Burnout refers to long-term exhaustion from and diminished interest in our work. Many people start their working lives full of enthusiasm, but without the correct supports in place few are able to maintain the same level of engagement for their work.
Typically, burnout occurs when someone is in a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion which is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. This often occurs when someone feels emotionally drained, overwhelmed by the nature of their work, the level of their work and the constant demands being placed on them. Burnout begins to take hold as the level of stress continues to grow, the motivation the level of interest and motivation declines.
Some common features of burnout are a reduction in productivity, a decrease in energy, a feeling of helplessness, hopeless, being cynical, and resentful. Eventually, someone who is becoming burnt out may want to give-up as they have nothing left to give.
There are times when most people would prefer to not go to work as they feel bored, overloaded and unappreciated. However, if you feel like this most of the time then you may have burnout.
You may be on the road to burnout if:
- You’re exhausted all the time.
- Every day is a bad day.
- Caring about your work and home life seems particularly difficult or like a total waste of energy.
- The majority of your day is spent on boring or overwhelming tasks.
- Feeling that nothing you do is appreciated or makes a difference to your current situation.
The effects of burnout:
Burnout may have a flow on effect to every other aspect of your life – including your home, work and social life. In-fact the effects of burnout can be long-lasting and cause long-term changes to your body. Because of the many consequences it is important to deal with and manage burnout right away.
Whether you have recognised the signs and symptoms of impending burnout or you believe that you are already experiencing burnout, there are positive steps that you can take to regain some balance and overcome burnout.
- Social support
- Healthy diet
- Re-evaluate priorities
Leiter, M. P., Bakker, A. B., & Maslach, C. (2014). Burnout at work: A psychological perspective (1st ed.). London: Psychology Press.