Burnout is a medical condition and must be addressed to avoid long-term health impacts: HCFI
The WHO has for the first time recognized 'burn-out' in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.
The WHO defines burn-out as 'a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed'. It is characterized by three things: 'feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on managing stress through lifestyle changes and balance.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Burnouts due to work-related stress are becoming increasingly common especially in the corporate sector. While some workplace stress is normal, an excess of it can interfere with an individual's productivity and performance, impact their physical and emotional health, and affect their relationships and home life. It can even mean the difference between success and failure on the job. Job stress also raises the risk of heart disease by disrupting the body's internal systems. Stressed workers tend to eat unhealthy, smoke, drink and skip exercise – all behaviors that are linked to heart disease. Conflicting priorities between work and home have a negative effect on mental health as well."
Some signs and symptoms of excessive workplace stress include anxiety, irritability, depression, loss of interest, insomnia and other sleep disorders, fatigue, trouble concentrating, muscle tension or headaches, stomach problems, social withdrawal, loss of sex drive, and substance abuse.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "While lifestyle changes and balance are important, we can take few lessons from Lord Ganesha, who can be termed as the stress management guru. If Lord Krishna was the first counselor who taught the principles of counseling, Lord Ganesha taught us the principles of stress management. We should worship Lord Ganesha and become like him whenever we face any difficulty or are stressed out."
There are some precautions and tips one can follow to manage workplace stress and prevent burn out.
· Form positive relationships and take your colleagues into confidence when you feel a task is getting out of hand.
· Start your day by eating a healthy and filling breakfast. This will not only help you concentrate but also ensure that you stay away from stress.
· Get enough sleep and do not let work seep into your sleep time. Make sure you go to sleep around the same time every day.
· Get about 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This will release endorphins, feel-good hormones that can help uplift your mood.
· Prioritize and organize your work. This will ensure that you avoid any backlogs that can spill on to your leisure time.
Dr K K Aggarwal