Balancing work and life is very important because being overly motivated at work can also backfire. When the intensity of work exceeds a certain level and breaks the balance between work and life, it can lead to what we call the burnout syndrome. ST discusses the burnout syndrome. ........................Ed
According to a recent survey of 5,419 Korean office workers, 9 out of 10 Korean workers experienced burnout syndrome. Burnout Syndrome is a psychological symptom in which a passionate worker becomes cynical due to extreme physical or mental fatigue. It also makes a motivated worker fall into lethargy, self-loathing, and job rejection. When a person is afflicted with burnout syndrome, they lose motivation, feel very tired, and lack empathy. Therefore, they no longer feel any sense of accomplishment, even though they felt it before. Furthermore, there is a risk that these symptoms can develop into depression if they are repeated. Moreover, it can be difficult to fall asleep or have too much sleep, and you may not be able to control your appetite. In severe cases, persistent stress can lead to cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, digestive disorders or stomach ulcers, and colitis.
There are two main causes of burnout syndrome: personal and social. The personal reason pertains to individuals consuming too much energy at work. A person who suffers from burnout syndrome works excessively to beat the competition without being able to control their pace. However, more serious than personal reasons are social phenomena that have led people to act in a certain way. In particular, the Korean society requires people to be burdened with a long and intense workload. In 2017, Korea ranked third in terms of working hours among 35 OECD members, whereas, in the happiness index, it was only ranked 29th. Nevertheless, the reason Koreans are working without resting is because of their competitive society. This is why most Koreans are always anxious that they might fall behind their peers if they take a break.
To avoid burnout syndrome, adjusting the amount of workload must be a top priority. It is recommended that people delegate the work that they can accomplish in a day. Reducing the desire to accomplish everything could also be another way. Secondly, changing the diet is important as well. A person suffering from burnout syndrome is likely to suffer from shoulder consolidation and eye trembling. Since diet is closely related to health, people should pay more attention to their health in this case. Whole grains rich in vitamin B and algae and nuts that are rich in magnesium help alleviate burnout syndrome. Furthermore, it is necessary to cut down on coffee consumption and to quit smoking. Lastly, it is essential to take a break consciously. A person who has been working extensively might experience difficulty in finding time to relax. However, getting rest regularly might be effective in countering burnout syndrome.
Recently, a significant number of people have experienced, or are suffering from burnout syndrome. To prevent this situation, the new term, “work and life balance”, has emerged. It means balancing work and life by reducing working hours. The Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor published “10 proposals for work innovation to promote work and life balance and productivity” in July last year. However, they are still perfunctory, and do not really help improve the people’s quality of life. Therefore, now is the time to establish the laws for balancing work and life that are applicable in real-life situations.
Jung Yeon-wook (ST Reporter)