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Think you might be experiencing the effects of burnout? You’re not alone. Understanding what burnout looks like is the first step to preventing it, so let’s get started.

If you had said you were suffering from burnout in the 1970s, you might have raised some eyebrows. Nowadays, burnout is a known issue of the modern workforce, with many organizations grappling with almost 2/3 of their full-time employees experiencing burnout at some stage.

To read more about what exactly burnout is and what the typical causes are, read our blog here.

The Stages of Burnout

Burnout doesn’t just happen overnight; it often happens in stages and creeps up on you, which is why many people don’t necessarily realize they are at risk until it sets in.

Thrive Global describes the stages of burnout in six (very relatable) stages:

  1. Stage One: Excitement – Have a new job? A new task? A new goal? You’re excited and optimistic, which means an increase in energy, productivity, and output.
  2. Stage Two: Let’s Work Harder – You are becoming a little tired. However, you have associated certain behaviors with success, so you keep chugging along working long hours, through the weekends, and telling yourself, “it’s fine.”
  3. Stage Three: Frustration – You are fighting a losing battle, your concentration wavers, your productivity starts to slip, and you are feeling fatigued.
  4. Stage Four: Illness and Denial – Not just your mind, but your body is tired and wants to take a break, but you are still pushing through and pushing yourself past your limits.
  5. Stage Five: Lack of Drive and Apathy – That initial excitement? Gone. You are now withdrawn, may experience severe anxiety, and start to resent your work, your colleagues, and just everything in general.
  6. Stage Six: Burnout Has Me Now – You are completely exhausted in every facet of your life and may even be considering quitting. Everything just feels like it’s too much, and you can’t take it.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Feel like you might be experiencing some of the stages of burnout? Below are some questions the Mayo Clinic recommends asking yourself:

  1. Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  2. Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
  3. Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  4. Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  5. Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  6. Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  7. Have your sleep habits changed?
  8. Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?

If you feel as though the above information strikes a chord with you and it feels eerily relatable, I encourage you to take a step back and analyze the potential sources of your burnout.

Take time to rest and listen to what your body is telling you. Switch off on the weekends and realize that you are only one person, and while you can do anything, you can’t do everything.

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