Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. While not a diagnosable medical condition, it has now been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an occupational phenomenon. The WHO outlines the characteristics of burnout as:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Though burnout is most often caused by problems at work, it can also be related to other situations and often appear in parents and caregivers, too. According to the WHO, 1 in 4 adults will be affected by burnout at some point in their lives.