Ordinarily, life can be pretty stressful. It would be naïve to think that we are not all currently under some form of stress. Trying to balance work-life, home life, family, friends, hobbies, and your health can get overwhelming at times - especially when life throws a curveball.
Now, take the usual stressors in life and mix in the added burden of a pandemic. New challenges have been introduced like working remotely, homeschooling, quarantine, and the removal of being able to shop freely, socialize, or see family. In addition, there is also the fear and anxiety surrounding the virus itself and how it may affect you or your loved ones. You may have concerns about your mental health, your physical health, or be worried about the health of your family and friends.
Finally, throw in the uncertainty about the future. What is the world going to be like post-pandemic? How do things return to 'normal.' Constantly adapting to tackle the consistent changes can be exhausting - leading to physical, mental, and emotional fatigue.
As the additional stressors build, if left unchecked, it can lead to emotional burnout. Do you know the signs of burnout? Regardless of the pandemic, it is useful to know how to recognize and manage emotional burnout because it can happen to anyone.
What is Burnout?
Let's start with burnout in its purest definition. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized burnout in May 2019. Their definition is as follows:
"Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
• 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.
Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life."
(Burnout an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases, 2020)