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Losing to win

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Burnout syndrome is multifactorial, but it usually reflects a demanding professional environment. For decades, it was considered an exclusive reality for professions with greater interpersonal involvement, such as those in the health and safety departments.

In fact, health professionals, as they have permanent contact with debilitated people and with death, with often demanding work schedules, may be more likely to feel this type of weariness. However, burnout can occur in any work area, being associated with highly competitive environments, in which the activities assigned are not suitable for each individual or when there is an overload of tasks and/or schedules.

Thus, currently, this syndrome is considered a public health problem, believed to affect individuals from any professional class, including even students. It represents a response of the body to prolonged (chronic) professional stress, which can lead to various symptoms, of different types:

  1. Affective: sadness, discouragement, apathy, hurt, fury, anger, worry, loss of emotional control and decreased self-confidence and self-esteem.

  2. Cognitive: attention/concentration difficulties and memory impairment.

  3. Psychosomatic: shortness of breath, tachycardia, skin problems, gastrointestinal symptoms, muscle complaints, fatigue and high blood pressure.

  4. Behavioral changes: aggressiveness, social isolation, loss of empathy and addictive behaviors.

  5. Attitude towards work: lack of motivation and procrastination.

If you think you might be in burnout, remember:

  • Identify the factors that contribute to stress at work. This way, it will be easier to manage them or even eliminate them;

  • Evaluate options: dialogue with your superiors is essential in managing expectations about the work you develop;

  • Adapt your posture: try to retain the positive aspects of your work environment and value what goes well;

  • See your health as a whole: reduce your consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine; exercise, sleep 7-8 hours a night, set a time of day for you to completely disconnect from technology, and make laughter and leisure a priority.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to regain your balance and start feeling hope again. However, poor working conditions are the biggest predictor of burnout. Therefore, the treatment implies improving the circumstances and conditions that gave rise to burnout, of which the improvement in working conditions and professional relationships stands out, with a reduction in isolation. Not rarely, this implies the temporary – or permanent – ​​withdrawal from the workplace, the reorganization of their activities and an adequate investment in personal interests, not linked to the world of work.

Psychotherapy will help you to better understand the reasons that led you to suffer from burnout and to avoid similar procedures in the future. Medical help may also be needed, particularly when the person has symptoms of depression and anxiety that justify pharmacotherapy.

So, if you really want to get rid of burnout, it is necessary to take a new path on a professional level, but especially on a personal level.

And remember, change is not about regret, but about a broader awareness. It's not about lack of courage, for giving up on the situation you find yourself in, it's about strategic intelligence. Use yours.

Not infrequently, we have to lose and then win.

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