What is a burn-out?
Burn-out is a syndrome and, according to WHO, not a disease as such, but a « lifestyle-related » problem that affects one’s health and requires healthcare.
Christina Maslach, one of the most important socio-psychologists in burn-out research, defined the burn-out syndrome in the 1980s by the three main criteria: emotional fatigue, alienation, limited capacity.
Later on, additional psychological and physical criteria were added, including physical exhaustion.
A common definition today is the following: « Emotional, mental and physical » state of exhaustion following a previous process of high workload, stress and / or self-exaggeration. « (Wörterbuch der Psychologie).
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include indifference, cynicism, distance, irritability, tension, loss of sense, ineffectiveness, hyperactivity.
What is the course of the burnout syndrome?
During the course of the development 12 phases can be distinguished (like on a clock). It is safe to assume that after exceeding phase 6, professional help will be needed !!!
These phases may run as follows, but do not need to be in this order:
- Compulsion to want to prove something to yourself and others
- Extreme performance in order to meet particularly high expectations
- Revision with neglect of personal needs and social contacts
- Dubbing or overcoming inner problems and conflicts
- Doubts about one’s own value system as well as about formerly important things like hobbies and friends
- Denial of arising problems, lowering of the tolerance limit
- Retreat while avoiding social contact to a minimum
- Obvious behavioral changes, progressive feelings of worthlessness, increasing anxiety
- Depersonalization through loss of contact with oneself and others; Life is increasingly functional and mechanistic
- Inner emptiness and desperate attempts to override these feelings through overreactions such as sexuality, eating habits, alcohol and other drugs
- Depression with symptoms such as indifference, hopelessness, exhaustion and lack of prospects
- First thoughts of suicide as a way out of this situation; acute danger of a mental and physical collapse
What are the causes?
• Stress and the associated feeling of powerlessness
• Imbalance between performance and recognition
• Burdens emanating from the workplace (or the social environment)
Assessment of my own situation?
A first indication of a risk from burnout can be a questionnaire in the form of an online test*. Although the result obtained does not replace any diagnosis by a specialist, it can be used as an opportunity to assess the current situation and, if necessary, take measures.
Your OGBL works councils delegates can assist you by looking at your status with the utmost discretion and providing you, if necessary, with suitable recommendations for further action. Please contact directly your OGBL works council delegates or alternatively by email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to the questionnaire: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_08.htm