Boreout syndrome: symptoms and what to do?

Boreout syndrome: symptoms and what to do?

Too few or hardly any demanding tasks in everyday working life can lead to a permanent under-challenge, making you ill in the long run. A burnout occurs, also known as burnout syndrome. This is the opposite of the more well-known burnout syndrome because the causes are precisely opposite. However, a bore-out also stems from work problems and can trigger similar symptoms. What are they, who is affected by burnout, and what can you do against burnout? You will find out in this article.

Definition: What is a Boreout?

The term boreout (also bore-out or boreout syndrome) is relatively new – since 2007, the term has been used for health problems caused by chronic under-exertion at work. Even if it is a neologism by two German authors, the word “boreout” has English roots: “to bore” means “to be bored”.

Burnout has yet to be officially recognized as a disease. This means there are no international criteria for diagnosis and no standardized test to determine a boreout. Nevertheless, burnout syndrome is known to many doctors, and some psychological practices also offer special therapies for treatment.


Who is affected by burnout?

In principle, anyone can develop a boreout. Two main factors mainly contribute to the occurrence of burnout:

  1. On the one hand, these tasks do not challenge the person concerned.
  2. On the other hand, too few tasks can lead to a burnout syndrome.

Both create a lasting feeling of boredom when they primarily shape everyday work. One’s activity is seen as something other than fulfilling or meaningful; dissatisfaction arises.

Burnout can also be favoured by fixed working hours not adapted to the actual workload – for example, a 40-hour job whose tasks can be completed in 15 hours.

What behaviour indicates a boreout?

There needs to be more motivation for the activity due to dissatisfaction with the job. There is a distancing from the company. Many of those affected have already resigned in their minds, even if they continue to show up at work.

At the same time, attempts are often made to hide the lack of workload from colleagues and superiors. This may be related to the subject being generally uncomfortable for those affected. However, there is often also a fear of losing one’s job, should it become apparent that one’s position is unnecessary or not to such an extent.

To disguise the boreout from the outside, “fake strategies” are often used. For example, affected persons artificially prolong tasks or deal with private matters during working hours, devoting themselves to ostensibly professional activities.


What are the symptoms of burnout?

The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of burnout, i.e. the signs that arise when you are chronically overwhelmed at work. The physical and psychological symptoms are diverse.

Possible signs include:

These health problems are noticeable during working hours, and burnout can also burden private life. If the situation persists for a long time and does not improve, a boreout can develop into a depression. Those affected should, therefore, seek medical advice at an early stage.

What can you do against burnout?

Suppose you notice signs of burnout and no changes are expected in the company in the foreseeable future that could improve the situation. In that case, you should actively seek a conversation with a superior to find solutions to the problem together. Possible options here include taking on new projects, redistributing tasks within the team or changing positions within the company. A reduction in working hours can also be an option.

If there is no prospect of solving the problem within the company, those affected should consider changing jobs.

In the case of severe health problems or if there is even a suspicion of the onset of depression, medical advice should always be sought. Psychological support can also help tackle problems at work or, if necessary, take a step towards changing jobs. Coaching can often help with professional reorientation. Some coaches even specialize in helping bored people choose a new job.

Measures to counteract emotional stress can also be helpful. These include, for example, mindfulness exercises, tai chi or yoga. Sufficient physical exercise can also help to reduce mental stress.

Which is worse – burnout or burnout?

It is difficult to make an appropriate assessment because the symptoms of both syndromes are similar and always stressful for those affected. In addition, both burnout and boredom can lead to depression if left untreated.

In principle, however, burnout attracts more attention and recognition within society and medicine. In 2022, burnout syndrome was included in the “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems” (ICD), i.e. the “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems”, which officially recognized it as a syndrome that affects health. This has not happened so far in the case of the boreout. There is currently less research on the subject.


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