Workers around the world have experienced burnout for decades. Burnout is mental exhaustion due to too much stress at work. This problem has now been defined by the WHO as a medical problem. It says people have burnout if they often lack energy or feel exhausted; if they feel very negative about their job; and if they have problems finishing tasks in their job. The WHO says doctors should treat patients for burnout. However, doctors are among the highest-stress professions. They get burnout twice as often as average workers. The number of people with burnout has been increasing at a worrying rate. More and more workers are getting ill because of high levels of stress at work.
Burnout was identified as a problem in 1974 by American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. Since then, hundreds of studies have tried to explain what it is. Researchers have said it is similar to anxiety or mood disorders, and can come from depression. According to the Mayo Clinic website, burnout can cause serious health problems. These can include insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The clinic's website gives advice on how to manage burnout. It suggests talking to your boss to change your workload; reaching out to co-workers, family and friends; and trying relaxing activities like tai chi, meditation, going for a walk in the countryside, and yoga.