快捷搜索: 纽约时报  诚信  教育  经济学人  中国  香港 


How to tell if you’re close to burning out

If you said you were suffering from ‘burnout’ in the early 1970s, you might have raised some eyebrows.


At the time, the term was used informally to describe the side effects that heavy drug users experienced: the general dimming of the mental faculties, for example, as was the case with many a party animal. However, when German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger first recognised the problem of burnout in New York City in 1974, at a clinic for addicts and homeless people, Freudenberger wasn’t thinking of drug users.

在那个时代,这种表述被非正式地用来描述吸毒成瘾者所经历的副作用:包括比如通常出现的智力迟缓,就像很多热衷派对聚会者出现的情况。1974年,美国德裔心理学家赫伯特·弗罗伊登伯格(Herbert Freudenberger)在纽约市为吸毒成瘾者和无家可归者开设了一间诊所。他那时首次认识到身心耗竭的问题时,并没有想到吸毒者。

The clinic’s volunteers were actually struggling, too: their work was intense, and many were beginning to feel demotivated and emotionally drained. Though they had once found their jobs rewarding, they had become cynical and depressed; they weren’t giving their patients the attention they deserved. Freudenberger defined this alarming new condition as a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged overwork – and borrowed the term ‘burnout’ to describe it.


Its popularity was explosive, and today burnout is a global phenomenon. Although statistics on the prevalence of burnout specifically are hard to come by, 595,000 people in the UK alone suffered from workplace stress in 2018.


Sportspeople get it. YouTube stars get it. Entrepreneurs get it. Freudenberger himself eventually got it. Late last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the trendy problem will be recognised in the latest International Classification of Diseases manual, where it is described as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.


According to the WHO, burnout has three elements: feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from one’s job and poorer performance at work. But waiting until you’re already fully burned out to do something about it doesn’t help at all –and you wouldn’t wait to treat any other illness until it was too late.


Feeling the burn


So how can you tell if you’re almost – but not quite – burned out?


“A lot of the signs and symptoms of pre-burnout would be very similar to depression,” says Siobhán Murray, a psychotherapist based in County Dublin, Ireland, and the author of a book about burnout, The Burnout Solution. Murray suggests looking out for creeping bad habits, such as increased alcohol consumpution and relying on sugar to get you through the day. Also watch out for feelings of tiredness that won’t go away. “So that even if you do sleep well, by 10 in the morning you’re already counting down the hours to bed. Or not having the energy to exercise or go for a walk.”

爱尔兰都柏林的心理治疗师索比安·穆雷(Siobhán Murray)女士是《过劳的治疗方案》一书的作者。他说,很多“过劳”的迹象和症状都与抑郁症非常相似。穆雷建议要注意那些逐渐增多的坏习惯,比如越来越贪杯,以及依靠甜食让你度过一天。他建议要注意那种无法消失的疲劳感。她表示,即使你夜里睡得很好,但到了早上10点前,你已经在数着钟点想着上床睡觉的时间了。或者,你没有精力去锻炼或去散步。

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/

As soon as you begin to feel this way, Murray advises going to see your doctor.


“Depression and pre-burnout are very similar, but as much as there was a lot of enthusiasm recently that burnout has now become a medical condition, it is still not – it is still classified as an occupational phenomenon.” It’s important to get help from a medical professional who can distinguish between the two, because although there are many treatment options for depression, burnout is still best tackled by making lifestyle changes.


And how do you know if you’re really on the cusp of burnout, or just going through a challenging month? “Stress is really important, and anxiety is what motivates us to do well,” says Murray. “It’s when we’re continually exposed to stress and anxiety, that we’re not letting go, that it starts to turn into burnout.”


Take that big project you’ve been working on. It’s normal to feel a kick of adrenaline when you think about it, and maybe it’s kept you up at night. But, Murray suggests, if you still feel restless once it’s over, it’s time to consider if you’re at risk of burnout. “It’s when you’re bringing that with you into the next stage of your day, and adding to it continually,” she says.


