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What is Burnout and What causes It?

In today’s world, many of us live in a perpetual state of being busy. Irrespective of its adverse impact on our health and wellbeing, leading life in this manner is often perceived positively.

Coined in 1974 by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, the buzzword ‘burnout’ has been making its rounds around the office for years. It is only recently that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially recognised it as an “occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” (WHO, 2019). According to WHO (2019), burnout can be diagnosed by “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

So what actually causes it? Burnout stems from much more than a long day at work, and has been attributed to numerous occupational, lifestyle and personality factors.


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