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What is Burnout really?

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

The WHO defines Burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and

  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

This is the official definition; however, I need to stress that I see it differently. It is being said that this is a “phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to …other areas of life”. But isn’t this difficult? Burnout occurs because of chronic stress. It is a severe stress disorder and classified as such by most doctors. When I went to the doctor, he told me I have a severe stress disorder and marked it as such on my sick note. Me not understanding what that exactly means he told me that people refer to this stress disorder also as burnout. Which at least, I had a better understanding of to some degree. I know I am telling you nothing new when I say: stress is the root cause of all evil and many illnesses in our current age and time. However, it also shows us that stress can occur in all areas of our life. Just look at the current health crisis. Burnout can occur at home. Juggling work, housework, home-schooling, and partnership is tough on your nervous system. It can become too much for the individual to cope with.

I think everybody who went through a divorce or is living in a very unhealthy partnership would agree that this sort of stress alone can be sufficient to lead to burnout and thus into bad performance at work and other life areas. Also, if your workplace is your major stress source leading to burnout, we should not disregard other life areas, as those can be just as much a contributing factor. I feel like burnout is a vicious cycle. Your stress at work can lead to stress at home which can lead to feelings of being maybe a bad parent or a bad partner which obviously adds more stress on you. The more stress you experience (from your thoughts or people) the worse your overall situation gets and the more feelings of unworthiness, fear, helplessness, or inability to cope arise.

Let’s have a look what burnout is holistically

  • Spiritually: Burnout is the suppression of your true self. You don’t live in line with who you truly are, and your soul yearns to finally break free from your cage and follow your bliss.

  • Energetically: Your energy system is depleted and unable to restore the energy you need to keep going. Therefore, you need time off in order to slowly but surely restore your energy system and create balance by doing things that support your energy system overall.

  • Physically: Your nutrient and vitamin depot are depleted. Your body takes the last bit of energy it can find to cope with the stress. Your heart rate is constantly elevated, and your nervous system is under constant stress which can lead to the death of brain cells and cardiovascular illnesses.

  • Emotionally and mentally: You go numb emotionally, as you lack the energy for feelings and emotions. Your mind becomes clouded and unable to think as much as it is strenuous on your system. It is literally like you freeze. OR like a car that run out of petrol and because you kept on driving nevertheless, the engine is now broken so you can’t even fix the car by adding petrol but you need to get the engine fixed before.

Act upon the first signs

Should you feel overstressed and struggle to unwind take it as the first stage of burnout and act on it. Find help. Look for ways that have a healthy relaxing impact on your system like yoga, walking in nature, taking time off if possible. This is the band aid so to speak.

In a next step it would be advisable to have a look at the root cause for your stresses. Your so-called stressor. Identifying this can help you enormously to fight burnout from the start and making the life changes needed to stay healthy on all levels.

As Life Coach and Energy Healer I specialise in Burnout Prevention and I am more than happy to support you or provide you with further guidance or help if needed. It is important to create burnout awareness and help people who are suffering from stress. So please feel free to get in touch.

With love,


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