It’s often related to extreme work stress.
From an article in Cosmopolitan UK:
“Being burnt out felt like paddling against the current,” says Tasmin, 26. “No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t getting anywhere and ultimately, it left me feeling exhausted. I was drained physically, emotionally and mentally and lost motivation for everything – not just work. The weight of everything intensified to the point where even taking my morning shower felt like hard work.”
Tasmin is one of thousands of people realising her extreme stress and anxiety might actually be burnout. Perkbox Medical found that searches for “what is burnout?” increased by 55% on average from 2018 to 2019, and a viral article by BuzzFeed on “How Millennials became the Burnout Generation” became a sensation earlier this year when it hit the nail on the head with how many of us are feeling.
In fact, the condition has become so talked-about that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently made the decision to list burnout as a recognised occupational phenomenon. As a result, it is now classified as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
In a time when career success is highly sought-after and admired, we’re putting more and more pressure on ourselves to be successful and – just as importantly – appear successful to our peers. The result can be extreme emotional and physical stress. “It’s only now that I’ve left that job that I look back and realise that I was burnt out,” Tasmin admits. “At the time, I knew that I was unhappy in my job and frustrated with feeling like I was fighting a losing battle.
“I guess I was kind of in denial about the whole thing because I thought being burnt out meant I was failing at my job.”
According to the latest Wellbeing Index report, Almost half (48%) of the British workforce agree that they suffer from workplace stress and anxiety. For 36-year-old Binny, burnout was the catalyst behind her choice to quit her job and pursue a freelance career.
“I was trying to allocate time to keeping up with deadlines for my blog as well as ensuring I was concentrating on projects in my full-time job,” she tells Cosmopolitan UK.
“I had to change my routine and began waking up at 5am every day just to get a couple of hours of work done for my blog posts every morning. My days would normally end at around 11pm.
“When I started to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and anxious I knew I had reached boiling point… something had to give. I would often feel anxious, suffer from tension headaches from stress and would fall ill quite often from being run down and from lack of sleep. The symptoms were both physical and mental for me.”
Binny had to plan ahead and bide her time before she could leave her job, but “I saved up a lot of money as a buffer to tide me through until I was able to make a decent monthly income,” she admits. “Being freelance has enabled me to manage and schedule my time on my own terms and ensure that I always have sufficient ‘me-time’ blocked out, which I think is really key.”