What is burnout?Feb 28, 2022
What is burnout?
Coined by the psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s, burnout describes a severe stress condition that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Much worse than ordinary fatigue, burnout makes it challenging for people to cope with stress and handle day-to-day responsibilities.
People experiencing burnout often feel like they have nothing left to give and may dread getting out of bed each morning. They may even adopt a pessimistic outlook toward life and feel hopeless.
Burnout doesn’t go away on its own and, if left untreated, it can lead to serious physical and psychological illnesses like depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
Who gets burnout?
Anyone who’s continually exposed to high levels of stress can experience burnout. Helping professionals, such as first responders, doctors, and nurses are especially vulnerable to this health condition.
Along with career-induced burnout, people caring for children can also have this type of extreme exhaustion. A recent study found that, just like doctors and business executives, mothers and fathers can also burn out.
Personality characteristics like needing to be in control, perfectionism, and being “Type A” can also increase your risk of burnout.
Worried that you may be experiencing burnout but unsure of the signs? We’ve compiled a list of symptoms that you can use as a guide.
Exhaustion. Feeling physically and emotionally depleted. Physical symptoms may include headaches, stomachaches, and appetite or sleeping changes.
Isolation. People with burnout tend to feel overwhelmed. As a result, they may stop socializing and confiding in friends, family members, and co-workers.
Escape fantasies. Dissatisfied with the never-ending demands of their jobs, people with burnout may fantasize about running away or going on a solo-vacation. In extreme cases, they may turn to drugs, alcohol, or food as a way to numb their emotional pain.
Irritability. Burnout can cause people to lose their cool with friends, co-workers, and family members more easily. Coping with normal stressors like preparing for a work meeting, driving kids to school, and tending to household tasks also may start to feel insurmountable, especially when things don’t go as planned.
Frequent illnesses. Burnout, like other long-term stress, can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and insomnia. Burnout can also lead to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.
Reach out to our experts at Collective Knowing to see how we can help