Burnout is VERY real (where my doctoral students and workaholics at!?). All jokes aside, burnout is a side effect of that 24/7 hustle mentality. While I fully support a hustle, I also fully support not working yourself to the point of exhaustion.
So, what is burnout?
Burnout is mental, physical, and or emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Burnout occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and or are unable to complete your daily demands.
What is the difference between stress and burnout?
Stress and burnout have a lot of similar symptoms, but the main difference between the two is:
Stress involves feeling as though things are "too much" (i.e. too many pressures that demand too much from you).
Burnout involves feeling as though things are "not enough" (i.e. feeling empty and mentally exhausted, having no motivation, and being beyond caring).
Do you think you might be experiencing burnout? Here are some signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Feeling tired & drained most of the time
- Lowered immunity
- Frequent headaches/muscle pain
- Change in appetite/sleep habits
- Sense of failure & self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, & defeated
- Detachment or feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical outlook
- Decreased satisfaction/sense of accomplishment
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Isolating yourself from others
- Using food/drugs/alcohol to cope
- Taking out your frustrations on others
- Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
Have you noticed some of these symptoms of burnout in yourself? Don’t worry! There are things you can do to combat/prevent these feelings of burnout:
1. Take time for yourself
Okay I’m sure you already knew I was going to say this one (I’m all about that self-care life mmk). BUT in all seriousness, self-care is a major major factor in preventing burnout. Listening to your body and knowing when to take a break is key. You can’t expect yourself to perform at 100%, 100% of the time.
2. Increase your self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is believing in yourself and your ability to complete tasks. People with higher self-efficacy experience less stress during difficult situations. AKA - when you know you can handle something, you spend your energy handling it instead of wondering/worrying about whether you can handle it or not.
3. Set reasonable goals
& stick to them! Setting crazy, unrealistic goals is literally just setting yourself up for failure. I fully think you should dream big but you also need to be realistic – instead of going from 0 to 100, go from 0 to 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30 etc. etc. so that you are more likely to reach 100 instead of giving up and being discouraged when you try to do 0 to 100 and fail. Another important point to note: some days are more productive than others (we’re all human, it happens!) – so don’t feel bad if you don’t get everything done by the timeline you set for yourself. Being open and adaptive is key to moving forward.
4. Remember why you started
This is a big one. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, you can lose sight of why you started whatever it is you’re doing. Reminding yourself of why you started will help give you the boost of motivation you may need to get back on track!
Florida National University (2019). Tips for preventing student burnout. Retrieved from
Smith, Segal, & Robinson (2019). Burnout prevention and treatment. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm