The holidays are just around the corner and, hopefully, with a much-needed break from work. According to statistics by Zippia, 89% of Americans in the workforce have experienced some form of burnout in the past year, with “excessive workload” being the No. 1 cause of a person experiencing burnout.

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In 2019, burnout was “included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition,” per the World Health Organization.

What is burnout?

“Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.  If you are experiencing burnout, you may notice it is difficult to engage in activities you normally find meaningful,” per Darling Downs Health. “You may no longer care about the things that are important to you or experience an increasing sense of hopelessness.”

What are the symptoms of burnout?

Physical symptoms of burnout could include:

  • Headaches.
  • Stomach issues.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling sick often.
  • Poor sleep and appetite.

Emotional symptoms of burnout could include:

  • Feeling inadequate.
  • Feelings of negativity.
  • Self-doubt.
  • Lack of satisfaction.
  • Feeling isolated.
  • Lack of motivation.

What causes burnout?

When you feel underappreciated and overworked, it can cause burnout symptoms to get the better of you. To combat these feelings, Harvard Business Review advised focusing on the following:

  1. Organizing your tasks based on importance.
  2. Assigning responsibilities to others.
  3. Refusing additional commitments.
  4. Embracing a more flexible approach to task completion.

Feeling like you’ve lost control at times can make life seem overwhelming as you are persistently anxious and uncertain about whether your life decisions are correct. Harvard Business Review suggests asking yourself the following question: “What exactly is causing me to feel this way?”

After realizing the source of your feelings, evaluate what aspects of your life you can impact versus those that will remain unchanged regardless of your actions or words.

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How to prevent burnout

Burnout is a condition that needs to be taken seriously due to the toll it can take on an individual.

“It can lead to personal and professional dissatisfaction, social isolation, relationship problems, depression, substance abuse, and, in extreme cases, suicide,” per Midwestern University. “Therefore, it’s important to learn how to prevent burnout and to seek professional attention if it occurs.”

When experiencing burnout, many individuals turn to quick fixes to ease discomfort. Although this can be beneficial, it usually only provides brief peace. It’s also important to concentrate on approaches that will bring about more profound and enduring changes.

Mind Tools suggests the following tips for preventing burnout:

  • Work with purpose.
  • Clarify what’s expected of you.
  • Focus on serving others.
  • Take control of your situation.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Work on stress management.