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職場健康:如何知道自己身心快被“掏空”

How to tell if you’re close to burning out
職場健康:如何知道自己身心快被“掏空”

If you said you were suffering from ‘burnout’ in the early 1970s, you might have raised some eyebrows.

如果你在上世紀70年代初說,自己受到過勞狀態的折磨,一些人可能會對你這種說法感到驚訝。

At the time, the term was used informally to describe the side effects that heavy drug users experienced: the general dimming of the mental faculties, for example, as was the case with many a party animal. However, when German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger first recognised the problem of burnout in New York City in 1974, at a clinic for addicts and homeless people, Freudenberger wasn’t thinking of drug users.

在那個時代,這種表述被非正式地用來描述吸毒成癮者所經歷的副作用:包括比如通常出現的智力遲緩,就像很多熱衷派對聚會者出現的情況。1974年,美國德裔心理學家赫伯特·弗羅伊登伯格(Herbert Freudenberger)在紐約市為吸毒成癮者和無家可歸者開設了一間診所。他那時首次認識到身心耗竭的問題時,并沒有想到吸毒者。

The clinic’s volunteers were actually struggling, too: their work was intense, and many were beginning to feel demotivated and emotionally drained. Though they had once found their jobs rewarding, they had become cynical and depressed; they weren’t giving their patients the attention they deserved. Freudenberger defined this alarming new condition as a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged overwork – and borrowed the term ‘burnout’ to describe it.

當時,診所的志愿者們承受很大壓力:由于工作很緊張,很多人開始感到沮喪和精神疲憊。雖然他們曾經一度認為工作很有成果,但隨后開始變得憤世嫉俗和抑郁;志愿者們沒有再給他們的病人應有的關注。弗羅伊登伯格將這一令人警覺的新狀態定義為一種因長期過度勞累造成的疲憊狀態,他借用了“過勞”一詞來形容它。

Its popularity was explosive, and today burnout is a global phenomenon. Although statistics on the prevalence of burnout specifically are hard to come by, 595,000 people in the UK alone suffered from workplace stress in 2018.

“過勞”問題的增長是爆炸性的,今天它已經成為一種全球現象。盡管關于“過勞”問題的具體數據很難做出系統性統計,但僅在2018年,英國就有59.5萬人遭受工作壓力的折磨。

Sportspeople get it. YouTube stars get it. Entrepreneurs get it. Freudenberger himself eventually got it. Late last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the trendy problem will be recognised in the latest International Classification of Diseases manual, where it is described as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

運動員會出現這種病癥。視頻網站YouTube的明星們會有這種現象。企業家們也會深受其害。弗羅伊登伯格本人最終也受到這種綜合癥的折磨。2019年5月,世界衛生組織宣布,在最新的《國際疾病分類手冊》中確認這種流行病。該手冊將其描述為因為長期工作壓力未能成功控制而引發的綜合癥。

According to the WHO, burnout has three elements: feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from one’s job and poorer performance at work. But waiting until you’re already fully burned out to do something about it doesn’t help at all –and you wouldn’t wait to treat any other illness until it was too late.

據世衛組織的定義,“過勞”有三個因素:疲憊感、思想上無法專注于工作和工作表現不佳。但要等你真正已經身心耗竭再試圖對付它就為時過晚,就像你不會等到病入膏肓再去看醫生。

Feeling the burn

“過勞”的感覺

So how can you tell if you’re almost – but not quite – burned out?

那么,你如何判斷你是否幾乎要——但還沒有完全——“過勞”呢?

“A lot of the signs and symptoms of pre-burnout would be very similar to depression,” says Siobhán Murray, a psychotherapist based in County Dublin, Ireland, and the author of a book about burnout, The Burnout Solution. Murray suggests looking out for creeping bad habits, such as increased alcohol consumpution and relying on sugar to get you through the day. Also watch out for feelings of tiredness that won’t go away. “So that even if you do sleep well, by 10 in the morning you’re already counting down the hours to bed. Or not having the energy to exercise or go for a walk.”

愛爾蘭都柏林的心理治療師索比安·穆雷(Siobhán Murray)女士是《過勞的治療方案》一書的作者。他說,很多“過勞”的跡象和癥狀都與抑郁癥非常相似。穆雷建議要注意那些逐漸增多的壞習慣,比如越來越貪杯,以及依靠甜食讓你度過一天。他建議要注意那種無法消失的疲勞感。她表示,即使你夜里睡得很好,但到了早上10點前,你已經在數著鐘點想著上床睡覺的時間了。或者,你沒有精力去鍛煉或去散步。<紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live/>

As soon as you begin to feel this way, Murray advises going to see your doctor.

