What is burnout?

Sometimes life gets a little too tough to handle and our bodies and minds face the consequences. This can result in us feeling helpless and overloaded. If you’ve been experiencing such symptoms, it could be that you’re burnt out. Burnout can leave emotional damage and disengagement so it’s important that you address the issue as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about the causes of burnout and how best to manage it.

What is burnout?

Burnout stems from an overwhelming lifestyle that constitutes too many responsibilities. When you don’t have enough downtime and don’t balance work or home demands effectively with rest, you will likely experience burnout. This can have a knock-on effect in different areas of your life and you could lose the energy and ability to effectively meet the demands of life, be it at your job or at home.

There are nine factors that could contribute towards burnout, let’s take a closer look at what these are.

What causes burnout?

While there may not be just one thing that can cause a person to feel burnt out, there are a few contributing factors that can add up to a stressful lifestyle and cause burnout. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, life changed drastically for most people around the world. This caused additional tension and stress as people were out of jobs and struggling to balance their lives while under a lockdown. The impact this had on our well-being resulted in mental and physical health issues. Statistics showed that in 2020, 46% of UK workers felt more prone to extreme levels of stress.

Other contributing factors of burnout include:

  • Money worries

Money is no doubt one of the most common factors that cause worry and stress. A recent survey found that it’s the number one cause of anxiety for Americans. Results from another survey showed that 81% of people agreed that money worries contribute to feeling burnout.

  • Worries about job security

In general, people had concerns over their jobs and whether they would always have one to provide for themselves and their families. This worry became increasingly so since the beginning of the pandemic when many lost their jobs. 11.7 million jobs were furloughed in the UK, amounting to roughly 26%.  These statistics alone are enough to cause extreme stress that can lead to burnout.

  • Isolation

Our mental health impacts our physical health and if it’s in a negative state, we can experience burnout. Isolation and feeling lonely can negatively impact our mental health. It’s associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates. According to research, social isolation can be worse for your well-being than smoking, obesity, and dementia.

  • Physical health

Poor physical health can contribute to burnout because without exercise, you’ll begin to feel down and stressed. Exercise should be a normal part of taking care of ourselves so we feel happy and calm and avoid feelings of. Exercise releases endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.

  • Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health. It helps keep your emotions in check, reduces disease risk and helps improve brain function. 83% of people agree that a lack of sleep can contribute to burnout. This is because it affects how you feel mentally and physically

  • Relationships

Humans are social beings so it’s natural for us to want relationships with other people. Whether it’s with family, friends or romantic partners, having healthy and supportive relationships can have a positive impact on our lives. When your relationships are strained and add stress to your life, you can experience burnout.

  • Family demands

An increase in responsibilities, for example, looking after elderly parents or someone that is sick can lead to burnout. This is because it adds an extra layer of worry for you.

What can you do about it?

To avoid experiencing burnout, it’s important that you manage your stress levels and find a good balance between your responsibilities and rest. If you’ve noticed that any one of the above factors has been impacting your life negatively, you need to address them to manage your symptoms of burnout. For example, if you find that you’re not getting enough sleep, setting a healthy bedtime routine can help alleviate that stress. If you think that money is a contributing factor, planning a budget and getting advice from professionals can take the worry away, or at least enough of it so that it doesn’t lead to burnout.

What’s the difference between stress and burnout?

Life no doubt gets stressful but there is a difference between stress and burnout. When you’re under stress alone, you may find that it’s more about things being too much. So you might find too much pressure and an increased demand coming from a source whereas, with burnout, you’ll feel that things aren’t enough. You may feel like you don’t have enough energy to cope, you’re mentally exhausted or devoid of emotion and you’re beyond a point of caring. When stress builds up, it leads to burnout so it’s important to address the issues head-on and make a positive change to your situation so that it doesn’t lead to burnout.


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