5 Causes of Burnout You Never Thought About

Burnout is not a new problem but one that goes back centuries. But in the last few decades, it has become so relevant that the WHO has included burnout in the list of officially recognized diseases.

It seems that the causes of stress in the workplace are obvious and understandable. These are hard deadlines, irregular working hours, workload, and complexity of tasks. But there are a number of less obvious reasons that lead to emotional exhaustion. Sometimes a person might work from a comfortable place, have a loyal boss and an adequate number of responsibilities, but burnout still comes. It means there are some less obvious reasons for burnout to explore.

5 Unobvious Causes of Burnout

Every person is different. What is mundane and common for one person can be a cause of emotional exhaustion for another ( Experts in dealing with burnout identify a number of main non-obvious groups of reasons for its occurrence, which you need to know to avoid big emotional problems in the future.

1) Personal reasons

Most often, such reasons come from childhood. Interestingly, burnout is more typical for children who grew up in “greenhouse” conditions. Overprotection deprives a person of the opportunity to learn to cope with stress because parents protect their children exactly from stressful situations. Growing up and becoming employed, such people do not know how to withstand failures and difficulties. They experience stress where others simply don’t.

2) Field of activity

For some professionals, burnout is an occupational disease. Those who are forced to work in a stressful environment daily and have to face a large number of people and their problems suffer from emotional exhaustion more often. Doctors, nurses, teachers, policemen, firefighters — these are professions that require a lot of mental stamina.

3) Social isolation 

Many were convinced that the transition to remote work, which was forced during the pandemic, would reduce the level of emotional and professional burnout. But the result was just the opposite. Social isolation, no usual communication and support of colleagues affected a lot of people. Employees thought that if they didn’t respond to messages immediately, weren’t constantly in touch, and weren’t ahead of project deadlines, then bosses might think they weren’t working. As a result, many remote employees stopped taking lunch breaks and started to work literally around the clock, fearing dismissal due to staff reductions.

4) Perfectionism

Not so long ago, perfectionism began to be considered one of the main non-obvious causes of burnout. In itself, the desire to do everything perfectly and be the best is commendable until it develops into a mania. A perfectionist spends a huge amount of time and energy on bringing the solution of any problem to the ideal. Most of the time, doing it well is good enough. If a perfectionist is not satisfied with the result, they begin to feel discomfort and dissatisfaction. And this is a direct path to burnout, especially if it becomes a habit.

5) Mismatch between the work schedule and lifestyle

Most often, people who are called “night owls” face such a problem. If you are one of them and need to come to work by eight in the morning, this is a real test for you. Lack of sleep will very soon begin to affect your physical and psychological health.

Another reason is having time-consuming hobbies and interests that clash with the working schedule. If that’s your case, over time, this rhythm will lead to constant fatigue and burnout.

Non-obvious burnout reasons include an uncomfortable workplace, a long commute to work, and other circumstances. But by themselves, they cannot lead to burnout. They can become the so-called last straw that overflows the bowl of more serious causes.

Angela Scott-Briggs

Editor, | Interested in Innovations in Business, Finance, and Technology .

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Angela Scott-Briggs

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