The COVID-19 pandemic affects human health in more than one way. Aside from the obvious danger it poses to a person’s respiratory system, the conditions that this global virus has imposed on humanity and the damage it’s done to our sense of morale can affect mental health, too. I’m talking specifically about burnout and fatigue. 

The World Health Organization has defined burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic stress over a prolonged period of time that has been poorly managed. The heavy toll of burnout is more than just the loss of productivity; it’s the stress that can exacerbate many other diseases like cancer, stroke, and autoimmune diseases, all of which can drastically alter or threaten our lives. 

In a pre-COVID survey conducted by Gallup, two-thirds of participants reported feeling burnout caused by work. Some of those traditional causes are anything from time pressures, unmanageable workload, to a lack of support by a manager. We know in today’s world, those causes can be compounded by new challenges, such as unsustainable work-from-home conditions, lack of child care, or loved ones who are sick or dying. 

What we don’t know is how long these COVID-era conditions will play out. Burnout prevention strategies are vast, but think of it this way: If we adopt just one or two self-management strategies, it can be the difference-maker for ourselves and for others in our life.

“The heavy toll of burnout is…the stress that can exacerbate other diseases.”