work, it’s more difficult to rest and truly regain your strength. It’s another vicious circle!

          Sleep disorders

          You may suffer from insomnia or difficulty falling asleep and end up sleeping less than necessary. You may wake up in the middle of the night or wake up too early and then have trouble getting back to sleep. Stress affects the quality of sleep and lack of sleep enhances stress. Are you seeing the pattern again? Yes, it’s like a chain reaction! 🔁

          Fear and anxiety

          You’ve been feeling anxious and fearful. You feel anxious even when facing situations that you considered trivial in the past. Constant and excessive worrying tends to linger even after we leave work and return home. Whenever we think of work, it’s as if we are immediately taken back there… Excessive worries and not being able to let go even at home with our family increase our levels of stress and anxiety. Once again, we enter a seeming dead-end.

          Poor performance

          Do you have difficulty concentrating? Do you tend to forget important tasks and errands? Do you find it difficult to complete your projects within set deadlines? ⏰

          Burnout affects our ability to manage stress, and the more stressed we are, the more complicated it will be to cope with new stressors. Whoever invented the vicious circle had to be evil, right? 😈

          And is there a solution?

          Of course. And, unsurprisingly, we will finish this article with a few practical suggestions to help our readers avoid burnout and face the problem. 😊

          👉 Learn how to manage stress. These days, relaxation and stress management techniques can be easily found online. Dive into it until you master a few key techniques. Regular physical activity and/or breathing exercises are also very useful to help maintain emotional balance and even control symptoms if you already suffer from some degree of burnout. 🧘‍♀️

          👉 Listen. Those suffering from burnout may be totally oblivious to what is going on around and inside them, not realizing that they may have a problem. Listen to the people you work with and relate to on a personal level and don’t dismiss their opinions, especially when more than one voice echoes the same thing. 👂 👂

          👉 Make some lifestyle changes to prevent or address the syndrome by reducing alcohol consumption, which can minimize anxiety attacks and fight depression; don’t do drugs; avoid caffeine and soft drinks and adopt a healthier diet. 🍆 🥕 🥬 🍎

          What we eat has a huge impact on our energy levels, but also our state of mind:

          • Avoid processed foods and eat fresh foods including vegetables, fruit, cereals, eggs, protein and low-fat dairy products;
          • Consume foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, kiwis, and berries because they help reduce cortisol levels, decreasing stress;
          • Magnesium from green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains is essential for energy production and has a calming effect.

          👉 Don’t use lack of time as an excuse not to enjoy moments of relaxation and leisure.

          👉 Evaluate how your working conditions impair your physical and mental health, and how they interfere with your overall quality of life.

          👉 Also evaluate the possibility of proposing solutions at your workplace for the way you perform your daily activities and the proposed professional goals: for example, make a list of tasks in order of priority and determine which ones you will have to do and which ones you can delegate.

          Learning to prioritize and delegate is an excellent strategy to prevent burnout; to avoid feeling frustrated and incapable, set specific and realistic goals; keep your perfectionism and professional pride in check.

          👉 Don’t compare yourself to others, know your limitations and recognize your capabilities.

          👉 Learn to identify and recognize the signs to protect yourself when faced with stressful situations. Besides listening to others, listen to your body as well to recognize the signs in time. Never be ashamed to ask for help.

          👉 Rest. If you are at risk of burnout and work is the one or the main source of your problem, then taking frequent breaks and not bringing work home with you will help you gain a broader perspective. Don’t forgo weekends and vacations with family and friends.

          Set limits, don’t be afraid to say no, slow down when you feel tired, and refuse to work overtime beyond what’s reasonable.

          👉 Take regular breaks throughout the day.

          Don’t be enslaved by technology, disconnect from social media and email, step away from your phone and computer for some time every day.

          Take one day at a time and try some of these suggestions to see how they can improve your mood and relationships.

          Also, don’t overwork. Delegate to professional translators like us! If you have content to translate, proofread or copywrite, just take a break and hire us to meet your needs for professional translation services, professional proofreading services, and even copywriting services!

          Take a look at our portfolio of specialized language and see what we can do for you.

          Tags: burnout

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