Burnout is a mental phenomena that occurs as a result from unrelenting work-related stress; however, the condition of burnout is distinguished from stress by the inability to recover after a period of rest.

In general, stress is an overwhelming number of pressures that demand too many mental, physical, and emotional resources. Burnout is conceptualised as a void of resources, or “running on empty”, and can leave an individual feeling chronically depleted. This can manifest as intolerance, indifference and inpatience with self and others.

Burnout is conceptualised as a void of resources rather than as an excess amount of perceived workplace pressure. Burnout is related to unrelenting stress; however, the line between excessive stress and burnout can be extremely difficult to differentiate in practice.  The key hallmarks of the two constructs are the emotional ability to rebound after a period of time away from the factors that contribute to stress.

Three main components of burnout include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced professional accomplishment. Emotional exhaustion is just that -you feel fed up and checked out. Its like going into work everyday and trying to pour from an empty cup – there isn’t even a drop of water left to give to your work. This can really show up in reduced capacity for work performance, and feeling unlike yourself – this just isn’t “you”. As a high performer and high achiever, feelings of burnout can be real, and real… disturbing. Your colleagues may start to notice things slipping, and you may beat yourself up from missed deadlines, paperwork, and feel like you are drowning in admin. You are pouring from an empty cup, and there is just nothing left to give.

Give yourself the gift of checking out, so that you can tune back in. Both with yourself, and the things that fill your life with joy, meaning, and purpose.

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