Another classic sign of inching closer to burnout is cynicism: feeling like your work has little value, avoiding social commitments and becoming more susceptible to disappointment.


“Someone on the brink will probably begin to feel emotionally numbed or mentally distant,” says Jacky Francis Walker, a psychotherapist based in London who specialises in burnout. “Like they don’t have the capacity to engage as much in the ordinary things of life.”

伦敦的心理治疗师杰克·弗朗西斯·沃克(Jacky Francis Walker)专门从事“过劳”问题研究。他说,处于“过劳”边缘的人可能会开始感到情感麻木或精神上的疏远,就像他们没有能力参与日常生活一样。

She also recommends looking for the final tell-tale sign of burnout, which is the unshakeable feeling that the quality of your work is beginning to slip. “People say ‘but this isn’t me!’, ‘I’m not like this’, ‘I can usually do x,y and z’. But obviously if they are in a state of physical depletion, then they aren’t in their normal range of capabilities,” says Walker.

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com


If this seems less than scientific, look to the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a test designed to measure burnout. The most widely used is the MBI-General Survey, which measures things like exhaustion, cynicism, and some how well you think you’re doing at work.

如果这看起来还不够科学,那就看看马斯拉奇的“过劳”清单( Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI)吧,这是一个旨在衡量“过劳”的测试。最常用的是MBI常规测试,它衡量的是疲惫,玩世不恭等心理状态,其中包括你认为自己工作表现如何。

First published in 1981, it has been cited hundreds of times in studies since. Although it’s typically used to measure burnout once it's in full swing, there’s no reason you can't apply it to see if you’re getting close.


You’re pre-burnout: What’s next?


The only way to stop burnout – and banish it for good – is to root out the underlying problem.


“What do you have going on in your life that you can temporarily or permanently let go of? It might be [sleeping a lot] to recover from the physical signs of burnout, for example,” Murray says.


Walker has a three-step programme, which includes figuring out why there is a mismatch between what a person can offer and what they feel they are being asked to give. “Sometimes it’s because they feel the need to be too perfect, or they might have imposter syndrome where they’re having to work very hard to cover up that they’re not quite as good as everyone thinks.”


However, sometimes the work environment is the problem. According to a 2018 Gallup study of 7,500 US workers, burnout stems from unfair treatment at work, an unmanageable workload and a lack of clarity about what a person’s role should involve. Workers were also stressed out by a lack of support from their manager and unreasonable time pressure.


“Another issue can be that the values of the company are seriously at odds with the person’s own values, which creates a sense of strain and dissonance, because they’re doing something that they don’t believe in,” says Walker. In some cases, her clients can solve the problem by taking up something fulfilling outside work, but very occasionally they decide to make a more radical change, such as changing companies or even taking up a new profession.

沃克说,还有另一个问题可能是:公司的价值观与当事人自身的价值观严重不一致, 这就造成了一种紧张和不和谐的氛围,因为他们在做一些连自己都不相信的事情。在某些情况下,他的客户可以通过业余从事一些让自己感觉充实的工作来解决这个问题。但偶尔,他们也会决定做出更彻底的改变,比如跳槽或者从事新的职业。

Whatever the cause of your burnout, Murray’s top tip is to be kind to yourself.


In Murray's experience, a key driver of the burnout epidemic is today’s culture of wanting it all. Often it’s just not possible to have a healthy social life and deliver on a big project, and meet all your personal fitness goals all at the same time. She says it's crucial to prioritise and not expect too much of yourself; when others seem like the perfect boss parent, fitness idol and friend all at the same time, they're probably misleading us – or at the very least getting a lot of help.


If you feel that you might be close to joining the burnout club, take a step back, figure out what’s going wrong – and let yourself off the hook.




  • 36小时环游新加坡
  • 中国颁布新规,限制未成年人玩游戏
  • 辞掉工作、花了57天,他们找回了走失的狗
  • 改善健康也许很简单:每天少吃300卡
  • 中国志愿者网络“树洞救援队”用AI救援数百位自杀者
  • 最新评论

    留言与评论(共有 条评论)