What is burnout and what is it not?

Mental burnout is not only the result of overwork or having too many things on your plate. However, those things play a huge part in it. The characteristic cynicism, depression, and lethargy that come with burnout occurs when a person feels like he has lost control of his work or home life or asked to do tasks that conflict with his sense of self.

Just as compelling is when you feel that you are working toward a goal that seems unattainable, or when you feel like you are all alone and that no one supports or appreciates what you are doing. Burnout can also happen when you feel like what you are doing does not fulfill your “calling”.

If you don’t take a break every once in a while, and continue to carry your heavy mental burdens, there is no doubt that you will burn out one of these days. The problem is that it carries with it some not-so-fun physical health problems.

How do you know if you’re burned out?

There are certain signs that you need to look out for, like extreme mental and physical exhaustion, a lingering feeling of dread about work, and constantly feeling cynical, angry, and irritable. If you feel like you can no longer do your job effectively, then it could be a sign that you are already burned out.

What is the difference between burnout and stress?

The textbook definition of burnout is that it is an extended period of stress that does not want to let up. If you experience stress in connection to a specific goal and goes away quickly, then it is most likely not harmful. If it feels like the stress is not going anywhere soon and comes with feelings of apathy, hopelessness, and emptiness, then you may be experiencing burnout.

When burnout isn’t caused by work?

Job-related stresses are not the only cause of burnout. It may also come from the home. Parents, partners, and other family members can also feel overwhelmed with their familial responsibilities, or they secretly believe that they are failures at their roles. Mental health professionals call these types of burnout parental, relationship, and caregiver burnout.

The burnout that is not related to work is not as well-known as career burnout, which is why those who suffer from it, particularly those who suffer from parental burnout, blame themselves for their suffering. They also tend to hide their struggles from other people.

Burnout in any form can have dire consequences if ignored and left untreated. It is important to discuss your problem openly with someone whom you trust dearly. It would even be better to talk to a therapist. This should be the first and most important step to addressing the problem and getting your much-needed help.

FAQ: Burnout

Is burnout the same as stress?

Burnout may seem similar to garden variety stress, but not quite. Stress only stays for a short period and is due to a specific circumstance. Burnout happens when you are overworked, and it could linger for a very long time. One way to tell them apart is that burnout is more intense and you constantly feel it. If it comes and goes, it is most likely just stress.

Is burnout and depression the same?

Burnout and depression can sometimes feel similar. It is the reason why most people confuse the two for each other. Some experts believe that depression is at the root of burnout, which explains why their symptoms seem similar.

However, technically speaking, depression and burnout are not the same. Although it is hard to discern the subtle differences between the two conditions, they are still there. Burnout is more closely rooted in workplace issues. It usually comes with three key emotions namely, detachment, emotional exhaustion, and lack of work efficiency.

What comprises burnout?

According to researchers, burnout is made of three feelings – cynicism, exhaustion, and lack of professional efficacy. The exhaustion is due to the excessive fatigue brought about by an excessive workload. Cynicism is the detachment people feel when they start losing interest in their work. Lastly, the lack of professional efficacy is when the person loses most of his work efficiency and fails to be productive.

What kind of health risks are associated with burnout?

Burnout is not just bad for your mental and emotional health but it can also negatively affect your overall health. A study done in 2017 found that burnout can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, joint pain, fatigue, GI and respiratory issues, and many other serious ailments.

Burnout can also cause severe physical and mental exhaustion. Most experts agree that burnout is extreme stress that reached the point wherein the person’s mind and body are starting to give out. It can manifest itself as severe fatigue or lethargy. It can be so severe that you cannot even complete simple tasks.

When you suspect that you are starting to feel the symptoms connected to burnout, act immediately to get it under control before it worsens. Left unattended, burnout can lead to even more serious problems that unfortunately include anxiety, depression, and lingering suicidal thoughts. Do not push yourself too hard. Learn to take care of yourself to prevent burnout.