What is burnout?

When you are exposed to prolonged and excessive stress, you may experience burnout. Burnout is a condition that is characterised by emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of reduced professional ability.

Burnout is different to stress as burnout describes the feelings of not having enough internal resources to cope, leaving us feeling blunted and disengaged. On the other hand, having too much stress describes having too many demands.

Often, when you are stressed, you may feel that you are able to cope if you could get everything under control or that if you have a “break” you could manage better. That is not the case with burnout

What are the signs and symptoms of burnout?

  • Exhaustion (physical, emotional and mental)
  • Disengaging from work activities and work relationships
  • Reduced ability to perform as you did before
  • Decreased motivation and drive
  • Blunted emotions and detachment
  • Apathy and cynicism

Burnout can affect many areas of your life, from work to home, and prevent you from engaging with your daily activities.

As burnout progresses, your productivity and energy levels will decrease and often it will leave you feeling resentful and as if you nothing more to give and your emotions may feel deflated.

What are the causes and contributions to burnout?

  • Working in an environment that is high-pressured and having little autonomy, while feeling unsupported and having poor work life balance
  • Feeling over worked and undervalued while trying to manage many responsibilities Personality traits such as being a perfectionist or high achiever may contribute
  • Building resilience can help you to cope better with certain demands you face, and assist you in being able to function at your best.

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