HYDERABAD: With World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising burn-out as an ‘occupational phenomenon’, it is no longer advisable to shake off the exhaustion after a tiring day at office as mere work stress. As Meenakshi Moorjani Kasturi, clinical psychologist at Pause for Perspective, says: “Stress generally should go after a relaxing weekend, but if the exhaustion is long-lasting, it is better the person takes a serious look at it.”
The WHO lists the following as the primary symptoms of burn-out:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Elaborating on the symptoms, Meenakshi adds: “People who have the perfectionist streak are more susceptible to burn out. In some cases, the condition might mimic the symptoms of depression. Apart from a declining performance at workplace, the person might find it difficult to gauge the number of assignments he/she might be able to handle. The other symptoms can be mental exhaustion and a low level of self-worth. In some cases, the person might get addicted to alcohol or other substances to cope with burn-out. In the event a person feels that he/she might be nearing burn-out, consulting a mental health professional is highly recommended.”
How do avoid burn-out?
Dr Jyothirmayi K, consultant psychiatrist at Continental Hospitals, lists out the following tips to avoid burn-out:
■ Do not compromise on sleep. A minimum of six hours of good night’s sleep is essential for our body and brain to function effectively. Sleep deprivation can lead to less concentration, irritability, mood problems etc which can hamper the quality of performance at work
■ Minimise gadget usage and pointless browsing of unnecessary websites at night
■ Make a few friends at workplace with whom you can talk about your issues
■ Learn to say ‘No’. One needs to accept that everyone has his/her own limitations with regard to the amount of work one should accept
■ Avoid comparing yourself with your colleagues. There will always be people beneath you and above you. Accept this fact and try not to be in a hurry to reach the top
■ Do not compromise on your eating and sleeping schedules for work. This leads to neurochemical changes affecting our mood, concentration, which in turn leads to burn-out.
■ Take breaks/ leaves when you feel you require them. Working harder to impress shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. Enjoying the journey is more important than reaching the destination.
— Kakoli Mukherjee