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  • Writer's pictureMaryna Khomich

Emotional Burnout: A Modern Epidemic

Imagine this: you're scrolling through your newsfeed or flipping through a magazine, and everywhere you look, people are talking about one thing – workplace burnout. Professionals from all walks of life are sharing their stories of emotional exhaustion. Even recruiters are noticing the word "sabbatical" popping up on resumes more often. But what's really going on here?

Emotional Burnout: A Modern Epidemic
Emotional Burnout

Let's take a journey back to the late 1800s when the second industrial revolution was in full swing. This era gave birth to a fascinating field of medicine known as occupational hygiene. It aimed to understand work-related illnesses and find ways to prevent them, making workplaces safer and more enjoyable. Simultaneously, the concept of psychosocial hygiene emerged, focusing on helping individuals adapt to their professional environments.

Fast forward to 1974, when American psychiatrist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term "emotional burnout." He observed this phenomenon among volunteers working in drug clinics. Then, in 1978, C. Maslach and S. Jackson joined the conversation, defining emotional burnout as a sense of emotional emptiness and indifference.

Now, let's jump ahead to 2019, nearly 50 years later. In May 2019, the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases officially recognized emotional burnout as a medical condition impacting public health and healthcare institutions.

So, who's most susceptible to this phenomenon? It turns out that those in professions requiring constant interaction with people, such as doctors, teachers, managers, social workers, and law enforcement officers, are particularly vulnerable. They often find themselves drained, unable to summon the energy for social interactions, and experiencing a profound sense of emptiness.

Experts describe burnout as a response to prolonged exposure to moderate-intensity work-related stress. It's like a slow leak of your emotional, mental, and physical energy. Symptoms include profound mental and physical fatigue, detachment from one's job, and the absence of joy in activities that were once fulfilling. It's like watching your professional spark fade away.

Why am I bringing up this topic? Because awareness is the first step toward addressing it. If you or someone you know is grappling with these feelings, it's crucial to recognise that it's more than just feeling tired; it's a genuine issue. It's okay to discuss it and seek support.

Stay tuned, prioritise your well-being, and remember, taking a break to recharge is a healthy choice.


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