As a professional writer, whether writing resumes, PR features and backgrounders, I hear stories of burn out every week.
People working too hard or working with organisational bullies and psychopaths.
A recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization found that working at least 55 hours a week was causing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and was linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
Ask doctors, carers, nurses and teachers, as all have high risks of burnout.
Burnout covers a host of symptoms caused by an overwhelming, stressful environment, including fatigue, muscle aches, headaches and stomach issues, as well as listlessness and loss of motivation.
Burnout has increased in the past year, as work-life boundaries have become blurred by people working from home and job insecurity has increased.
There is also the opposite, Boreout. Where you may feel consistently under-challenged or underworked. And then there is “worn-out burnout”, where people are ground down, have low amounts of energy and feel exhausted.
An emotionally rewarding job you love is also not necessarily a shield against burning out, as Tara Lewis discovered after working as a paramedic for 16 years, before leaving in 2015.
A year earlier, Lewis had signed off work for six months. She adored being a paramedic. But over the years, the number of callouts soared and increasingly they had to deal with social issues, rather than medical emergencies.
She took time off work and trained as a beauty therapist.
“I really enjoy it. It gave me a different focus. I was self-employed, so I could have control over it, which helped. I work with a lovely bunch of people and had a good laugh.”
“I just found my sense of humour again, and had the time to be able to enjoy life, spend time with my kids, with my husband.”