穆雷建議,一旦你開始有這種感覺,你就要就醫了。

“Depression and pre-burnout are very similar, but as much as there was a lot of enthusiasm recently that burnout has now become a medical condition, it is still not – it is still classified as an occupational phenomenon.” It’s important to get help from a medical professional who can distinguish between the two, because although there are many treatment options for depression, burnout is still best tackled by making lifestyle changes.

她說,抑郁癥和“過勞”之前的情況非常相似,但盡管最近有很多人關注這個問題,認識到“過勞”現在已經成為一種疾病,但它仍然沒有被歸類于疾病,而是被歸類為一種職場現象。她指出,重要的是要得到一位能區分抑郁癥和“過勞”兩種情況的專業醫療人員的幫助,因為雖然對抑郁癥的治療選擇很多,但目前對“過勞”的問題,最佳方式仍是通過改變生活方式來解決。

And how do you know if you’re really on the cusp of burnout, or just going through a challenging month? “Stress is really important, and anxiety is what motivates us to do well,” says Murray. “It’s when we’re continually exposed to stress and anxiety, that we’re not letting go, that it starts to turn into burnout.”

那你怎么知道你是真的處于“過勞”的邊緣,還是僅僅在經歷了一個充滿挑戰的月份呢?穆雷說,壓力確實很重要,焦慮是激勵我們做好事情的動力。但當我們持續地面臨壓力和焦慮,以致于我們無法放手,它才開始轉變成“過勞”。

Take that big project you’ve been working on. It’s normal to feel a kick of adrenaline when you think about it, and maybe it’s kept you up at night. But, Murray suggests, if you still feel restless once it’s over, it’s time to consider if you’re at risk of burnout. “It’s when you’re bringing that with you into the next stage of your day, and adding to it continually,” she says.

就拿你一直在做的那個大項目來說吧。當想到這個問題時,感覺到腎上腺素的刺激是很正常的,也許你因為壓力大夜里難以入眠。但是,穆雷指出,如果項目一旦結束,你仍然感到不安,那么就該考慮你是否有“過勞”問題的危險了。她說,當你把這種狀態帶到你一天的下一個階段,并一直難以放不下這個包袱的時候,這種危險就出現了。

Another classic sign of inching closer to burnout is cynicism: feeling like your work has little value, avoiding social commitments and becoming more susceptible to disappointment.

逐漸接近“過勞”的另一個經典跡象是玩世不恭:感覺自己的工作沒有什么價值,回避社會交往和承諾,而且變得更容易失望。

“Someone on the brink will probably begin to feel emotionally numbed or mentally distant,” says Jacky Francis Walker, a psychotherapist based in London who specialises in burnout. “Like they don’t have the capacity to engage as much in the ordinary things of life.”

倫敦的心理治療師杰克·弗朗西斯·沃克(Jacky Francis Walker)專門從事“過勞”問題研究。他說,處于“過勞”邊緣的人可能會開始感到情感麻木或精神上的疏遠,就像他們沒有能力參與日常生活一樣。

She also recommends looking for the final tell-tale sign of burnout, which is the unshakeable feeling that the quality of your work is beginning to slip. “People say ‘but this isn’t me!’, ‘I’m not like this’, ‘I can usually do x,y and z’. But obviously if they are in a state of physical depletion, then they aren’t in their normal range of capabilities,” says Walker. 紐約時報中英文網 http://www.zvkdrb.live

他還建議,要注意“過勞”的最明顯的跡象,那就是確信你總感覺工作質量開始下滑。他舉例說,人們常說,這不是我做的,我不是這種樣子,我通常總可以做甲乙丙丁。但很顯然,如果他們處于“過勞”的狀態,那么他們就不在能充分發揮作用。

If this seems less than scientific, look to the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a test designed to measure burnout. The most widely used is the MBI-General Survey, which measures things like exhaustion, cynicism, and some how well you think you’re doing at work.

