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WHO Gives More Medical Recognition to Worker “Burnout”

Working long hours might improve your income—but it can come as a cost

Burnout has been recognized by the World Health Organization in the International Classification of Diseases as what they call an “occupational phenomenon”

It’s not classified as an official medical condition, but the effect on health is felt nonetheless.

“They’re working too many hours at work, says counselor M. Patrick Backer, who practices in Evansville and Jasper, Indiana. “You have to find your happy place. You have to set up boundaries. The best thing you can do for your employees or yourself is to set up boundaries for yourself”

But for many working men and women across the Tri-State, that’s easier said than done.

“They could have a compulsion to want to please sometime,” he adds.

But whether personal—or professional from workload obligations–feeling the burn can actually lead to negative effects on your productivity, despite the effort to get ahead.

“It can have the opposite effect. As far as their production levels—they’re lowered when they think they’re producing more because of the stress in their life. Sometimes it can lead to poor job performance. They’re very tired, use a lot of excess energy emotionally. That sometimes leads them into a depression or anxiety,” Backer lists.

That toll can deliver physical effects too, with a loss of sleep or meal time triggering headaches and back aches. But it can also lead to long term consequences.

Physical exhaustion was cited as contributing to the death of one Indiana firefighter.

“Pulling the hose, whatever, climbing on a ladder, being on the roof whatever firefighters may be doing it`s extremely taxing,” observed Chief Jim Roberts of the Greenfield Fire Territory.

But there is a way to keep overwork at bay.

“Maybe instead of taking an hour to eat lunch… Maybe eating lunch maybe eating lunch in a couple minutes then then taking a bike ride during their lunch hour or walking to work or walking home from work,” suggests psychotherapist Dr. Erin Leonard.

“I think getting outside, getting in nature, and just enjoying life a little bit more. You just gotta take time to smell the roses,” added Backer.

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