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Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long - Michael Gungor

So what does ‘burnout’ actually mean?

Essentially it is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
The American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term ‘burnout’ in the 1970’s. He used it to describe the consequences of severe and high ideals in ‘helping’ professions. Burnout, however, can affect anyone, from stressed-out careerists and celebrities to overworked employees and homemakers.

These are practical steps that we can all follow to minimise the risk of burnout and here are five key suggestions:

1. Raise awareness of your own relationship with stress by understanding your triggers and responses.
2. Understand stress and the physiological effect it has on your mental and physical health.
3. Make a commitment to self-care and establish healthy boundaries and habits.
4. Balance your lifestyle and improve your own mental and physical well-being through diet, exercise and rest.
5. Create moments of sanctuary throughout your day to ensure that you replenish your energy levels so that you are a ‘human being’ rather than a ‘human doing’!


In a world where there seems to be so much more pressure and demand than ever before it is so important to raise awareness around potential risks of burnout. This is indeed the foundation for any supportive and healthy working environment, which engages and enables people to thrive.

If you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralised and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.

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