WHO says burnout is a medical condition, leading to the big question: What is the answer?

Burnout has long been a widely discussed mental health concern. And while it’s not news to most of us that burnout exists, the World Health Organization’s recent announcement that burnout is now an official medical diagnosis highlights the severity of the issue. This leaves many thinking; how can burnout be cured? Or better yet, how can it be avoided?

The answer to this health concern is both simple to learn and easy to implement. Mindfulness has been proven to combat the effects of stress and burnout, making it necessary to implement for both individuals and organizations.

Why mindfulness?

The World Health Organization outlined some symptoms of burnout, including:

  • Decreased energy and exhaustion
  • Feeling mentally distanced from or negative towards one’s job
  • Becoming less effective at one’s job

Elaine Cheung, a professor of medical social sciences, outlined some important aspects of an employee’s work life that employers should be paying attention to. Her list included:

  • Whether employees have a solid community in the workplace
  • The quality of a worker’s social relationships
  • How manageable employees’ workloads are

While these are important guidelines, the truth of the matter is that work-life balance is almost never a 50/50 split and workloads often fluctuate. The question then becomes, what do you do if you can’t guarantee to keep these factors consistent 100% of the time?

The answer is mindfulness. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce and effectively manage stress – which is where burnout typically stems from. It also empowers employees to do their best, deal with emotions efficiently, and make sound decisions based on their thoughts, beliefs, and values. Ultimately, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment on purpose. Awareness of the present moment encourages positive reactions to difficult experiences and gives individuals more compassion for themselves.

Simply speaking, mindfulness is a sure way to take care of yourself 100% of the time. While external factors such as employee workload and social relationships may not be consistent 24/7, an individual is always able to choose mindfulness practices which will keep them feeling empowered and energized rather than burnt out.

How to incorporate mindfulness in your work life

As someone who has implemented, studied, and taught mindfulness for years, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best response to burnout and the best preventative measure for burnout. Through my experience as an executive and personal mindfulness coach, I have seen the positive impacts of mindfulness unfold in the lives of many individuals, both in their personal lives and their work lives. I’ve seen organizations transformed by the power of mindfulness after receiving my workshops or employee sessions on mindfulness training. I believe in mindfulness not simply because I’ve heard that it works, but because I’ve seen it combat employee burnout time and time again.


  • Adriana@CornerStoneDynamics.com



    Adriana Girdler is one of Canada’s foremost business productivity specialists. Armed with a Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt and over 20 years of experience in productivity and process improvement methodologies she launched her company CornerStone Dynamics in 2008. Adriana has worked in various industries, leading companies to improve what they do, how they do it and their bottom line. She also holds both PMP (Project Management Professional) and CET (Certified Engineering Technologist) designations.   Adriana completed her Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Certification at the University of Toronto in July 2017, and is en route towards completing the internationally acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Adriana is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard and author of Efficiency Matters, the SparkShift book series and The Visual Vision Statement Workbook – both a personal and business edition. She is a TEDx speaker, Huff Post and Thrive Global contributor and has her own YouTube channel.  She has appeared on CBC, CTV, CHCH, Global, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and The Globe and Mail.  Adriana is passionate about improvement and efficiency, in both people and organizations.  Connect with her via Twitter @AdrianaGirdler , Instagram @TheAdrianaGirdler or visit the websites, www.cornerstonedynamics.com and www.myvisualvision.com.