Putting Out the Flames From Work Burnout

Putting Out the Flames From Work Burnout

Working too much can hurt your health—here’s what you can do keep work burnout at bay and stay healthy.

More than a decade ago, businesswoman Arianna Huffington collapsed at work. Huffington feared she had a brain tumor, but her doctor concluded the fainting spell was the result of sleep deprivation and job stress that kept her working 24/7. The diagnosis was life-changing, and Huffington made it her mission to speak out about the real health hazards of work burnout.

Since then, the World Health Organization (WHO) affirmed Huffington’s message. WHO added work burnout to the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, a global guide for categorizing and diagnosing health conditions. WHO says symptoms of work burnout include feelings of energy depletion and fatigue, cynicism or negativity about one’s job and reduced motivation.

The move legitimizes a phenomenon that affects millions of people. In a survey of nearly 7,500 Americans, roughly 25 percent reported chronic work burnout. Research shows that ups their risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even premature death, and adds as much as $190 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

Research from Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic has found that learning stress management should be your top priority. Also: Take breaks from electronic devices at pre-determined intervals so that you aren’t always “on.” Stand-up and take two-minute walking breaks every hour. Go outside for lunch; take a 10 minute walk. Ask your supervisor for permission to present your ideas for making your job run more smoothly. And add healthy food choices to your weekly routine, along with mindful meditation for 10 minutes before bed.

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