What is burnout?

EEAST Wellbeing Support

Burnout is basically caused by being totally and continually overloaded. It occurs when you have been bombarded by extreme stress for far too long.

Burnout isn’t the same as too much stress though; it is the result of unrelenting stress. Highly stressed people know they are stressed and can see a way out, but burnout is being devoid of feeling, detached and beyond caring. 

Work-related causes of burnout include feeling that you have little control over your work or what is happening, that you are not recognised for what you do, you are lacking in challenge, or working in chaos or uncertainty.

Lifestyle causes include working too much and not relaxing or socialising, not having trusted, supportive relationships, not sleeping well, and having too many responsibilities.

Personality traits include being a perfectionist, needing to be in control, and having a negative view of the world around you.

It doesn’t happen overnight; signs and symptoms can be subtle at first, creep up on you and gradually get worse. Pay attention to any early red flags so you can actively work to reduce your stress and prevent major issues. If you ignore them, you will eventually burn out.

It’s really common to hide this subtle build up from ourselves! ‘I’m fine’, ‘I’ll be fine when I’ve finished this task’, ‘I’m just a bit tired’, ‘I’m happy to do that too’ are all signs that we are potentially denying what is happening to us. Be aware.

Burnout is not a mental health illness, but it is a mental health issue.

What can it lead to?

Burnout can have a negative effect on every area of your life. It can cause long-term changes to your body leaving you open to everyday illnesses like colds and flu. Some people self-medicate, become sarcastic, full of self-doubt.

Left unaddressed it may result in serious physical and psychological issues like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.



Published 13th August 2020

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