Here’s a scenario that almost every person can relate with. It’s the end of the workday. Long hours of phone calls, email exchanges and running around to meet deadlines are finally over. You feel completely depleted, you feel like you simply cannot function anymore. It’s so bad that you dread going to work the next day.

Does the situation sound familiar? If so, you may be experiencing the so-called workplace burnout.

While burnout has been the subject of many studies and discussions, there have long been mental health professionals that reject the concept. As of 2019, however, burnout is an official medically-recognised syndrome. Here’s everything you need to know about it and the ways to cope with burnout.

What Is Workplace Burnout?

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared burnout a real syndrome with medically-significant consequences in the first half of 2019.

Burnout is a condition related to high workplace stress levels. As per the WHO definition, burnout is a condition that results from the unsuccessful management of workplace stress. There are three primary dimensions defining the syndrome.

The first one is feelings of complete exhaustion and energy depletion. Secondly, burnout is characterised by feelings of negativism and pessimism in connection to one’s job. Finally, workplace burnout reduces professional efficiency and the ability of a person to deal with everyday workplace tasks.

The idea of professional burnout was first conceptualised in the mid-1970s. Dr. Herbert Freudenberger was the first to use the term to describe the symptoms of too much workplace stress contributing to mental health problems.

It took the world so long to officially recognise burnout as a mental health problem due to several key reasons. For a start, medical advances take time. In addition, various symptoms of burnout overlap with the symptoms of depression. Thus, some researchers labelled burnout a subset of depression rather than a separate condition on its own.

Professional Burnout in Singapore

Burnout ranks among the most common causes of depression in Singapore.

While official reports on the state of burnout in Singapore are non-existent, psychiatrists believe it is a very serious issue.

Psychiatrists in Singapore report that the “always-on” corporate culture is one of the main reasons to blame. Long work hours also contribute to complete exhaustion and negative feelings.

A report published in The Straits Times suggests that one in eight Singaporeans considers their workplace stress level unmanageable. This is one of the highest levels across the world. HR companies have made similar findings. Their reports suggest that many workers in Singapore believe that their professional stress level is going to increase in the future.

Burnout is much more common in certain professional fields.

Singapore Medical Journal published a detail report in 2017, suggesting that junior doctors in Singapore had higher burnout rates than their peers in the US. Caregivers are also likely to experience very high burnout rates.

Preventing Burnout and Coping with It

Stress management is the heart and soul of preventing burnout at the workplace.

One of the simplest short-term solutions for burnout is taking a vacation. Even a day away from the workspace could prove to be beneficial in terms of productivity and motivation.

Short-term solutions, however, don’t eradicate the root causes of burnout.

Thus, changes in office culture are required to address the problem. Giving professionals opportunities to relax during the busy day and to collaborate in order to reduce professional burden is going to be essential.

Providing exercise, yoga and meditation opportunities at the office is another good option for the prevention of burnout. Research suggests that exercise produces feel-good hormones, enabling the more effective management of stress.

Whenever burnout occurs, timely measures will also be required.

Recognising burnout is the first step towards identifying a viable solution.

A thorough discussion with managers is one of the biggest essentials. Shared responsibilities, getting certain tasks reassigned and achieving an overall reduction in the workload is going to be one of the biggest steps towards recovering from burnout quickly and effectively.

Getting plenty of sleep during the night, eating the right foods and taking good care of one’s health are also essential. A strong body will be much more capable of handling stress and dealing with it.

Discussing the situation with a mental health professional in Singapore is the next viable step. This is especially important for people who experience chronic stress and who cannot cope with it. Burnout can escalate in depression, which is why negative sentiments, exhaustion and workplace pessimism should never be left unaddressed.

Engaging an experienced psychologist in Singapore will ensure you have someone with the knowledge to help patients overcome the negative consequences of burnout.

If you go for a consultation, you will learn about the best strategies for coping with stress and reducing your workload in order to feel better and happier at the office.

Finally, quitting one’s job should be considered a last resort option if no other measure works.

Companies that don’t put emphasis on a positive business culture can push workers to the point of a breakdown. Talk to a manager and to other members of the team. Describe the specifics of the situation and seek a solution. Sometimes, there will be no willingness for the implementation of positive changes. Such rigid workplaces do not provide anything beneficial in the long run. Quitting a job could be scary but it may be the best decision.

Seek Professional Help!

Don’t be hesitant about seeking professional help if you feel completely burned out.

If you feel a pessimistic attitude that makes you dread going to work in the morning, low energy, apathy, sleep problems, feelings of emptiness, feelings of being absent during the workday, irritation (especially with your colleagues or managers), feelings of being completely unrecognised for your professional accomplishments and persistent thoughts of quitting work, you should talk to a psychiatrist or a therapist.

Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic in Singapore is equipped to handle workplace burnout. Our clinicians can help you improve your life quality and return to enjoying your job without letting stress overpower you. The right therapy can be pinpointed easily on the basis of your burnout symptoms and the main causes of stress.

Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.

By Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic