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How to beat burnout

Posted at 12:04 AM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 00:04:11-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Most of us are like attorney Michael Raheb, feeling like stress comes with the job you have.

“If you’re not stressed at all doing this job… in my opinion, you’re not doing your job,” Raheb said.

When the stress gets too much, it’s time to take a breather.

The World Health Organization just updated its definition of “Burn-out,” now recognizing it as a “syndrome” caused by “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Some symptoms include feelings of energy exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional success.

“if you don’t have a reward from it, if you don’t have pleasure in it anymore, as well as the demands outweighing what you can produce, you will feel it,” said Roseanne Illes, director of behavioral medicine of Florida State University Family Medicine Residency.

Some may feel the burn-out effect so severely they have a physical reaction, like Johnnie Mae Hawkins, a teacher at Varsity Lakes Middle School in Lehigh Acres. She had to get sent to the hospital after having high blood pressure from stress.

“My chest started to beat real fast, and I had to go to the E.R. from work,” Hawkins said. “It’s not always physical; it’s mental. And you can be suffering from mental burnout.”

W.H.O. now labeling it as a syndrome brings more attention to the issue, but Illes says more needs to happen on a broader level.

“It’s something that is, unfortunately, going to take a larger, systemic impact that needs an intervention,” she said.

In the meantime, Illes recommends taking short breaks during the workday. Also having self-care and investing time in things that give you pleasure, like family time or sporting events.

For W.H.O.’s full definition of Burn-out, click here.