如果這看起來還不夠科學,那就看看馬斯拉奇的“過勞”清單( Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI)吧,這是一個旨在衡量“過勞”的測試。最常用的是MBI常規測試,它衡量的是疲憊,玩世不恭等心理狀態,其中包括你認為自己工作表現如何。

First published in 1981, it has been cited hundreds of times in studies since. Although it’s typically used to measure burnout once it's in full swing, there’s no reason you can't apply it to see if you’re getting close.

這種測量標準是1981年首次公布,它在后來的研究中被引用了數百次。雖然它通常被用來測量完全陷入“過勞”狀態的程度,但并不是說,你不能應用它來看看你是否越來越接近"過勞"。

You’re pre-burnout: What’s next?

你已經“過勞”,接下來怎么辦?

The only way to stop burnout – and banish it for good – is to root out the underlying problem.

唯一辦法就是要制止“過勞”,治本治標,將“過勞”永遠從生活中根除。

“What do you have going on in your life that you can temporarily or permanently let go of? It might be [sleeping a lot] to recover from the physical signs of burnout, for example,” Murray says.

穆雷說,想想看,你的生活中目前有些什么事你可以暫時或永久地放下?比如說,多睡睡覺來恢復精疲力竭的身體。

Walker has a three-step programme, which includes figuring out why there is a mismatch between what a person can offer and what they feel they are being asked to give. “Sometimes it’s because they feel the need to be too perfect, or they might have imposter syndrome where they’re having to work very hard to cover up that they’re not quite as good as everyone thinks.”

沃克則有個分為三步的方案,其中包括分析一下,找出為什么在一個人的能力和他們覺得他們被要求取得的成果之間存在著不匹配。他認為,有時候,這是因為他們覺得需要過于完美,或者他們可能有冒充者綜合癥,他們不得不非常努力地工作,以掩蓋他們認為自己并不像每個人想象的那么好。

However, sometimes the work environment is the problem. According to a 2018 Gallup study of 7,500 US workers, burnout stems from unfair treatment at work, an unmanageable workload and a lack of clarity about what a person’s role should involve. Workers were also stressed out by a lack of support from their manager and unreasonable time pressure.

然而,有時工作環境是問題的關鍵。根據2018年蓋洛普對7500名美國工人的調查,“過勞”的原因是工作中的不公平待遇、難以管控的工作量以及一個人的工作權責不清。由于缺乏經理的支持和不合理工作時間的壓力,員工們承受很大壓力。

“Another issue can be that the values of the company are seriously at odds with the person’s own values, which creates a sense of strain and dissonance, because they’re doing something that they don’t believe in,” says Walker. In some cases, her clients can solve the problem by taking up something fulfilling outside work, but very occasionally they decide to make a more radical change, such as changing companies or even taking up a new profession.

沃克說,還有另一個問題可能是:公司的價值觀與當事人自身的價值觀嚴重不一致, 這就造成了一種緊張和不和諧的氛圍,因為他們在做一些連自己都不相信的事情。在某些情況下,他的客戶可以通過業余從事一些讓自己感覺充實的工作來解決這個問題。但偶爾,他們也會決定做出更徹底的改變,比如跳槽或者從事新的職業。

Whatever the cause of your burnout, Murray’s top tip is to be kind to yourself.

穆雷表示,不管你“過勞”的原因是什么,最重要的一點就是要善待自己。

In Murray's experience, a key driver of the burnout epidemic is today’s culture of wanting it all. Often it’s just not possible to have a healthy social life and deliver on a big project, and meet all your personal fitness goals all at the same time. She says it's crucial to prioritise and not expect too much of yourself; when others seem like the perfect boss parent, fitness idol and friend all at the same time, they're probably misleading us – or at the very least getting a lot of help.

根據穆雷的經驗,造成“過勞”現象很普遍的一個最大驅動因素是,當下一種什么都想要的文化。通常情況下,一個人不可能既有一個健康的社會生活,又能完成一個大項目,同時又滿足你所有的個人健身目標。她說,至關重要的是做事要分清輕重緩急,不要對自己期望過高。當你感覺那些老板、家長、健身偶像和朋友看起來是總是那樣完美,那是一種錯覺,或者至少他們的成功其實得到了很多幫助。

If you feel that you might be close to joining the burnout club, take a step back, figure out what’s going wrong – and let yourself off the hook.

如果你覺得自己可能即將加入“過勞”俱樂部,那就應該退一步,找出問題所在,別讓自己掉進這個坑。

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