Guilty For Feeling Burn-out? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Don’t ignore the signs.

Nowadays, working professionals feel uneasy when they are not doing anything. There is that inner need to be productive all the time and doing less than that feels  unacceptable.

People always say, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but we have internalized working and hustling so much to the point that we get tired even in doing the things we used to be passionate about.

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Further technological advancements also contribute to this non-stop work culture. Even after work hours, we remain connected to the office. It used to be just phone calls and e-mails, but now with the work from home set-up and more management and communication platforms like Slack and Trello, it seems near-impossible to distance ourselves from work anymore. Because of this, we tend to feel frustrated and stressed with our jobs, or maybe even feel burnt out at work.


Last 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included burn-out in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Although not classified as a medical condition, they did acknowledge it as an occupational phenomenon. This means that even if it isn’t a health condition, it is something that greatly influences one’s health. They specified burn-out to be strictly in the occupational context and cannot be used to refer to other situations in a different aspect of life.

This is great development because we can see that the WHO is looking into mental well-being. Burn-out is not just simply being stressed. It is feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally overwhelmed that you can’t keep up with the tasks anymore. It is not having the energy to deal with your personal issues because your work is keeping you stressed enough. You’re not as efficient as you were, yet you still can’t take a break because you need to be productive.

If you feel resentful, hopeless, and overall negative towards your work, you should find the time to go and have a check-up. Even if it does not turn out to be burn-out, the trip to the doctor would still be worth it. It can be very difficult to process, because it’s not something that can easily be taken out of your system. It is concerned with an environment that you move in for most of your day, so if you don’t address it immediately, you’ll feel even worse and it might turn into a never-ending cycle. 


With all the different platforms, work is proving more difficult to get away from. Even so, you can still try to disconnect. Maybe distance yourself from gadgets (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) altogether when you are having dinner or doing personal errands to avoid checking notifications.The important thing is to set some boundaries. You can also make a strict schedule for yourself at home where you set time aside for extra work and also for personal interests.

When feeling burnt-out, the best thing to do is to refocus your time and effort to yourself. Learn to say no to gatherings or events that you really don’t have to go to. Don’t feel guilty about it because you are taking care of yourself and you need a breather. Limit social media use as well, because this tends to add to mental stress, which you are trying to avoid. Most of all, actively choose to do activities because you want to, not because you need to. If you’re an artist, draw something for yourself that isn’t commissioned. If you’re a writer, maybe write something personal and not something to be submitted.

Burn-out is a legitimate feeling and we should make an effort to recognize it in ourselves and also with our peers. Don’t let anyone invalidate what you are going through, and remember–you’re not alone.