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What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job.

Burnout happens when you’re overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with life’s incessant demands.

The condition isn’t medically diagnosed. But burnout can affect your physical and mental health if you don’t acknowledge or treat it.

Burnout keeps you from being productive. It reduces your energy, making you feel hopeless, cynical, and resentful. The effects of burnout can hurt your home, work, and social life. Long- term burnout can make you more vulnerable to colds and flu.

Major reasons for burnout include:

  • Unmanageable workloads
  • Unfair treatment at work
  • Confusing work responsibilities
  • Lack of communication or support from managers
  • Immense deadline pressure


Types of Burnout

Three types of burnout have been identified, each with their own cause:

  • Overload Burnout: This happens when you work harder and harder, becoming frantic in your pursuit of success. If you experience this, you may be willing to risk your health and personal life to feel successful in your job. 
  • Under-Challenged Burnout: This happens when you feel underappreciated and bored in your job. Maybe your job doesn’t provide learning opportunities or have room for professional growth. If you feel under-challenged, you may distance yourself from your job, become cynical, and avoid responsibilities.
  • Neglect Burnout: This happens when you feel helpless at work. If things aren’t going right, you may believe you’re incompetent or unable to keep up with your responsibilities. Such burnout can be closely connected to imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern in which you doubt your skills, talents, or accomplishments.