Burn-out is now an official medical diagnosis, parents everywhere say 'We told you so'

Burn-out is the result of chronic workplace stress.
Burn-out is the result of chronic workplace stress.

Feeling tired all the time as you enter the house, feet dragging after a long day of work before you have to tackle a load of washing, a sink of dishes and an endless list of chores? You may be experiencing burn-out – now an official medical diagnosis.

Raising kids while pursuing a career is hard work, and many moms and dads are at risk. If left untreated, burnout will negatively impact health, relationships and job performance.

If you're feeling any of the below symptoms, approach your doctor for help.

According to the International Classification of Diseases – the World Health Organisation’s handbook – burn-out is the result of chronic workplace stress.

Their official description says: 

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions: 
1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 
2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and 
3) reduced professional efficacy. 

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.” 

Also read: Working moms share their experiences: "I doubt work life balance and having it all is for the majority of moms"

There are only so many hours in a day 

“We all want to do our best. It’s just not possible to do it at a million miles an hour with a plate so full there’s no bottom in sight. It’s not abnormal for working parents to log on at night to wrap up tasks or respond to emails.

Sadly, this has become the new norm.” 

Amber French shared her experience of being a working mom on Girl Talk HQ, explaining that there are so many things to do in a day, and only so many hours to do it in.

Yes, we have the same amount of hours as Beyoncé, but again, we’re sure even B needs to take a much deserved break every now and then.

Amber’s research into the world of the working mom revealed how often they feel overwhelmed: almost half of respondents, at 48,8%, said half of the week while 39.3% said every single day. 

Only 0.1% said never. 

Also read: You’re not “just a mom”: Motherhood is like working 2.5 jobs – fact

Avoiding burn-out – an expert weighs in 

South African mom, life coach and mentor, Michelle Pitt, shared her expert tips to avoid burnout on local parenting podcast, The Great Equalizer

Michelle talks of her “mini mid-life crisis” when she fell pregnant with her son, Hayden, and got the idea to start Michelle Pit Co. 

Also read: It's 2019! What is "the motherhood penalty" and why does it even still exist?

“There’s no perfect work-life balance,” she says, but there are way to manage stress and prevent burn-out. 

“What I believe in is aligning your life and making sure you gain control over it. And that’s the process of figuring out what the important things are to you, making time for those things, and making sure that the things that are not important to you get either delegated or systems get put in place so that your life can be easier. 

“You cannot do everything,” she reminds her mentees.  

Listen to the full podcast here: 

Michelle shares a few tips to avoid burn-out – most of which you’re probably doing already. But we thought we’d echo them and remind you, just in case you forgot in the hustle and bustle of being a full-time superhero: 

  • Keep evaluating and re-evaluating what’s important to you. Make time for those things, delegate the rest.
  • Have a support system. Whether it’s your family or your mom group, it's important to have people in your life to lean on and speak to when you’re feeling down and out.
  • Check in with yourself. You need to breathe, yes, but you also need to take an extended break every now and then, put yourself first and focus on you, and only you. You can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Chat back

Are you a working parent? Share your experiences and story with us and we may publish it. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.

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