Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Burnout is a phenomenon of reaction to chronic and long-term professional stress, which affects a large number of people in society. It is characterized by symptoms such as: exhaustion, pessimism, lack of interest in work, and a sense of diminished professional competence. Simply put, if you feel tired or burned out, start to hate your job, and feel less capable at work, you are showing signs of burnout.
Most people spend a large portion of their waking hours working. In this case, if you curse your activity or work, dread going to work, and are unhappy with what you do, it can seriously disrupt your life. The symptoms of burnout are presented in a very clear and understandable way.
Although burnout is not a diagnosable psychological disorder, this does not mean that it should not be taken seriously. The symptoms of burnout can affect you physically and mentally.
Ahmed Wali YAR is originally from Afghanistan, but has been living in Belgium for seven years. He is currently a doctoral researcher at the Free University of Brussels or VUB.
Ahmed Wali YAR PhD student at VUB
According to WALI, life is always difficult and sometimes even very complicated, you have to know where to start! “For example, when I decided to study, I registered for my master’s degree at the ULB and I didn’t think to inform the authorities like the CPAS, even though they take care of my financial situation. When they found out, they refused my social aid and they sanctioned me because I had registered at the university without informing them but I continued my studies.”
Özgün Ünver is originally from Istanbul, and has been living in Belgium for 15 years. After obtaining her PhD, she decided to reorient her career as a research support assistant at the university and as a burnout coach for academics. Considering her own personal experience with burnout, she found it more useful to take this coaching training to help others.
Özgün Ünver burnout coach
Özgün sees burnout as a phenomenon that affects many people in society, often due to the same causes, although everyone experiences it in a different way. Even if the main origin of burnout is directly linked to the world of work because of the stress it causes, some external factors coming from the management of daily life induce such a high load of stress that they also cause a latent burnout.
She points it out, the result is a rapid deterioration in the quality of life of the person affected, the symptoms being physical or psychological, permanent exhaustion and pessimism being the most frequent. Gradually you may find yourself unable to function in society and to play an active role.
Özgün shares her feelings about burnout, she experienced it herself towards the end of her PhD. So, it is very important to always remember that burnout is not something that happens in a few weeks or months. It is an accumulation of chronic stress.
She said while depression is a mood disorder, a psychological phenomenon, burnout is an energy disorder, and you can feel depressed until you are properly diagnosed. If in a depression, only these depressive feelings appear, burnout sets in three distinct phases, cognitive exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and finally disconnection from your work.
Özgün said, when you have a burnout, you don’t want to socialize with your colleagues, friends or loved ones. Even your parents and family members become unwanted. Physical symptoms can also appear in many people, sleep problems, changes in your weight, appetite, skin rashes, etc. There are many ways to check if a person is facing such a problem and to what extent, and on what basis, it will be possible to adjust the way of treating the disease.
Wali mentioned that with all the pressures, stress and everything around it, it slowly leads you to total exhaustion. He explains: “like I had this feeling that I didn’t want to do anything anymore, I felt like I couldn’t work, I couldn’t talk, I didn’t feel happy at all, and I totally lacked the energy that I had before”. On top of that, sometimes people interfere with your personal life, your work and all your activities and mess up your life even more at that crucial moment when you could really use some support.
Özgün with the experience gained from this disabling disease and the studies followed to become qualified in the treatment of burnout strongly advises not to remain isolated and to seek the assistance of a coach or a specialized therapist as soon as possible. The longer the affected person remains in isolation, the longer it will take to recover and reintegrate into the working world.
As she points out, there is difference between burnout and depression, because many people mix the two. Özgün added sometimes depression and burnout come together and call that “complex burnout”. It has short- and long-term treatments, because burnout doesn’t come quickly and doesn’t go quickly.
Elisabeth Dubois who is from Franc, and currently, working in Brussels, shared her experience of this phenomenon. “I thought it would never happen to me, but unfortunately, I was the victim of burnout. My life changed very quickly when I broke up with my boyfriend. I suffer from insomnia and overeating. I distanced myself from everyone, I had no other choice but to cry. I spent difficult days. I took a break one year from university and stop studying.”
Describing how was feeling, she said the first reaction: is feeling bored, and depending on the severity of the situation may find yourself unable to function in society in daily life in your work.
Unfortunately, in modern society we have become used to coming under a lot of pressure and stress, before burnout we go through very stressful periods. Give a lot of priority to study, work or duties, then put you under a lot of stress. She added