All About Burnout: Science, History, and Prevention

Explore the phenomena of burnout from all angles with behavioral economist Nathalie Rachel Sinyard

In 2019, the World Economic Forum called burnout “a pandemic”. It is something that affects almost all of us at some time, often with devastating effects. Yet it remains a misunderstood phenomenon, with a lot of confusion about the true mechanisms causing it and what it means for our modern lives.

This means that efforts to reduce it tend to be ineffective, and can even make the problem worse by misdirecting our attention, misidentifying the problems, and lending legitimacy to harmful behaviors. By understanding the science behind burnout, and the stories driving our understanding, we can build a robust toolkit for preventing and reversing burnout, and have happier, healthier lives filled with purpose and vitality.

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1May 4, 2023 The Science of Burnout

In this salon, explore the mechanisms driving the burnout phenomenon at different scales, both individual and organizational. In 2019, the World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational
phenomenon characterized by: feelings of energy depletion and exhaustion; increased mental distance from others, one’s job or feelings of negativity; and reduced professional efficacy. Here we will explore the science and the latest evidence on what is happening to drive this depletion in our physical, cognitive, and emotional vitality.
2May 9, 2023The History of BurnoutIs burnout a modern disease? How have we addressed this question in the past? What elements are constant and which are changing?

Burnout only became a recognized diagnosis in 1974, when Herbert Freudenberger applied the term to the growing number of cases he saw of “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress”. In this salon we will explore burnout’s history stretching back centuries including Hippocrates and Galen, the medieval concept of acedia caused by spiritual exhaustion, the relentless pace of the Renaissance, “neurasthenia: (nervous exhaustion)” following the Industrial Revolution, to modern day burnout shops (Maslach) and work-from-home stress. Is burnout a facet of being human or are there features of modern life now driving something distinct?
3May 17, 2023Preventing and reversing burnout

Burnout is not inevitable. There is strong evidence that with intentional action burnout can be prevented and reversed. Join this salon to discuss ideas and learn practical strategies for different situations to build a life that is burnout-proof.

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