Video – Burnout

Length: 3:50


Burnout is not officially recognized as a mental illness.

However, it is known to be a major cause of absenteeism, mental health problems and an unhealthy work climate.

So, how could we define burnout?

Above all, this condition originates from the work environment, and nobody is exempt from it.

It is characterized by a feeling of intense fatigue, a loss of control and the inability to achieve concrete results at work.

According to the General Social Survey, one in four Canadian workers says he or she is stressed, and 60% of these employees say that work is the source of their stress.

The accumulation of stress produces an imbalance between the pressure on a person and the personal resources available to cope with it. Some burned out individuals have trouble recognizing their needs and expressing them to the employer.

Burnout is not only an individual problem. Indeed, 60% of the factors that cause it are organizational and 40% are individual.

The main organizational factors include:

  • excess workload
  • lack of autonomy
  • ambiguous roles
  • no participation in any decisions
  • lack of recognition
  • and lastly, insufficient communication

The main individual factors are:

  • attaching too much importance to work
  • perfectionism
  • low self-esteem
  • cognitive rigidity
  • emotional instability
  • blaming external causes for what happens to us
  • heavy family responsibilities
  • and lastly, solitude

Burnout occurs insidiously and sets in over the years.

Often the body sends alarm signals that it is important to perceive, such as:

  • persistent fatigue
  • pain such as backache or migraines
  • digestive problems
  • skin problems
  • and disturbed sleep

For example, a worker indisposed by burnout will exhibit:

  • a constant loss of motivation regarding work
  • marked irritability
  • a feeling of incompetence
  • a desire for isolation
  • a sense of failure
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory losses
  • difficulty exercising good judgment
  • and suicidal thoughts in serious cases

The objective of treatment is to regain one’s health and conceive of a way to accomplish one’s work satisfactorily, without burning out.

Often, a leave of absence is necessary.

However, rest alone is not enough to settle the problem and avoid relapses. A real change must be integrated into the individual’s life to regain a feeling of control over their life.

Consulting a psychologist can be invaluable to learn the causes of stress and to find solutions to address it.

Preventing burnout is not only the business of individuals but also organizations. You therefore have a key role to play.

You can meet with the employee to guide and refer him or her to an assistance program or service.

To find out more about this topic, we suggest you read the reference document.

In case of any questions, doubts or a specific need for support, don’t hesitate to contact the specialized support service offered to the eligible individuals.