What's the buzz on burnout?

Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the first time included burnout as an 'occupational phenomenon' in its Revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." - WHO 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)

Previously it had defined burnout as 'a state of vital exhaustion'.

Burnout is classified by three factors, as psychiatrist Professor Renata Schoeman explains.

It's when a person, due to occupational circumstances, develops de-personalisation, in otherwise you don't connect with people or your job anymore - exhaustion...and decreased personal accomplishment.

Prof Renata Schoeman, Psychiatrist in Private Practice and Associate Professor in Leadership - Stellenbosch Business School

However, the WHO stopped short of catergorising burnout as a medical condition.

Schoeman explains why it is important to recognise it as an occupational phenomenon rather than an illness.

When you listen to the symptoms, other people can also experience that, but this specifically entails in an occupation. That's important because it immediately puts the onus not only on the employer but also on the employee to prevent burn out.

Prof Renata Schoeman, Psychiatrist in Private Practice and Associate Professor in Leadership at Stellenbosch Business School

Schoeman says there are steps you can take to minimise the impact of work-related exhaustion.

The first step is taking responsibility to work on your own resilience in terms of how to deal with stress. That's self care - eating, exercise, sleeping.

Prof Renata Schoeman, Psychiatrist in Private Practice and Associate Professor in Leadership at Stellenbosch Business School

Take a listen to the interview below:


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