Burnout Has 5 Stages, Start Preventing Them Now

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We all have felt burned out. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and just done with everything. But did you know that there are different stages of burnout? And that each stage has its own set of symptoms and effects.

Today, we're going to look at the five stages of this and how you can prevent each of them. Trust us; your future self will thank you.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of overall tiredness caused by prolonged stress. It negatively affects how individuals approach their personal lives, relationships, and work.

Burnout can manifest itself differently for different people but generally includes such signs as fatigue, a depleted sense of accomplishment or fulfillment from work or life tasks, decreased creativity and efficiency in activities associated with work or life pursuits, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. If not adequately addressed, burnout can create even more serious mental health issues down the line, including an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

The Five Stages of Burnout

Therefore it is important to recognize signs of burnout early. Early recognition allows for the necessary steps to be implemented to help recover physically and emotionally.

1. The Honeymoon Phase

The first stage of burnout is when you feel excited and energized about your work or life task, but the enthusiasm gradually disappears. Traits include a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and increased irritability.

This phase will often manifest in a decrease in output at work. The decreased output will then lead to feelings of guilt and frustration as well as a continued decline in overall performance.

During this phase, it is important to prioritize rest, relaxation, and self-care. It is also essential to take time out of your routine to focus on activities that you enjoy or find meaningful.

2. The Onset of Exhaustion Phase

A rapid decline in energy coupled with an increased sense of tension and irritability marks this phase. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating and completing tasks, decreased performance quality, increased negative thinking, and feeling overwhelmed.

The exhaustion phase can be particularly dangerous because, without intervention, it can quickly lead to chronic fatigue and long-term health issues.

It is crucial to prioritize relaxation during this stage. Regular breaks from work or life tasks are essential to reduce stress levels and give your body a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Additionally, practice positive self-care habits such as eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

3. The Chronic Stress Phase

This phase is characterized by increased exhaustion combined with feelings of helplessness and despair. Signs include difficulty sleeping, increased negative thinking, irritability, and decreased confidence in one's ability to achieve goals.

At this stage, feeling overwhelmed and experiencing a lack of control over one's life is common. At this stage, it is time to seek help from friends, family, or a mental health professional to get back on track.

Aside from that, it is necessary to practice healthy coping mechanisms such as engaging in relaxing activities like yoga or meditation, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet.

4. The Burnout Syndrome Phase

This phase is the most serious burnout stage. A deep physical and mental exhaustion characterizes it, combined with hopelessness and depression.

Evidence of this stage includes difficulty sleeping, a decreased motivation to engage in activities that were once enjoyable, feeling disconnected from oneself, increased negative thinking, and an overall sense of being overwhelmed.

Seek professional help during this stage to help guide recovery.

It is also important to focus on self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, engaging in hobbies that bring joy, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. Taking regular breaks from work or life tasks and seeking support from friends and family is also essential to overcome burnout syndrome.

5. Habitual Burnout Phase

This final stage is characterized by ongoing physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion combined with hopelessness and despair. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation, decreased performance quality, and an overall feeling overwhelmed.

In this situation, you should take action to restore balance in your life. Restoring balance may include:

  • Seeking professional help.
  • Engaging in self-care activities.
  • Taking regular breaks from work or life tasks.

Causes of Burnout

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of burnout.

1. Chronic Stress

Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to burnout. Stress can come from a variety of sources, such as work, relationships, financial issues, and more. When stress becomes chronic, it can take a toll on the body and mind, leading to burnout.

2. Lack Of Control

Feeling like you have no control over your life or work can lead to burnout. When you feel like you have no say in what happens to you, it can be frustrating and stressful, leading to burnout.

3. Unclear Expectations

Having unclear expectations or goals can lead to burnout. If you don't know what is expected of you or what you should be working towards, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused, leading to burnout.

4. Lack Of Support

A lack of support from friends, family, or co-workers can lead to burnout. When you don't have people to lean on or share your concerns with, it can be difficult to cope with stress, leading to burnout.

5. Perfectionism

Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can lead to burnout. When you try to be perfect all the time, it can be stressful and exhausting, leading to burnout.

Preventing Burnout

It would be best if you practiced positive self-care habits such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly to restore balance in your life. Make sure to take time out of your routine to focus on activities that bring joy and meaning. Setting boundaries between your work and personal life is important for preventing burnout. Make sure to take time off when you need it, and don't bring work home with you. Finally, practice healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga or meditation, journaling, and talking to a friend.

1. Positive Self-Care Habits

Prioritizing self-care is crucial in preventing burnout. This includes getting sufficient sleep, which is essential for mental and physical recovery. A healthy diet fuels the body with necessary nutrients and energy, while regular exercise helps in stress reduction and improves overall health. These habits not only keep the body fit but also contribute to emotional and mental well-being.

2. Engaging in Joyful and Meaningful Activities

Taking time out from a busy schedule to engage in activities that bring joy and meaning can also aid in burnout prevention. This could be a hobby, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing a passion. Such activities provide a much-needed break from routine, rejuvenate the mind, and give a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

3. Setting Boundaries

If you're feeling like you're constantly working, set some boundaries. Let your family and friends know that you need some time to yourself, and make sure to stick to those boundaries.

4. Practicing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Adopting healthy coping mechanisms like yoga or meditation can be significantly beneficial. These practices aid in managing stress and promoting mental clarity. Journaling is another effective tool for self-reflection and emotional expression. Talking to a friend not only offers a supportive outlet for sharing feelings and challenges but also strengthens social connections, which are essential for emotional support.

How Adaptogens Can Help to Prevent Burnout?

Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help the body adapt to stress. Adaptogens can also help improve sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the amount of deep sleep you get.

Moment's relaxing adaptogen beverages can help reduce stress and anxiety and help calm the body and mind before bedtime.

No one should ever take burnout lightly. Taking the necessary steps earlier will help prevent progression to the more serious stages and help restore balance in one's life. The earlier it is addressed, the easier it will be to manage and recover.

Aisha is the founder and CEO of Moment. Despite having grown up in multiple different places, Aisha’s grew up with traditional South Asian values and practices. One of those included understanding natural ingredients so you can proactively consume them to support different aspects of mind-body health. These were wide ranging from Tulsi (Holy Basil) to Turmeric. As part of this, she developed an interest in and has been self-experimenting with other super-foods like Chloprophyll and Chaga to understand their impact. Being an area of interest, Aisha has continued experimenting with local superfoods during her travels and spoken to hundreds of experts on their benefits.

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