It seems like the past few years have resulted in a lot of societal fatigue and stress. Many people
have complained about feeling depleted or “burnout.” While many people might feel burnout,
what exactly is it? And is there a way to prevent it? Burnout goes beyond normal feelings of
being tired or stressed. Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it is not the same as
too much stress. Most of the time, stress involves too much of one thing or the other. Stress is the
result of excessive pressures or demands, both physically or mentally. When people are under
stress, they can envision alleviation at some point in the future. On the other hand, burnout
means feeling empty, mentally exhausted, drained of motivation, and beyond caring. People
experiencing burnout often do not see any hope of positive change in the situation. There are a
number of factors that contribute to burnout but some of the most common include: taking on too
much work, lack of supports, absence of self-care, lack of control, feelings of resentment, and
prolonged stress with absence of relief.
Symptoms of Burnout
Burnout impacts people physically, emotionally and socially. Some of the early signs of burnout include: exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed frequently, feelings of being not appreciated or undervalued, more bad days than good days, and a loss of motivation. Burnout shares symptoms with some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Physical signs of burnout
Feeling drained most of the time
Change in appetite
Emotional signs of burnout
Sense of personal failure
Loss of motivation
Decreased sense of accomplishment
Social signs of burnout
Poor work performance
Use of unhealthy coping skills
How To Prevent Burnout
The best way to prevent burnout is early recognition and action. One of the biggest overarching factors that can lead to burnout is neglecting personal needs. Sometimes people will be in a place of self-denial about how they are feeling, so their need will be pushed aside or ignored. It might be helpful to take a few minutes at the end of the day to reflect over what is needed or what needs to be changed. This is a great exercise to help realign goals and expectations. It is also helpful to think about what is going well and what there is gratitude for. This is beneficial in helping remember what you value and shift perspectives. Self-care is vital and an important aspect of preventing burnout. As much as possible, include daily enjoyable “timeouts” to fuel the tank and take a break. Asking for help, getting support from others, and setting boundaries may also be a good way to take some things off the agenda and ease workload and resentment. Burnout is something that can sometimes sneak up! Make sure to check in with feelings and emotions and take time for self-care. Seeing a therapist to talk through what is happening may also be a great intervention to help with burnout. At Mountain Vista Psychology, we are happy to provide you with the support you need.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!