Are you wondering why some people get burned out while others don’t? What is the difference between stress and burnout? And, what can you do to manage stress and avoid burnout?
Without a doubt, we are living in a time of significant stress and burnout and we need practical and self-loving ways to address this for ourselves, our family, friends and colleagues.
While stress and burnout are often confused, they are different. Identifying the differences is the first step in addressing the unhealthy thoughts and behaviours in our lives. Stress is a normal adaptive reaction to adversity, while burnout is a result of uncontrolled or excessive stress.
In both cases, the person suffering from the symptoms will be unable to function normally, however, the signs of burnout will include anxiety, mood swings, lack of concentration and brain fog.
According to the American Psychological Association, heightened work-related stress is a significant contributor to burnout among U.S. workers. In a recent survey of 1,501 U.S. adults, researchers found that 79% had experienced some form of work-related stress in the month prior to the survey. More than half of these employees had felt the negative effects of work-related stress, including a lack of motivation, interest, or effort in their jobs. Among those who experienced work-related stress, 36% reported feeling tired, fatigued, or emotionally worn out, while 44% reported feeling physically exhausted.
In many cases, prolonged stress will lead to exhaustion and a diminished sense of satisfaction. Other early signs of burnout can include procrastination, taking out frustrations on others, and skipping work. The signs of burnout can be subtle, but it’s time to address them if you’re starting to experience these symptoms.
Burnout can occur for several reasons, but a poor work-life balance is possibly the most common and easiest to address.
Finding creative outlets is one of the most important aspects of self-care, as is making time to investigate, explore and engage in things we enjoy. While work may seem like a grind and leave us feeling exhausted, having a hobby, sport, or other activity to unwind and spend time with family and friends can help us avoid the pitfalls of burnout.
Identifying triggers for stress and preventing them is a helpful way to reduce the chance of returning to a burnout track. Try writing down the exact time and place when you experience a stressful event or activity. Review your notes regularly to avoid repeating the same behaviours, relationships, or situations. If you are experiencing chronic stress, it’s time to reassess your priorities and prioritise the things that matter.