The boreout syndrome

burnout from boredom

The boreout syndrome - When boredom becomes a problem

Who is not happy when, for once, they have a quiet, relaxed workday with no deadlines and few tasks? However, if these days become the norm, it can become stressful. Even if it sounds harmless, boreout is an underestimated and equally unpopular relative of burnout. Because even if the causes are different, the boreout syndrome can lead to serious psychological problems. Being permanently underchallenged and bored can make you just as sick as permanent stress and overwork. Dejection, listlessness, and depression can also be the reaction here. In the following article, you will learn everything about the syndrome, its development, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures!

What is the boreout syndrome?

Based on the term burnout, which means "to burn out", the so-called boreout describes a condition in which boredom can cause stress and other problems. It is the opposite of burnout: While excessive stress and overwork become a problem in burnout syndrome, boreout syndrome is more about permanent underload and boredom. Regardless of which extreme one slips into - both are very unhealthy for the psyche.

Like burnout, boreout creeps slowly into the lives of those affected. The permanent underachievement causes stress, with the fear of losing one's job preventing a clarifying conversation with superiors. The search for a new job is also not an option due to a lack of motivation or the fear of not finding a suitable position, and so those affected surrender to their fate and feign stress to avoid attracting negative attention.

Recognize boreout by the following symptoms

The classic symptoms of the boreout syndrome are similar to those of the burnout syndrome. Physically, underachievement gradually leads to stress and exhaustion. Sleep disturbances, a social withdrawal and loss of appetite can follow and of course, the immune system suffers as well from the permanent stress the body goes through due to the permanent boredom and frequent sickness follows.

The physical complaints additionally intensify the psychological stress. Those affected often change their behavior, marginalize themselves and develop a certain bitterness that becomes apparent to those around the boreout victim. A dangerous negative spiral begins, which increases the dissatisfaction, frustration, and monotony more and more.

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Listlessness
  • Irritability
  • Despair
  • panic attacks

Physical symptoms include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness
  • General susceptibility to infections

If affected persons recognize such symptoms in themselves over a longer period of time, it is important to act, A doctor should be consulted to determine the severity of the condition: If the boreout syndrome is "only" in a rather initial stage, it may be sufficient to look for a new professional challenge. If the boreout is more advanced, therapy may be necessary to break the negative spiral and look ahead.

Take symptoms seriously and seek help

Like burnout syndrome, the signs of boreout syndrome are often very difficult to recognize, especially in the beginning. Only in the case of frequent occurrence, whereupon the psyche already suffers, do those affected recognize a connection. For physicians it is just as difficult, which is why it is important that always the entire life situation, both private and professional, becomes part of the investigations. Only in this way is there a chance of recognizing the boreout syndrome at an early stage.

What can employers do?

With burnout and boreout syndromes unfortunately on the rise in the workplace, employers and managers are also challenged to minimize the potential dangers. This includes a constant overview of the workload of employees and the sensible distribution of tasks - with consideration for the talents and qualifications of the individual.

Regular team meetings, in which each employee reports on his or her pending tasks, can help provide an overview of the entire team. One-on-one meetings should also be on the agenda on a regular basis to give employees the chance to speak openly about potential dissatisfactions. Individual feedback and appreciation of the work of everyone are also factors that can contribute significantly to employee satisfaction.

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