Have you ever felt like a candle burning at both ends, with the wax of your energy melting away faster than it can be replenished? That’s what burnout feels like.

Burnout has become an unwelcome guest in many lives in our hustle culture, where working long hours is glorified, and rest is seen as laziness. But how much do we know about this exhausting condition?

This post dives deep into understanding burnout – its causes, signs to watch out for, and ways to combat it. By delving into this article, you’ll learn why specific individuals may be more vulnerable to feeling burnt out due to their job or character traits. We’ll also guide you through differentiating between everyday stress and debilitating burnout.

I’m here to give you the tools to stay grounded during tough times and offer tips on avoiding future stressors.


Understanding Burnout

Burnout, coined in the 1970s by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, refers to chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s more than just feeling tired or stressed out after a long day at work.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” rather than a medical condition. This syndrome results from chronic workplace stress and is characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or negative emotions related to one’s career, and reduced professional efficacy.

In medicine, this issue is particularly prevalent, with physicians reporting high levels of burnout due to demanding schedules and excessive workloads. A study revealed that nearly half of all U.S. doctors experience symptoms associated with burnout.



The Meaning of Burn Out

Feeling exhausted, drained, and disengaged from your work or personal life? These are some common signs that you may be experiencing burnout. But what exactly does it mean to feel “burned out”?

What Does Burned Out Mean?

Burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion often accompanied by cynicism, detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness in one’s career or personal responsibilities. It usually results from prolonged periods of stress without adequate rest or recovery.

A report published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings describes burnout as an occupational phenomenon characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, detachment from one’s job, and a sense of professional inefficacy.

Career Burnout

In particular, career burnout can manifest itself when the demands at work become too much to handle. You might start feeling disillusioned about your job roles, or tasks that were once enjoyable now seem tedious. The constant pressure to perform can lead to reduced productivity over time, exacerbating these negative feelings.

  • Signs: Some telltale signs include a lackluster performance at work despite long hours spent on tasks, loss of interest in your field, and diminished satisfaction derived from achievements in this sphere.
  • Solutions: If you’re suffering through such symptoms, there are numerous ways to combat them effectively, like seeking support networks among colleagues who understand what you’re going through due to their own experiences dealing with similar issues beforehand (e.g., through peer support groups).
  • Prevention: To prevent burnout, it’s important to prioritize self-care and establish a healthy work-life balance. This might involve setting boundaries around work hours or taking regular daily breaks.

Burnout is not just an inconvenience—it can severely impact your health and happiness if left unchecked. Recognizing the signs early and taking proactive steps toward prevention can help you maintain career success and personal well-being in the long run.


The Role of Personality Traits in Contributing to Burnout

Your personality traits play an important role, too. Specific characteristics like being overly critical towards yourself can make you more susceptible to experiencing burnout. Additionally, people with difficulty setting workplace boundaries are also at risk.

Mental health also plays its part when it comes down to understanding this complex issue – those struggling with depression symptoms often find themselves battling burnout simultaneously.


Signs of Burnout

Burnout can be stealthy, creeping into your life masked as simple fatigue or stress. But there’s more to it than just feeling tired all the time.

The first thing you might notice is a dip in energy levels. You may experience a feeling of being constantly worn out, even after getting an adequate amount of rest. This chronic fatigue isn’t just physical – it extends to mental exhaustion, too, leaving you emotionally drained at the end of each day.

Mayo Clinic suggests that burnout often leads to negative feelings about one’s job expectations, which spill over into personal life, impacting work-life balance drastically.

Emotional Exhaustion: The Hallmark Sign of Burnout

You don’t merely get tired; instead, your emotions take a toll, leading to decreased enthusiasm for anything once cherished and heightened irritability with colleagues or family members.

Sleep Habits Tell Their Own Story

If changes in sleep habits start occurring — whether insomnia or oversleeping — this could be another warning sign.

Mental Health Takes A Hit Too

Anxiety and depression symptoms are common amongst people experiencing burnout due to their constant struggle with high job stress and low satisfaction from what they do daily.



