Why Burnout is Real & 4 Ways to Heal

In today’s society of more-is-more, so more-should-be-better, we’re more likely than ever to find ourselves combating the inevitable burnout. At what point does working hard turn into working too much?

What exactly is Burnout?

Elliot Aronson defines burnout as: “A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations.”

Going even further, Herbert Freudenberger defines burnout as: “A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.”

The 12 Stages of Burnout

In fact, Herbert Freudenberger went farther than just simply defining burnout. He created his 12 Stages of Burnout. This list was not meant to be linear, in fact, many people could enter and exit the stages of burnout at different points. People may also find themselves spending longer in certain categories than others or adapting characteristics of multiple stages at one time.

How many of these items have you felt?

  1. Excessive drive/ambition. Seemingly a good thing at first, this is commonly the first stage for people who are starting a new job or task. However, too much drive can start the path to burnout.

  2. Pushing yourself to work harder. Driven, of course, by our “more is always better” culture.

  3. Neglecting your own needs. Personal care begins to slip. You sacrifice self-care, exercise, sleep, and personal nutrition.

  4. Displacement of conflict. Could easily be referring to as displacement of blame as overly-stressed individuals project their feelings on coworkers, friends and spouses.

  5. No time for nonwork-related needs. Social obligations become stressful. Individuals might stop responding to texts or phone calls from friends & family.

  6. Denial. An aggressive stage where you become frustrated with those around you and reject slowing down.

  7. Withdrawal. The individual might find themselves favoring staying home, avoiding outside contact with others.

  8. Behavioral changes. Unique to everyone, but increased anger or “lashing out” can be very common here.

  9. Depersonalization. Continually feeling like your life is “spinning out of control” or that you have no control over your stress levels.

  10. Inner emptiness or anxiety. Anxiety and stress levels creep up and people may look for drugs to help cope.

  11. Depression. Feelings of sadness or loneliness.

  12. Mental or physical collapse. Your compromised immune system might give way to sickness. Persons may find themselves in need of medical treatment.

How can you identify burnout?

The symptoms of burnout can be unique to every individual. In fact, reading through the list above you may find that you can identify with several stages or feelings. It’s important to ask yourself and evaluate your thoughts to see if you are trending towards becoming overworked.

Do you find it hard to concentrate?

Do you feel disillusioned by your job?

Have you recently become more irritable or impatient with friends or family?

Has your sleep hygiene changed?

Do you feel your energy levels are lacking?

Do you want to avoid human interaction?

How can I heal from burnout?

If you’ve read through the above 12 stage and felt a connection to any, you may be suffering some signs of burnout. Many times, it doesn’t have to be severe for us to feel some level of tension. But the first step in taking control is by making a change.

Why Burnout Is Real & 4 Ways to Heal

Focus on sleep hygiene

One of the initial ways to start taking better control of your personal well being is by being increasingly mindful of your sleep hygiene. This includes limiting electronic devices in the bedroom, focusing on a routine bedtime, and increasing your relaxation time before bed. If you’re increasingly anxious at bedtime, consider adding a weighted blanket into your bedding.

Read more:

We Tried It: Weighted Blankets

On Why Sleep is So Important

Amazon Finds for a Great Night’s Sleep

3 Ways to Make Self-Care A Priority

Make Exercise a Priority

Elle Woods was not wrong when she said that exercises gives us endorphins, which make us happy (and also, happy people don’t kill their husbands). Engaging in physical activity allows your brain to switch away from the task, as well as provide some much needed blood flow.

If you’re stressed about not having enough time to workout, check out our suggestions for quick workouts below!

Read more:

Making Your Personal Fitness a Priority

How to Find Your Motivation Again After Setback

15 Minute - Upper Body

15 Minute - Glute Burn

Eat Quality Food

When self-care starts to slip, we quickly fall back into substandard eating habits. Eating poorly is a surefire way to lead to overeating, under-nourishment and poor health. Adding quality food into your diet will make sure that you’re hitting your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals to heal your body from the inside.

Read more:

Set Yourself Up For Nutritional Success

How I Changed My Relationship with Food (& You Can, Too!)

Everlywell Food Sensitivity Kit + Test Results!

It is Never Too Late to Ask for Help

Asking for help might seem scary at first, but it can be the key to success. Have a “check-in” buddy when you’re feeling extra stressed or someone that you can talk to. We’re a firm believer that everyone can use a therapist and there are many great online options for busy individuals. But being able to talk about your mental health is the first step in bettering it.

Read more:

Learning How to Say No - 5 Simple Ways to Saying What You Really Mean

Why We Overcommit and 5 Ways to Stop!

How to Overcome: Feeling Overwhelmed 


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Why Burnout is Real & 4 Ways to Heal

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