Recognising the 4 types of burnout and how to prevent them

Burnout, also known as professional exhaustion, is a significant health issue directly related to work. Symptoms vary among individuals, but those affected often show a gradual detachment or mental distancing from their professional responsibilities, leading to a decline in their psychosocial functioning.

According to a Spanish psychologist, one can classify burnout into different subtypes. In an article featured on Psychology Today, Alexandra Ghita outlines four distinct subtypes of burnout.

The 4 types of burnout

1. Frenetic burnout

Characteristics: Overload of work and a high level of dedication. This subtype is associated with the “law of compensation” in psychology, indicating excessive success at work and underperformance in other areas of life.

2. Under-challenged burnout

Characteristics: An unstimulating environment where work tasks are mostly repetitive.

3. Mismatch burnout

Characteristics: A misalignment between the company’s values and the employee’s principles. This professional exhaustion is often present in jobs considered “uninspiring” by certain individuals.

4. Worn-out burnout

Also known as burnout by negligence.

Characteristics: Learned helplessness related to unstructured tasks in a potentially demanding and stressful job.

How to prevent different types of burnout

In her article, Alexandra Ghita advises individuals to listen to themselves and identify the subtype of burnout they are facing. Here are some key strategies:

  1. Communicate with your supervisor: If possible, discuss your discomfort with your superior, especially if you can approach your professional situation with management without fear.
  2. Identify your personality traits: A study published in the journal BMC Psychology in 2023 revealed that certain personality traits might put individuals at a higher risk of suffering from burnout.
  3. Clarify your work expectations: Determine what you expect from your job. This could lead to introspection or even therapy to unlock certain hidden mechanisms.
  4. Prioritise quality over quantity: Research supports the idea that reducing work hours can lead to better well-being.
  5. Take breaks: If possible, take a break and recharge your energy.

Understanding the different types of burnout and how to address them is crucial for maintaining your mental and physical health. By recognising the signs and implementing these strategies, you can better manage and prevent burnout in your professional life.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire France
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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