Causes and Effects of Burnout
Reviewed by our psychologist : Nine Gramberg
Work stress is a very common cause of burnout. This is because you’re lacking that state of balance between relaxation and exertion. Additionally, certain personality traits make you more prone to mental exhaustion. We’re talking perfectionism and people who have trouble setting boundaries. If you’re experiencing mental exhaustion, then you’re already on the road to ‘burnout’ – a condition that has both physical and mental repercussions, as far as your health is concerned.
What Are the Causes of Burnout?
Burnout can have a wide range of causes. Stress (particularly work stress) is considered to be the main cause. This stress can be caused by things such as:
- Not setting boundaries
- A tendency to over-plan
- Social insecurity
- Lack of assertiveness
- Uncertainty about the future
- Working too much
- Prolonged tension (at work)
- Illness (within the family)
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Prolonged periods of stress at work lead to burnout. It’s normal to get stressed at work every now and then, but if it’s happening over an extended period of time, this will lead to a range of serious psychological and physical symptoms. Typical scenarios that cause work stress include: unclear expectations in your job role, your work environment, pressure you place on yourself, a larger workload than you can manage, and a feeling that you’re not being treated fairly.
You’re also at greater risk of getting stressed at work, and ultimately developing burnout, if you’re taking part in (extremely) demanding activities, experiencing a lack of social appreciation, or if you have a poor work/life balance.
What Are the Effects of Burnout?
Burnout affects both your physical and mental health:
- Trouble sleeping
When you’re burned out, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping because you’ll spend a lot of time worrying. This lack of sleep increases your level of physical fatigue, which means you get stuck in a downward spiral.
Mental overload means you’ll find it harder to remember things. Since your mind is full of work-related information, you won’t have space for anything new. This ends up being a new source of stress and frustration.
- Reduced immunity
Physical overload has a negative effect on your immune system. Burnout also affects your appetite, which has a detrimental impact on your health.
- Problems with attention and concentration
You might find that you’re having trouble concentrating and paying attention. This will cause problems at work, at home and in your social life.
- Physical exhaustion
Stress makes you feel more physically tired. You’ll find you don’t have the energy to take on new tasks or carry out all the things you used to do before.
- Symptoms of anxiety
You’ll get anxious about situations that wouldn’t usually make you feel anxious. This will make it harder for you take part in social or work-related activities. If these symptoms of anxiety are persistent and intense, it might be a sign that you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder.
You’ll start to experience insecurity, both about yourself and about your work. This will cause you to withdraw and you’ll feel even less confident as a result.
- Lack of social interaction
As you start to withdraw, you’ll end up interacting with other people less and less. Burnout makes you feel lonely and dejected.
If you’re experiencing burnout, your physician or a psychologist can help you with this. Get in touch and talk about what you’re going through. This is the first step towards treating your burnout. Together, we’ll look at what you can do to better manage the situation.
Do you identify with some of the causes and effects of burnout? Do you have further questions? Give us a call on +3120 214 3928 and we’d be happy to discuss it with you personally.