FluShields Presents 'Boreout' - A New Phenomenon in Times Of Corona
Boreout and burnout are closely related. There is no doubt that burnout is a pressing concern today, with some particularly startling figures emerging from all sorts of work sectors. For example, two-thirds of full-time workers have experienced burnout, according to Gallup. This is a big number. According to experts, our brains are simply ill evolved to deal with the modern working environment. The increasing emphasis on productivity – and the emotional need to prove one’s worth through one’s job – leaves workers in a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’. This state originally evolved to deal with acute danger. But if we face that kind of pressure day in, day out, we endure a steady surge of stress hormones. For many, the pressure does not end with work. Cities and technological devices are always buzzing with life. This ‘24/7’ culture can make it difficult to rest at any hour of the day or night. With no time to recharge our minds and bodies, our batteries are constantly running dangerously low.
As the stress continues, people begin to lose the interest and motivation that led them to take on a certain role at work in the first place. Burnout reduces productivity and drains energy, leaving one feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, people may feel like they have nothing more to give, being useless and no fun. The negative effects of burnout can spill over into every area of life—including home, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to the body that make it vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away. Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up unnoticed. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on.
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But what happens if people are challenged too little? This is a phenomenon that people already experienced before Corona times, but which showed up now in extreme numbers. In Corona times many workers had to cut work times, or they are working from home, or they lost their jobs and have not much hope in finding a new job during the pandemic. If people are challenged too little, receive too little input from outside, and learn too little, they may face a so called 'boreout'. There are actually future work scenarios where people will have four hours of work a day already in 2030. This raises the question of how to deal with the rest of the day. Basically, a possible future caught up with us due to Corona earlier than we thought, albeit with a different trigger: 'Boreout' is on the rise.
Even with the vaccines, nobody knows when there is a light at the end of the tunnel, when you can actually go back to your daily job routine, meet people and lockdown measures are loosened. Such extreme uncertainties in connection with every new measure can traumatize people. There are basically three important facets of boreout: a) extreme boredom, b) crisis of meaning of life, and c) constant uncertainty. In the case of Corona, boredom at home with nothing to do, a crisis of meaning due to the threat of losing the job and the uncertainties of where the pandemic is headed and how to stay healthy leads to the other extreme of burnout, the 'boreout'.
Some people may get bored with their job, but they understand that a current professional situation serves an overarching goal, for example, a next development step. So they see meaning in what they are doing and develop further. It becomes dangerous when people feel that they are stuck in a dead-end and no longer see any perspective.
Boreout itself can be remedied relatively quickly, by changing the area of activity, for example by changing a project or department, if necessary by resigning. However, the consequences of boreout are critical if this condition persists over a longer period of time like now in Corona times. Experts are talking about psychologically serious effects such as depression and anxiety disorders, from which a lot of people are already suffering. This can go so far that the immune system is weakened sustainably. Unfortunately, these factors are currently massively underestimated.
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There are basically two important starting points through which each individual can get mentally fit for the crisis: psychological and physical factors that are closely related. The first set of measures is about mentally regaining control. This can be achieved by cultivating or intensifying social contacts - in corona times, digitally rather than personally outside the family. But thanks to zoom and MS Teams connecting with people is possible 24/7.
People should also have a daily routine, doing some sports, taking regular meals, making healthy decisions like regular washing and disinfection routines, wearing an N95 face mask outside to protect each other, playing games with the kids, having quality time with the spouse, or starting to learn a new language - this has all to do with staying in control of its life and not get drawn into a lethargic way of living without joy or hope.
At the moment, people can also get particularly involved in society by helping risk groups or other people in need, for example by doing the shopping for them or drive them to their doctor appointments. One can create a sense of achievement, for example, by doing or learning new things that they have wanted to do for a long time. Numerous free online courses and tutorials offer good opportunities for this. There are also physical factors: you have to keep moving to keep the cardiovascular and immune systems on their toes and start a daily routine of doing sports at home.
The longer this phase lasts, the greater the risk that an entire generation will be psychologically traumatized. There is currently far too little going on to make people aware of the importance of not being mentally stuck, because they may not be able to properly pursue their work and hobbies. In the public discussion, the secondary psychological damage is unfortunately underestimated and hardly considered.
Under normal circumstances, burnout is an absolute taboo subject. Most of those affected pretend they have work and cover up the problem. Bore out hardly ever comes up in surveys among HR directors. No company likes to admit that it has not properly combined job and qualification profiles. Society currently has to tackle the topic, otherwise, people will run into a large-scale boreout trap. It will take years to process the consequential damage. However, individuals can also do a lot to prevent it from getting this far. Everybody should now take the opportunity and prepare for a phenomenon that experts thought will only become a major issue in the relatively distant future. One can make up a lot with the measures mentioned. Keep calm, keep in control and stay healthy!
Disclaimer: Please note that we can only pass on general information and cannot make any guarantees or be liable for any consequences of your decision making or behavior. Use good common sense and ask your healthcare provider or physician for advice.