Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed and drained emotionally. They may have a number of demands upon them, which they feel they can not meet. As the stress builds and continues over a period of time, people can start to lose interest in certain aspects of their life. For example, if their burnout is being caused by work stress, they may begin to feel a lack of interest and motivation at their workplace.
Although burnout is sometimes caused by a specific areas of life such as work, the impact of burnout tends to spill over into every area of life. It can affects home life, social life and can certainly have a negative impact on overall health. It can cause changes to our immune system and people experiencing Burnout might find that they are more susceptible to illnesses such as colds, or flu. They might also find that when they become unwell, it can take a long time for them to shake off their symptoms and get better.
Many people think that burnout is just a result of experiencing lots of stress, but it isn’t quite the same as this. When people are very stressed, and feel as though they have too many pressures on them, they generally feel that if they could reduce these pressures, they would feel better. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and they can see an end to their stress in sight.
When people are feeling burnt out, they often report feeling a sense of emptiness, and almost as though they are beyond caring. They might describe feeling mentally exhausted and may have little motivation or drive. They often don’t have much hope for a positive change, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and they may not see an end to their struggles. It often involves a cycle of negative emotions and withdrawal, that can be hard to break out of.
Signs and symptoms of Burnout
- Feeling tired or drained
- Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated, unable to see a way out
- Feeling detached from the world
- Feeling alone
- Feeling negative about the future
- Procrastinating and taking a long time to get things done
- Feeling overwhelmed
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