Understand: What is burnout?

WHO recognizes work-related burnout as occupational phenomenon

SAN ANTONIO – Are you irritable, dread going to work and/or have zero energy? You may have burnout. It’s a real thing, according to the World Health Organization, which now recognizes work-related burnout as an occupational phenomenon.

The World Health Organization says burnout is the feeling of being overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant work demands.

Stacy Ogbeide, a clinical psychologist with UT Health San Antonio, said some of the symptoms include irritability, sadness, being energy zapped or feeling major dread before going to work.

If you believe you may be experiencing these symptoms, you can use the National Association of Mental Health screening tool.

Ogbeide said people tend to feel the symptoms when they encounter deadlines and during major projects or busy work seasons.

“During times where it’s not as stressful and you still really feel those same symptoms and it's been prolonged for months, that's when I would probably check into that,” Ogbeide said.

She said treatment is different for everyone. It could be a person simply needs to exercise more, eat healthier or get the right amount of sleep. Some may need to see a therapist.

The good news is, Ogbeide said, these are quick, easy treatments that don't need to be long-term if people don't put off treating their symptoms.

Ogbeide said the most important thing a person can do is be self-aware.

“We are all human,” Ogbeide said. “We are not meant to be robots. We all have our breaking points. Recognizing that, and that it's OK to take a break,” are vital.

If a person puts off taking care of themselves, especially for months at a time, Ogbeide said, it can result in a serious condition: clinical depression. In severe cases, some have turned to suicide.

“We want to make sure that people are taken care of so it doesn't turn into something that can really be debilitating for somebody's life,” Ogbeide said.

Other ways people can prevent burnout is by taking regular breaks at work. People can also set boundaries to have time for themselves and family time, commit to answering work calls or emails only during the workday, waiting over the weekend until they get back to work to deal with unresolved issues.

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