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Here's how to defeat burnout at the workplace

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A new phenomenon – "The Great Exhaustion" -- is circulating among some young professionals in Canada, according to a report.

The report -- prepared by staffing agency Robert Half– notes that 42 per cent of respondents were suffering from burnout. That percentage is 51 per cent for Gen Z (18-26), 55 per cent for Millennials (27-42) and 32 per cent for Gen X (43-58).

Organizational psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, Jennifer Dimoff, told CTV Morning Live that healthcare workers and people who work in customer service were the most prone to experience burnout at their job.

However, it is now "spilling over" to reach all workers across all industries, she says.

Dimoff explains that people are in a neurological state of "fight or flight," given the current factors that are happening outside of the work place that are contributing to the way they are experiencing their lives and potentially affecting them.

These factors include wars, the cost of living, climate change and political unrest. She notes that we are not designed to process all of these threats all at once.

"There’s something called 'macro-factor.' So, in the academic world, we call them extra organizational stressors," she explains.

She adds that there are many other factors contributing to work overload, such as heavy workloads, lack of communications from managers, unavailable resources, commuting to the office, toxic organizational culture and unclear job expectations.

The signs of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy, she explains.

Zoe Smith from Ottawa shared with CTV's Sam Houpt that she sometimes experiences burnout with her busy schedule.

"With school and with work, my schedule is very busy all the time," she said.

“I don't seem to be able to get a break and I do experience burnout on the daily.”

On combatting burnout, Smith says she has a number of different strategies.

“I like to read, I like to talk out my feelings with different people as well - I just make sure I ground myself on a day-to-day basis," she said.

How to defeat burnout?

The "Great Exhaustion" cannot be tackled unless people start making changes, according to Dimoff.

"We've got to make changes at the individual level, as well as the kind of systems (and) organizational level, because people are just being inundated with information in such a way that we're not designed to process," she said.

"So, the good news is that burnout can be alleviated with rest and with separation."

Taking a vacation, prioritizing self-care and taking deep breaths are some ideas Dimoff suggests to beat burnout.

“Just go and exercise and really sweat it out in whatever way you will - it's helped me," said Chris Dettore, a clerk at The Body Shop in Ottawa.

Luca Buyson, a cook in Ottawa, agreed.

“Being able to go outside and just disconnect a bit, finding some things that you could do whether it’s alone or with a small group of friends - just being able to enjoy the little things," he said. 

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Sam Houpt

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