What is Burnout?
In simple terms, burnout is a state of long-term stress that ultimately leads to physical and emotional exhaustion. Writer and recovering burnout sufferer, Kieran Tie, offers the following description:
‘The best definition of burnout I’ve come across is ‘a chronic state of being out of sync with one or more aspects of your life’. Think of it like riding a bicycle. When everything’s running smoothly, your work, life, and enthusiasm all balance, and you feel valued and fully engaged in your work. But when these aspects get out of sync for too long, you lose your balance and fall down. Unlike riding a bike, though, with burnout, once you’re down, it can be a real challenge to get back up.’ – Recovering from Burnout
People tend to think of burnout as something that stems from your job. In reality, anyone who feels overworked and underappreciated is at risk of burning out. Lifestyle and certain personality traits can also make you more susceptible.
For example, working too much without enough downtime for socialising or relaxing, not getting enough sleep, or taking on too many responsibilities can all contribute to feelings of stress. Perfectionist tendencies, a pessimistic view of yourself and the world, or a reluctance to delegate to others will have a similar effect.
When it comes to burnout, prevention is always better than cure.