I usually don’t write about mainstream psychology here since it’s covered well many other places. But the topic of burnout has been on my mind lately as I have helped with a thesis on the topic and it illustrates a more general point.
In the mindfulness world, mindfulness is sometimes promoted as an antidote to burnout. And that’s true enough. It can certainly help individuals to be more resilient and reduce the chances of burnout.
At the same time, mindfulness is an individual solution to a more systemic problem. In most cases of workplace burnout, the problems lies with the structures and the system. It has to do with how the business is organized and operated. It has to do with the owner and management.
And beyond that, it has to do with how we have organized ourselves collectively. It has to do with our current social and economic system, and especially the very obvious downsides to neoliberalism.
Beyond that again, it has to do with our most basic worldview. We currently have a worldview that separates humans from nature, values the material over the immaterial, the human over rest of life, and too often values profit over people.
As individuals we function in a larger social and ecological system, and that’s where most of the causes and solutions to burnout – and a range of other apparently individual problems – lie.
- mindfulenss and burnout
- burnout sometimes treated as an individual problem, with individual solutions (e.g. mindfulness)
- but is an organizational problem, and really has to do with how we organize our society, and really with our worldview (how we see ourselves in the world, how we see the world etc.)
- burnout is a symptom that something is off/wrong with the organization, and really professional culture, economical system, and worldview (symptom of the larger ecosystem – society, culture etc.)