Pandemic burnout: keys to coping with the ‘burnout worker syndrome’

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The stress at the end of the year has been recharged by the pandemic. Step by step, how to perform deep breathing exercises.

In 2020, burnout or “burned worker syndrome”, which occurs more frequently at the end of the year, is recharged. With a pandemic and work at home, plus the kids with virtual classes, the risk of contagion, among other factors, work stress multiplied.

Is it possible that we feel more stressed than ever shortly after the month of December arrives and that the level of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion is setting an unsuspected limit?

According to Dr. Silvia Bentolila, a psychiatrist and health specialist, an expert in emergencies and disasters (MN 59.647), stress is not the result of the confinement experienced during quarantine, but the result of many factors and particularly of the uncertainty that produces the pandemic to which we do not see a near end.

“We live almost on automatic pilot, we naturalize things that make us very bad and the economic and labor situation worldwide, not only nationally, also generates stress,” he explains. “Without forgetting the fear of illness or losing loved ones. The stress we are experiencing is the product of many factors, cannot be attributed to having to stay homeThis is just one aspect, and not the most complicated at all, “adds the specialist, also a member of the PAHO / WHO Regional Response Team (ERR) for health emergencies.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized burnout as a disease, and defined it as a “syndrome derived from chronic stress in the workplace that was not successfully managed.” After this recognition by the WHO, burnout was included in the International Classification of Diseases, which will allow doctors and health centers, including insurance companies, to treat symptoms starting in 2022.

According to a survey conducted by Gympass, a corporate wellness platform, the symptoms of burnout worker syndrome were modified by the pandemic. According to his report, the home office allowed people to improve their productivity but in many cases caused emotional disturbances in many workers who saw an increase in hours in their workday. Characteristics such as difficulty in setting limits, insecurity and lack of motivation for work also appeared, as well as difficulty in separating work and personal life.

“What we see occasionally in cases of patients who experience burnout is a progressive and disguised deterioration of the person, chronic anxiety, alterations in character, dysfunctions in the family (episodes of intrafamily violence) and addictions, which has been exacerbated in quarantine, “explains Dr. Norberto Oscar Hernández, a specialist in General and Family Medicine of the Medical Federation of the Province of Buenos Aires (FEMEBA), MP 54,946.

And he adds: “There can also be situations of deterioration in labor relations (conflicts with colleagues, bosses), impoverishment in job development, low professional self-esteem and sleep disorders. In extreme cases, one of the worst consequences of burnout is suicide. “

According to a survey conducted by Bumeran in August, 87.9% of Argentines said they felt a excessive exhaustion during the pandemic, exhaustion and stress related to burnout syndrome. Among them, 22% mentioned having felt a unusual exhaustion Due to the excessive workload, another 22% reported the impossibility of disconnecting from work even though the working day has ended and 12.8% said they had felt a lot of stress due to the situation in general.

Another prominent factor that causes the discomfort of those consulted has to do with the extension of working hours which in this context tend to be longer than usual. 68.5% of Argentines assure that they work longer hours than they used to normally. Likewise, 44.5% of employees stated that they were unable to separate their work routine from personal life in a context in which both are carried out within the home.

To counteract the effects of burnout, Hernández recommends practicing breathing and relaxation exercises, gentle physical activity, or artistic activities that allow us to reconnect with our emotions. In addition, he suggests that it would be ideal not to be permanently exposed to sources of stress, “since if the perception of threat is triggered, the neurophysiological response to stress is reactivated”.

For her part, Liliana Molina, Gympass meditation coach and integral yoga teacher, recommends starting the day with breathing exercises. “It is the ideal to begin to treat the symptoms that stress generates us. They should be done together with stretching of the whole body both when getting up and going to bed. The ideal is to sleep between 7 and 8 hours each night. “

Molina also recommends taking breaks during the workday. “Every hour, stop what we are doing, make a cut to get up, stretch and take deep breaths. Bring attention to the way we breathe and our emotions, to let go and disconnect,” he says. And he adds: “When one goes through many stressful situations, surely you have to change a habit: let go of something, overcome something. A change can be exercising, either the mind or the body. Physical activity is always recommended as something that helps lower stress “.

The specialist explains how to perform deep breathing exercises to relieve stress:

✔ Sit comfortably with an upright spine and relaxed shoulders. You can be on the floor, in a chair or leaning against the wall, the most important thing is that you keep your back straight.

✔Place the back of your left hand on the knee, with the relaxed open palm facing up.



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