Defining And Recognizing Burnout (Part 1)


What Causes Burnout?  For those under the continual stress of living in a new location, adjusting to a new job, and juggling their own and other people's expectations - burnout is a real and looming risk.  With all the new stressors to adjust to, prioritizing or even determining what your new self-care system needs to look like can be extremely difficult.  So, what is “burnout” and how can we catch signs of burnout early?


What is Burnout?  Burnout is defined as, “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration” (Merriam Webster).  Burnout can be mistaken for depression by many people because several of the symptoms are the same. A person who is beginning to burnout may find it difficult to just get through the day.  


What Are Symptoms of Burnout?  Burnout often includes physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual symptoms.  Physically, you may find you are exhausted continually, possibly as a result of insomnia or worry.  You may find yourself getting more headaches, feeling achy, or even finding your stomach is frequently upset.  Emotionally, you may feel angry and more frequently irritable. You may find you have very little motivation or passion to do anything, and you may feel pessimistic, often thinking that things will always turn out badly.  Spiritually, you may find yourself feeling unmotivated or indifferent when you used to be excited to open the Word. You may feel conversations with your Creator feel one-sided or bland, and this may cause you to feel even more angry or worried.  


Now What?  When we recognize the signs of burnout in ourselves, how can we recover and help ensure that we don’t stay burned out?  The next few weeks we will be exploring more on burnout and ways to move towards health in the midst of burnout. It is important to remember that becoming burned out is not an overnight process, so healing from burnout and learning how to prevent burnout in the future will also not be an overnight process.  Becoming healthy once more involves taking one day at a time and making moment by moment choices to prioritize daily self-care.



Press, 1980. Hopson, Jodi; Hopson, Emma; Dyar, Jeff T. EMT-P, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress, Upper Saddle, 2009 O’Donnell, Kelly, M********* Care, William Carey Library