Mental health in the workplace, and especially the burnout phenomenon, has been gaining a lot of momentum these past few years. Most of us might have experienced it on a few occasions, or surely heard of someone who has.
More than half of my clients have experienced burnout at one point or another in their careers. That is why they turn to career coaching services in order to better deal with work-induced stress and learn healthier ways to cope.
I often see in my line of work two other notions as well, that are equally as important but that are less talked about - Bore-out and Brown-out.
I will discuss with you below the 3B’s, and provide you with helpful insights on how to avoid them.
What are the 3B’s?
Burnout, also known as work exhaustion syndrome, is an overall feeling of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that takes over someone suffering from work overload and prolonged periods of stressful working conditions.
It leaves the person feeling completely drained and unable to accomplish even the most menial of tasks.
Burnout can take over other aspects of a person’s life and can be detrimental to their overall health, their general well-being, and the quality of their lives.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
What are the signs of burnout?
The signs of burnout may be subtle at first, but if left untreated, they might develop over time and cause major disruptions in one’s life, such as loss of self-esteem, and creating a sense of increased vulnerability.
They can even lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Below, I am sharing with you a few signs that you may be suffering from burnout:
• Chronic fatigue, depleted energy, and headaches
• Low immunity and frequent illness
• A sense of failure and a feeling of detachment
• Loss of motivation
• Self-isolation and withdrawing from others
For a more exhaustive list, you can check out this article from the Help Guide here .
Bore-out is contrary to burnout and is usually characterized by a chronic sense of boredom due to an underload of work, or due to working on repetitive and boring tasks, that don’t stimulate nor challenge.
And although the concept of not having a lot of work can be attractive at first, it can become quite detrimental to our well-being after some time, especially if we stay stuck in place for too long.
We may even end up losing our self-confidence and our ability to take on more challenging tasks.
An overall feeling of dissatisfaction and under-motivation may wash over us, which will, in turn, have detrimental effects on our mental health.
According to BBC , “workers [in Turkey] who suffered from bore-out also dealt with depression and high rates of stress and anxiety. Studies show depression from bore-out can follow workers outside the office, and lead to physical ailments from insomnia to headaches”.
Brown-out, on the other hand, is the loss of meaning towards a person’s job, because they may not feel aligned with the companies’ values.
This is especially true with millennials and the younger generation who actively look to work for companies with whom they share the same ethics.
And if that is not the case, they tend to become demotivated over time, which will, in turn, lead to feelings of dissatisfaction in the workplace.
In this scenario, employees will try to actively find meaning in their work. In case they fail, they will resign much quicker than the employees suffering from burnout or bore-out.
Some of the signs of a Brown-out are:
• Finding your job pointless and unsatisfactory
• Doing minimal efforts at work
• Losing your sense of humor and becoming more aggressive
• Self-isolation from family and friends.
For a more exhaustive list, you can check out this article from Eruecia here .
How to avoid the 3B’s?
Avoiding the 3B’s starts with awareness about the 3 conditions and knowing the signs to look for.
It also requires personal efforts and efforts on the company’s level, where managers can have regular check-ups on their employees and enquire about their well-being and the state of their mental health.
This will give them clear ideas on what should be addressed and how, before it is too late. This will also be helpful with tasks’ division and allow for an even distribution of the workload.
If you find yourself suffering from any of the following conditions, there are many options available to you.
You can, for example, talk to a therapist or seek career coaching services to learn more about yourself, and your needs in the workplace.
You can also start asking yourself the following questions:
• What feelings do I want to feel when working? (You may be looking for feelings of satisfaction, security, a sense of accomplishment, etc.)
• What problems am I facing at work and how can I overcome them?
• Will management or HR be able to help me resolve my problems?
• What am I suffering from - Burnout, Bore-out, or Brown-out?
• What does this situation say about my needs and how can I change it for the better?
This exercise will also teach you more about your personal values, which will, in turn, help you find a job that fits your ethics and your lifestyle.
When enlisting the help of a professional through career coaching services, you can work more extensively on this list and develop questions that will help you figure out who you are and how to deal with any uncomfortable situation that might arise.