Since the pandemic started over a year ago, signs of burnout in employees have increased exponentially. A little over two-thirds of employees are suffering from burnout symptoms while working from home. On Bold TV, Dr. Kimberly Wilson, creator of The Burnout Cure, and Hamza Khan, author of “The Burnout Gamble,” discussed this epidemic.
What exactly is it?
According to the World Health Organization, “Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It can be identified in three ways:
- Sense of energy reduction or extreme fatigue
- Heightened mental distance and/or feelings of pessimism from one’s profession
- Decreased professional performance
What does it look like?
Khan said that burnout mostly occurs due to factors outside of one’s control, such as competition, alienation, society, technology, loneliness and the economy. Signs include exhaustion, isolation, escape fantasies, irritability and frequent illness.
More pressure; fewer resources
Wilson primarily focuses on female workers in the corporate world and entrepreneurs – more specifically patriarchy, gender norms and societal pressure. And she noticed there has been more pressure on women to perform with fewer resources since the pandemic. She said that many women feel pushed to be “perfect teachers, lovers, performers at work, friends [and] caregivers for family who have lost their jobs.”
Am I experiencing burnout?
Do you think you are experiencing burnout symptoms? According to Khan and Wilson, there are 12 stages; it’s a linear progression, and the first stage starts with the compulsion to prove yourself. “By the time you’re self-aware that you’re going through burnout, you’re further along the burnout cycle than you think you are,” Khan said.
Wilson discovered her own burnout when her body started physically reacting; she became pre-diabetic and pre-high cholesterol. “When you get to the point where you’ve forgone most activities to focus on your work, that should be a wake-up call,” she said.
Is it possible to recover?
To recover from burnout, Khan said you must reclaim your time, energy and attention. What priorities can you “delete, diminish, defer or delegate”?