Part One: What is Burnout?
Burnout is defined as, the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion. We combust all day! We burn our morning, midday, and evening oil to achieve, manage, and survive our day and if we aren’t careful we can burnout, just like a car running out of gas.
The term burnout was coined by Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970’s. Herbert used the terms to describe symptoms experienced by individuals in high stress helping fields. This term however has come to stretch far beyond the helping professions and into our everyday lives. Just yesterday someone in a booth next to mine said “I am so burnt out on coffee.” Burnout has become quite common in everyday speech meaning; I’m over it, enough, finished, can’t go on, get it out of my sight. But burnout is no laughing matter and can have some serious consequences for the person in its grip.
More specifically, burnout in mental health is defined as physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Although burnout syndrome is not considered a mental health disorder on its own, collectively the symptoms can cause significant struggle and have heavy overlap with depression. Some countries consider symptoms of burnout legitimate justification for missing work but diagnostic recognition is a slippery slope.
Burnout is different for everyone, just like other stressor, people react differently to different situations based on personal experience, stress management skills, and other factors.
Overall for this series we will define burnout as; over utilization of personal resources without replenishment.
Check out part two Monday, Jan 23rd, when we investigate:
“What are the signs of burnout?”
This blog was started as a fun way to get information out about various topics in the wide world of stress management. If you have any suggestions for posts, please feel free to comment below or send an e-mail. Sit back relax and enjoy.