When it comes to bolstering happier and more productive employees, burnout is a hotly debated topic with firm supporters on each end of the spectrum. Is it a legitimate thing that top performers run the risk of or is it overblown? With such varied opinions across the board, it's been difficult for company leaders to come to a firm understanding (and solution) for burnout.

But now The World Health Organization (WHO) has stepped in to officially classify burnout as a medical diagnosis, as reported by Quartz. Burnout made its way into the latest edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health problems, WHO's handbook for recognized medical conditions.

Burnout, according to the World Health Organization is "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."

Think of burnout as being predominately workplace related due to long-term stress that has accumulated over time but hasn't been properly addressed. To potentially bring a more cohesive understanding of what burnout is, the World Health Organization shared three core identifiers:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Increased mental distance from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
  3. Reduced professional efficacy

Burnout is an issue that will continually grow in today's culture. While burnout is most certainly a threat, often times, burnout can be attributed to a loss of perspective (or purpose, as some will call it).

To help mitigate this, practice this one simple habit when it shows up:

Review why you even started.

You probably have this grand vision of who you want to be, the impact you're going to make, and the many places you're going to. The problem is, today and often times, a string of days have potentially built up to where you're feeling like it's all for nothing.

When I encountered this, I had little-to-no energy despite sleeping well according to my biometric devices and I simply felt nothing was moving forward in life. I learned that this is a normal experience many feel because the gap where we currently are compared to where we plan to get to is enormous. I simply felt out of the game.

However, to get back into the game, I had to remind myself of why I was even in the game to begin with. You can too-- what's the outcome that you want? What's the plan?

To recover some of your lost mojo, set aside some time to simply study your vision (even better if you review it somewhere with beautiful scenery). Don't fixate on the problems, fixate on the possibilities. 

You know your big picture, but what needs to happen in the next year to propel you forward? Break it down even further into the quarter and even a week.

The proverbial saying of "burning the candle at both ends" is something that will continue to prevail in the work culture. While that can certainly present itself with issues, on the other side of the equation is losing your perspective and meaning for the entirety of it which brings feelings of helplessness.

I tend to think the latter is more of an issue than the other.

Published on: May 29, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.