Differentiating Between Stress and Burnout

Stress and burnout might seem like twins, but they’re more like distant cousins. Both can make you feel overwhelmed, but there’s a stark difference in how they manifest.

Think of stress as the pesky little brother who won’t leave you alone. It often stems from having too much on your plate – long hours at work or high job expectations. But when handled well, it doesn’t have to lead to disaster.

Burnout, however, is the sinister cousin who overstays his welcome during family gatherings. It sneaks up on you after prolonged chronic workplace pressure without enough recovery time. You start feeling helpless against your daily routine with no end in sight.

The Major Difference Between Stress and Burnout

In essence, stress feels like drowning under an excessive workload, while burnout feels like being dried out due to a lack of motivation or satisfaction.

It’s essential to recognize that not all stressful situations directly lead to burnout. Sometimes, it just means we need a good night’s sleep or deep breathing exercises before tackling another day. 

The Impact on Mental Health Conditions

If left unchecked, stress and burnout could escalate into severe mental health conditions, including depression symptoms(ADAA).

  • An increased risk factor for heart disease due to elevated blood pressure levels is associated with long-term stress.
  • Burnout can cause despair and depletion, leading to withdrawal from work or social activities.

Remember, understanding these differences is vital for maintaining balance in our lives.


Causes Behind the Development of Burnout

Burnout doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. Burnout can often be attributed to lifestyle decisions, job-related issues, and personality characteristics.

Work-Related Factors Leading to Burnouts

Burnout may creep up if your job expects you to put in long hours without balancing work and personal life. The constant pressure from high-demand jobs can lead to exhaustion caused by excessive stress at the workplace.

Lifestyle Causes of Burnouts

Your daily routine plays a significant role, too. Poor sleep habits can lower energy levels over time, leading to mental exhaustion. A good night’s sleep is essential for keeping burnout at bay.

Personality Traits Contributing to Burnouts

Sometimes, it’s not just about our actions but who we are as individuals that can contribute to burnout. Some people experiencing burnout have specific personality traits like perfectionism or pessimism, making them more susceptible.

Mayo Clinic suggests paying attention to early warning signs, such as feeling helpless or hostile towards your job expectations, as they might signal an impending risk.

So, let’s be mindful because understanding these causes is the first step in recognizing burnout symptoms.




What to do when burned out

When feeling overwhelmed by burnout, it’s essential to have strategies available to help keep stress levels in check. An excellent place to start is building resilience through self-care routines.

HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit offers an array of resources. From mindfulness exercises that can bring calm in stressful times, maintaining balance and reducing mental exhaustion becomes easier.

Beyond individual efforts, setting boundaries at work also plays a crucial role in coping with burnout. This might involve negotiating job expectations or asking for adjustments when work demands are too high. It’s all about ensuring you don’t spend long hours stuck in chronic workplace stress without the chance to recharge.

Creating a Daily Routine That Nurtures You

A well-rounded daily routine that supports physical and mental health can be highly effective against burnout symptoms like feeling helpless or emotionally drained. Regular exercise boosts energy levels, while a healthy diet ensures your body gets the nutrients it needs during these stressful situations.

Prioritizing Sleep Habits

Inadequate sleep contributes significantly to feeling burned out over time. Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep to manage job burnout – even superheroes need rest.

Social Support: Your Secret Weapon Against Burnouts

Nurturing supportive relationships benefits our social life and is a buffer against excessive stress leading to potential burnout. Remember, it’s okay to lean on family members and friends – they’re there, so we won’t feel hopeless navigating through stressful times alone.


Preventing Burnout

The secret to preventing burnout lies in self-care, building supportive relationships, and maintaining work-life balance. Let’s talk about the role of exercise and diet first.

