Burnout is a common trait for those who like to play hard, work hard and win hard. Nothing else matters but perfection at the cost of our own health.

Stress versus burnout looks like the following from PositivePsychology.com:

  • STRESS: Emotions are overactive VS. BURNOUT: Emotions are numb
  • STRESS: Characterized by over-engagement VS. BURNOUT: Characterized by disengagement
  • STRESS: Damaging physical symptoms VS. BURNOUT: Damaging emotional symptoms
  • STRESS: Causes fatigue and exhaustion VS. BURNOUT: Causes hopelessness and lack of purpose
  • STRESS: Can lead to anxiety disorders VS. BURNOUT: Can lead to depression
  • STRESS: Loss of energy VS. BURNOUT: Loss of motivation

Psychologist Dr. Richard Orbe-Austin notes different statements from people that have experienced burnout before that would suggest burnout:

  • “It takes me a lot of effort to just get out of bed and go to work.”
  • “It is hard for me to get motivated to do any project.”
  • “I don’t feel as effective at work as I used to.”
  • “If I could quit today, I would, I just don’t want to do it anymore.”
  • “I am always exhausted and can’t seem to feel rested even after a vacation.”

Burnout takes time and happens to many of us ambitious folks that don’t properly take care of our own unique needs. We are so ambitious that we put work above our own self care.

Burnout can look like the following list below:

  • Not having energy to get through the day no matter how much sleep you got
  • Becoming overwhelmed at small inconveniences
  • Cancelling on plans because you just can’t handle socializing
  • Feeling disinterested or distracted often
  • Trouble remembering key details or things that just happened
  • Rarely experiencing joy from day to day
  • Feeling emotionally drained from people close to you
  • Fighting the feeling of being overwhelmed constantly
  • Feeling off and not yourself
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Changes in appetite and/or sleep habits
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating from others
  • Detachment and feeling alone in the world
  • Sense of self-doubt
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
  • Feeling so exhausted even though you’re not physically active
  • Chronic headaches that feel like a tight band around your head
  • Having a very random sleeping schedule with no consistency
  • Feeling like your stomach is doing loops or that you’re always running to the bathroom
  • Having little motivation to get things done yet being anxious about being unproductive
  • Experiencing feelings of dread when you wake up in the morning
  • Easily getting anry at your loved ones or coworkersA lack of interest in hobbies
  • Letting go of self-care
  • Dodging friends & events
  • Considering drastic life changes
  • Exhaustion after adequate sleep
  • Decreased professional performance
  • Indulging in numbing coping mechanisms
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Psychologist Abby Rawlinson notes EXTERNAL vs INTERNAL factors and burnout triggers:


  • High demands at work
  • Problems of leadership
  • Contradictory instructions
  • Time pressure
  • Lack of freedom to make decisions
  • Hierarchy problems
  • Bad atmosphere at work/bullying


  • A compulsion to prove
  • Unrealistic self-expectations
  • A strong need for recognition
  • Always wanting to please others
  • Perfectionism
  • Suppressing own needs
  • Excessive worrying

Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger notes the 12 Stages of Burnout as follows:

  1. You’re drive to prove yourself.
  2. You push yourself to work harder.
  3. You neglect your needs and self-care.
  4. You feel panicky and jittery.
  5. You prioritize work over your life.
  6. You deny any issue with your stress.
  7. You withdraw from social activities.
  8. Your friends and family notice changes.
  9. You stop feeling like yourself.
  10. You feel empty inside.
  11. You feel depressed and exhausted.
  12. You mentally and physically collapse.
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The American Heart Association (AMA) notes the consequences of job burnout:

  • Excessive stress
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy behaviors like smoking or alcohol use

Psychologist Carolyn Rubenstein notes way to recover from burnout:

  • Set and enforce boundaries
  • Reassess your current workload
  • Consult a life coach
  • Take time to rest
  • Prioritize self-care
  • Speak to your boss about your workload
  • Consult a health practitioner
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Avoid over-scheduling
  • Focus only on top priorities
  • Learn to identify early warning signs
  • Learning to recognize your emotions and needs
  • Prioritizing what brings you joy
  • Be open to receiving help and support
  • Pay attention to the warning signs you may be exhausted
  • Create a habit of journaling to check in with yourself
  • Identify your stressors (what’s in your control?)
  • Create changes in your environment to support your well-being
  • Connect with others, resist isolating
  • Recognize your ‘why’ and align what you do with your goals
  • Move your body in a way that is meaningful for you
  • Ensure you take various types of rest (more than just sleep)

Have you experienced burnout before? If so, what did you do to cure it?

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