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Professional Exhaustion and Burn Out

burnout, professional burnoutProfessional burnout can happen to anyone, whether you are a highly paid business executive or a stay at home mother. Like a disease, it may begin on a small scale, first attacking your personal morale, then over time it spreads, takes over, and destroys both your career and your personal life.


Professional exhaustion occurs at the climax of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion brought on by stress, typically from a job. However, anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout.


Burnout is not caused solely by stressful work or too many responsibilities. Other factors also contribute to burnout, including your lifestyle and certain personality traits. What you do in your downtime and how you look at the world can play a significant role in causing burnout.






  • Characterized by overengagement
  • Characterized by disengagement
  • Emotions are overreactive
  • Emotions are blunted
  • Produces urgency and hyperactivity
  • Produces helplessness and hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
  • Leads to anxiety disorders
  • Leads to detachment and depression
  • Primary damage is physical
  • Primary damage is emotional
  • May kill you prematurely
  • May make life seem not worth living




Causes of burnout


Work-related causes of burnout

  • Feeling like you have little or no control over your work.
  • Lack of recognition or rewards for good work.
  • Unclear or overly demanding job expectations.
  • Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging.
  • Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment.

Lifestyle causes of burnout

  • Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing.
  • Being expected to be too many things to too many people.
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others.
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships.

Personality traits can contribute to burnout

  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough.
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world.
  • The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others.
  • High-achieving, ‘Type A’ personality.



Warning signs and symptoms of burnout


Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early