New research has found ways to measure levels of stress in a person’s sweat, which may help indicate signs of burnout.
Sweat can now be used to measure a person’s cortisol levels. Job stressors can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, which can lead to burnout.
Using a wearable electronic chip, professionals can better identify signs of burnout in a more scientific manner.
“So having a reliable, wearable system can help doctors objectively quantify whether a patient is suffering from depression or burnout, for example, and whether their treatment is effective. What’s more, doctors would have that information in real time,” said Adrian Ionescu of Nanolab, which tested the device. “That would mark a major step forward in the understanding of these diseases.”
However, until there are more concrete ways to measure burnout, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided the symptoms related to burnout.
These include energy exhaustion, mental distance from the job, overwhelming negative feelings or cynicism and a decrease in professional efficacy.
It’s important to distinguish between stress and burnout. Burnout cannot simply be cured by taking a vacation or cutting down on hours — it’s a slow rot that eliminates any sign of hope or inspiration in the workplace, which can make completing tasks much more difficult.
That’s why it is essential for business leaders to create a work environment that is open and honest about personal mental health struggles. Encouraging workers to take breaks when needed and offering them leniency during these stressful times will be crucial to help drive down the ballooning cases of burnout.