Burn out- What exactly is it?

Burnout, you may have heard the term going round at the moment. For some the term is relatively new and for others it’s a phrase that’s being thrown around a lot. Many people are experiencing symptoms of burnout and don’t even realise what they are experiencing. It can also be mistakenly identified as anxiety and depression however burnout is all about your relationship between work and home.

Originally burnout was named by an American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. It was used to describe the consequences of high stress jobs. However, burnout can effect anyone from students, homemakers, office workers, artists and so on. In 2019, WHO revised their definition of the Phenomenon. They describe burnout as a symptom of chronic stress from work that has not been mangaed.

Common signs of burnout

  • Feeling tired or drained all the time or having problems sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Having a lack of self-confidence
  • eating more or less than usual
  • avoiding things or people you are having problems with
  • Having racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating
  • Becoming irritable
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Burnout does not go away by its self however there are steps you can take to help. One big step that people forget is self care. Self care is super important as you can forget that you’re not a robot. You need time for you. It’s important to nourish yourself and set achievable goals.

A good start on the road to recovery is to identify what the main causes of stress are. Then figure out what you can do about it. This is to give your brain away to think about the solution. Another way to help is to leave work at work. Now this is easier said than done but the stress is what leads to the burnout. Start to prioritise a work-life balance so that you can recharge for the next day.

The road to recovery can take a while and it may not make a difference straight away however it will eventually start to help.


  • Burn out and how to avoid it Author: Liggy Webb
  • burnout prevention and treatment Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson
  • The official WHO website www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases

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