Burnout or exhaustion?

Burnout is a psychological disorder, where you experience a feeling of total exhaustion. Where is the line between experiencing normal stress and complete exhaustion? When are we temporarily exhausted and when should we really start to worry?

What is burnout?

Burnout is often the final stop after years of exhaustion at work. There is more and more work added to our plate and we do not really know how to deal with all this work pressure anymore. People who experience burnout are often people who have dedicated themselves completely to their work. They like it when everything is done and neat. In many cases, however, they find out that this is no longer possible because the pressure at work is too large, or because they do not get in return what they had hoped to get. Oftentimes, these people then feel that it had all been for nothing. After a while they then start to wonder why they even do it at all anymore. In spite of this, their stress levels remain high and they keep trying to push themselves further in the hope to get all their work done after all, or to get the reward which they had hoped to get. If this goes too far after a while, we can speak of a burnout.

At that point you have pushed both your body and mind to such an extent that both signal that they cannot go further. Even the smallest thing becomes too much. In this stage you often get emotional about small things, because you are so exhausted. Both your body and mind need to relax.

Can a burnout be developed only under work circumstances?

A burnout can be caused by different things. It does not always need to be pressure at work, which causes the burnout. It can also develop because of pressure from home. For example, a mother who has fully taken care of the housework and caring for the kids, might become exhausted and fatigued after some time. However, most often burnout is linked to pressure at work.

Do only ‘weak’ people experience a burnout?

Burnout is often linked to weakness. For example, people with burnout have to deal with certain stereotypes, which in some case even can lead to discrimination. In general, people with burnout do not like to speak of their burnout, because it is seen as some type of weakness. They often feel like ‘something is wrong with them’.

The contrary is true, however. People who experience a burnout are generally very much aware of what they have to do, as well as perfectionist. They get a lot done and can take care of a lot of work. These are the same people who always put the bar a little higher for themselves, in order to perform better or to reach a new goal. However, after a while it can be so that they set the bar just a little too high and that they want to be just a little too perfectionist in doing their work. After a while, this can add up and eventually cause a burnout.

Test your burnout!

If you want to know if you are at risk of experiencing burnout symptoms, then take our free online burnout test here! This test can tell you to what extent you are exhausted and/or if you experience burnout symptoms.