Most professionals, regardless of industry, have felt it: Fatigue, lack of focus, trouble completing minor tasks and chronic stress.
In today's workplace culture that values "hustle" over all else, burnout has become commonplace -- so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed it an official medical diagnosis. Here's why that matters and what it means if you're suffering from burnout.
Feeling completely overwhelmed at work? It's like burnout. This condition is now classified as "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," in the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) under "Problems associated with employment or unemployment."
This classification marks a big step in treating workplace-related stress and other health complications.
Additionally, physicians, psychologists and other diagnosing professionals must limit a burnout diagnosis to work environments, and shouldn't apply it to other situations, such as relationships or family life.
If you feel chronically exhausted or frustrated with your work, keep making small mistakes or feel stuck in a cycle of unproductiveness, you may want to take a trip to your doctor. Even if it isn't burnout, it's worth getting checked out.
Watch this: WHO recognises 'gaming disorder' as a disease, Best Buy cancels Samsung Galaxy Fold preorders
Why does burnout happen?
Burnout occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally and mentally depleted and unable to keep up with constant demands at work. As stress continues to mount, you may feel hopeless, disinterested and resentful when it comes to your work life.
According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans now work longer and harder than before: In one generation, the number of hours worked increased by 8% to an average of 47 hours per week.
40% of workers report their job as being very or extremely stressful
75% of employees believe on-the-job stress is much higher than it was a generation ago
Workers associate job stress with health issues more than they associate financial or family problems with health issues
Modern workplace cultures keep people constantly connected -- between email, messaging platforms like Slack, project management tools like Asana and more, it's no surprise people feel like they can never shut out their work lives.
Many professionals, particularly millennials, have internalized the idea that more work is always better, or that they need to work all the time in order to be successful. That internalization leads to chronic over-output and can cause lethargy and a lack of motivation.
Limit your time spent on work communication platforms as much as possible. For example, check your email once in the morning, once midday and once in the afternoon rather than keeping it open all day -- doing so will give you more time and energy to focus on your current tasks at hand.
Watch this: How Smart Cities and 5G will improve health, public safety and transportation
Limit your time on social media, especially when you're taking breaks from work. Instead, chat with a coworker, go for a short walk or do anything that doesn't require you to look at a screen and consume more information.
Set boundaries for your time and desires, too. For instance, don't feel obligated to go to events that aren't mandatory, even if they're work-related. If you can't answer with a resounding yes, you should probably say no.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.