Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can zap the joy out of your career, friendships, and family interactions. Continual exposure to stressful situations, like caring for an ill family member, working long hours, or witnessing upsetting news related to politics and school safety can lead to this stress condition.
Burnout, however, isn’t always easy to spot. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to help you identify the signs of burnout, as well as ways to prevent it.
Interested in helping friends, family members, or co-workers who may be experiencing this stressful state? We’ve also included a list of our favorite burnout intervention tips and tricks.
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 stressand 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.
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