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Are You Burned Out? How to identify and manage the syndrome

Are you feeling drained all of the time? Feeling detached/ alone in the world? Self-doubting, procrastinating and taking longer to get things done than usual? According to Health and Safety Authority (HSA), these are some signs that you might be experiencing burnout.

In the 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies burnout as being a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. A 2022 survey from HRLocker revealed that more than half (52%) of full-time workers in Ireland are experiencing burnout. The results show that the most affected group is composed of Gen-Z and Millennials (from 18 to 40 years old).

An American study considering college students discovered that the number of undergraduates experiencing stress and burnout increased from 40% on April 2019 to 71% on August 2020. College life is equivalent to having a full-time job, and many of those students have to learn how to cope with attending classes, extracurricular activities, having a social life and on top of that actually working a full/part-time job.

Check the infographic below for the symptoms of burnout.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, follow the managing tips below, and in case you do not see any improvement, contact your GP or the helplines at the end of this article.

Managing Burnout

Do not ignore the symptoms! If you believe you might be experiencing the syndrome it is important to act soon, to guarantee it will not develop into something more serious.

The Irish Life Health and the Centric Mental Health classify a few ways to cope with and manage burnout:

  1. First of all, speak up! Make sure to let people know what you are experiencing, in that way, your family, boss, and professors, will know what you are going through and can help you to manage the pressure you are under.
  2. After explaining the position you are finding yourself in, it is time to set boundaries. Make sure that you will not be pushed further than your mental situation allows, and make clear what you are able and not able to achieve.
  3. Then, it is time to learn how to demand less of yourself. Learn how to say no, how to accept help, and how to ignore or turn down perfectionist thoughts. Do not overthink, believing you are not doing as much as you should.
  4. Take a break! Slow down, allow yourself to breathe, enjoy some leisure activities, to not think about the amount of work or assignments you have to get done.
  5. Drink water and sleep. It might seem too obvious, but a good night of sleep and being hydrated can power your body to cope with the day-to-day stress and help you to get through difficult moments.
  6. Try to keep motivated, and remember what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Once you think about where you want to reach, what your reasons are and that the stress is temporary it will be easier to see it through.
  7. And the most important one: establish a work/life balance. Take time for your hobbies, for your family and friends, and just be away from work/college once in a while.

In the video below, the YouTube channel Psych2Go gives tips on how to deal with burnout.

If you are experiencing any type of mental breakdown, anxiety, depression, or feeling burned out, do not wait until you are on your limit. Talk to your loved ones and seek professional help.

  • For help on depression, you can contact the support line for Aware.ie clicking here.
  • For women’s mental health support click here.
  • For men’s mental health support click here.
  • For HSE mental health support supports and services click here and here.
  • For Citizens Information mental health information click here.

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