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Burnout - What it is, and how to know if you've got there.

The term 'Burnout' is a relatively new term - originally coined in 1974, by a gentleman named Herbert Freudenberger. He defined it as "the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one's devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results."

To put in in layman's terms - if you're exhausted, you hate your job, and you start to feel less capable doing your work, you are displaying symptoms of burnout.

The stress that usually causes burnout comes directly from work, but often times can be affected by personality traits such as pessimism or perfectionism. However, most people spend their waking hours working - and if you hate your job and get no satisfaction from going there, dreading to go in to work every day, you are going to end up taking a serious toll on your life.

Signs and Symptoms

While Burnout isn't a diagnosable psychological disorder, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be taken seriously when someone is displaying classic characteristics/behaviors such as:

  • Physical Symptoms: Chronic stress can lead to physical stress, like headaches, stomachaches, and intestinal issues.

  • Emotional Exhaustion: Burnout causes people to feel drained, unable to handle their day to day tasks, and overall extremely tired - this often causes them to lack the energy to get their work done.

  • Alienation from work-related activities: People experiencing burnout will see their jobs as extremely stressful and frustrating. They can become cynical about their working conditions, as well as their coworkers. They may also emotionally distance themselves and begin to display a numbness at work.

  • Reduced performance: Burnout directly affects many day to day tasks at work - or in the home if the burnout is produced by the necessary care of a loved one within the home. Tasks that are important get pushed to the wayside, with the individuals often feeling negative about their tasks and struggling with concentration and creativity.