The Role of Exercise and Diet in Preventing Burnout

Regular physical activity is crucial in maintaining energy levels and warding off burnout; moderate exercise, such as walking or cycling, can be beneficial. It helps you feel positive, boosts your mood, and reduces feelings of stress – making it an essential strategy for preventing burnout. You don’t need to train like an Olympian either; even moderate daily exercises such as walking or cycling can significantly impact you.

A healthy diet also plays a vital role in keeping burnout at bay. Eating nutritious meals fuels our bodies and minds, providing much-needed energy throughout the day.

Beyond this individual approach, we should remember that preventing job-related exhaustion requires teamwork, too. Building supportive relationships can be incredibly helpful for managing work-related stress while providing social support during stressful times.

  • Finding someone who understands what you’re going through (a friend or family member).
  • Reaching out regularly to maintain these connections despite long hours at work.
  • Leveraging professional development resources from coaches or mentors experienced with stress relief techniques.

Maintaining a balance between personal life & career demands is another crucial part of avoiding chronic workplace fatigue — which means setting boundaries around working hours & ensuring adequate rest time. So folks, pay attention because finding ways to prevent burnout starts by caring for yourself.


Long-Term Impact of Burnout

Burnout is not just a temporary phase; it has long-term impacts that can change your life. It’s like having high blood pressure, but instead of your heart working overtime, it’s your entire being – physical and mental.

Burnout can cause physical health issues like chronic stress, such as diabetes and heart disease. The constant feeling of exhaustion caused by burnout also increases the risk for sleep disorders, which further impact health.

Mental Health Conditions Triggered by Burnout

On the other hand, mental health has severe effects, too. Chronic workplace stress can lead to anxiety or depression symptoms over time. Even social life takes a hit as people experiencing burnout tend to isolate themselves more often than not.

Affecting Personal Life & Career Growth

Your personal life may look bleak when you’re emotionally drained due to job expectations or overwhelming work demands. Your relationships with family members might be strained because you need more energy to balance work and home duties.

Regarding career growth, excessive stress makes you less productive at work, leading to decreased job performance impacts. A study published in the Journal Of Occupational And Environmental Medicine discovered that those who experienced burnout had a 63% greater likelihood of enduring detrimental outcomes concerning their career advancement.


FAQs about Burnout

What are the five symptoms of burnout?

Burnout often presents as emotional exhaustion, reduced performance, cynicism or detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment, plus physical symptoms like headaches or sleeplessness.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of chronic physical and mental stress characterized by fatigue, disillusionment, and feeling overwhelmed that affects one’s ability to function effectively at work or in daily life.

What does burnout feel like?

Burnout feels like constant tiredness combined with a loss of motivation. It can manifest as frustration, irritability, hopelessness, and difficulties concentrating on tasks.

How do you fix ADHD burnout?

To manage ADHD-related burnout, use structured routines to aid focus. Also, incorporate regular exercise for brain stimulation while ensuring adequate rest periods throughout the day.



Burnout can feel like an insurmountable mountain. But remember, recognizing its signs is the first step to recovery.

It’s crucial to differentiate between everyday stress and burnout. This distinction lets you take appropriate measures before it gets too severe.

Work-related factors or personality traits might make us more susceptible, but lifestyle changes can be a game changer in dealing with burnout. Exercising routinely, consuming nutritious food, and keeping a good work-life balance are some of the most effective methods for combating this condition.

Above all else, self-care isn’t selfish—it’s necessary! Prioritize it without guilt because only when we’re at our best can we give our best—to ourselves and others around us!


Suffering with being burned out? I can help you.

Let’s put an end to feeling drained and unhappy.

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About Denise Morrison

I’m a licensed and certified health care professional with over 30 years experience in healthcare, wellness, fitness, physical therapy, yoga, NLP, TLT, hypnosis and mind-body practices.

During my career I’ve seen too many women struggle with self-doubt and fear leftover from their past, making them stuck in their health, happiness, and success.

This is why it’s my passion to help you discover and release any of your limiting beliefs, old stories, and unconscious obstacles so you can finally know, trust and value yourself and confidently make decisive action to create your most fulfilling life.

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