In 2019 the World Health Organization included Burnout in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition.

“Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and

  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Possible causes of job burnout

Job burnout can result from various factors, including:

  • Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.

  • Unclear job expectations. If you're unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you're not likely to feel comfortable at work.

  • Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.

  • Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.

  • Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.

  • Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don't have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.


World Health Organization

Mayo Clinic

Here are some of the resources that I recommend to assist you if you have been diagnosed with burnout or think that you might be suffering from it.

  • Schedule a 30 min call to connect on the topic. I have experienced burnout and can share my experience with you.

  • Judy Klipin specializes in Burnout and has written an excellent book called Recover from Burnout.

  • Dr. Ela Manga has written a book called Breathe: Strategising Energy in the Age of Burnout. She also runs Breath Cafe where you can attend drop-in breathwork classes or purchase a monthly subscription.

A very simple exercise that you can do around managing your energy is making a list of all the activities you have done today - from that chat with a friend, to a walk in nature, working through your emails, completing housework, cooking dinner, a nice warm bath before bedtime, etc. and use a UP arrow to indicate if it fuels your energy or a DOWN arrow if it depletes your energy. Do you have more DOWN arrows in your day? It is not about being busy. It is about doing what fuels your energy. A sustainable approach is also key. No point swinging from one extreme to the other. Reflect on how you expend your energy.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”― Rumi