A burnout is a physical and mental state of exhaustion caused by a long period, possibly many years, of excessive workload or stressful working conditions. High pressure, high demands, lack of balance between personal and professional life, and ongoing tensions at work can lead to symptoms of exhaustion. Similar problems can also arise in ongoing stressful situations that have nothing to do with work, such as prolonged family problems. The symptoms that arise are not only psychological, they can also be the result of biological processes; continual stress leads to disturbances in repair processes, hindering smooth recovery.
People with burnout feel exhausted, and may also suffer from other symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and hypersensitivity to stimuli, noise and crowds. Sufferers get the impression that they are dedicating all their efforts to work, while their performance deteriorates because they feel so tired; it seems to be impossible to make progress…
Even with all the scientific results, I nevertheless often hear that everybody suffers from exhaustion from time to time. And yes, I too have days when I seem to be getting nowhere…. “Individuals who say they are suffering from burnout are exaggerating.” Wake up! There is a clear difference between tiredness, exhaustion and burnout. Real burnout involves a combination of exhaustion, cynicism (‘what’s the point?’) and reduced professional capacity. On top of all this, there is clear evidence of SUFFERING. People with burnout need peace and quiet, but run around like headless chickens, worrying about why they can no longer rely on their brains to work properly. Besides SUFFERING, burnout really does cause a lot of problems. Sufferers drop the ball, losing as it were their core talents (actually, they lose contact with their core talents), and become very difficult to deal with. That is something completely different to a difficult week, or even a difficult month!
Remember: nobody enjoys having a burnout. A burnout causes SUFFERING to the individual, as well as to his or her immediate surroundings, family and household. So start taking it seriously, and offer a helping hand.
See you soon!