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All Flames Eventually Burnout: How to Identify and Cope with Burnout

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

Can we talk about burnout?

2021 may have sprinted past you if you have been bogged down by work, deadlines, reports, meetings and more deadlines. If your energy and even level of productivity is starting to wane, if you’re dissatisfied with a job that you feel is absolutely perfect for you, if you wake every morning with that “I’m already exhausted!” or “Not again!”, then you might be dealing with BURNOUT.

What is burnout?

Burnout noun

  1. a term coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger to describe the severe stress condition to leads to severe physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.

  2. a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.

Because we live in a world that values work and productivity, burnout is often summed up as stress and exhaustion one feels from their jobs. However, it’s so much bigger than that. Burnout can also appear in other areas of life, such as parenting, caretaking or relationships. After going through a whole global pandemic, lockdowns and their own adverse effects, it’s only logical that most of us are burnt out from being at the edge, from witnessing so much loss and grief for a long period of time.

What burnout looks like:


The zeal and excitement that you had for certain activities disappears. Even activities that are part of your work or home life that you originally enjoyed start to feel like chores. Furthermore, it’s hard to start and complete even the simplest tasks that you are perfectly capable of acing.


Your body and mind are tired but you are unable to get a full night’s rest. You either keep waking up at night or are unable to fall asleep. Your sleep is disturbed because your mind is always buzzing, the wheels are always turning to figure out how to handle all the tasks that are on your plate. Even when you do get to sleep for 8 hours or more, you do not feel fully rested.

Escapist thoughts.

Your mind is never in the present. You often find yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to be on holiday or to stay in bed all day or to be left alone. Everything, anything else seems more interesting and more appealing than what is before you. You also tend to procrastinate because you hope for some form of escape from your tasks.

Chronic exhaustion or fatigue.

Chronic fatigue occurs when both the mind and the body are drained of all energy by constant rushing and over-scheduling. The long excessive hours of work heighten stress levels, compounded by increasing emotional turmoil and self-doubt.


Burnout makes it hard to mentally or even physically show up either at work, to meet ups with friends or family, at home or even for yourself. You may physically show up but mentally you find yourself tuned out. For those that do not show up physically, there is a tendency to prefer self-isolation. Social interaction is more difficult because you have no mental room to process what is happening in your present environment. It might also be difficult because your burnout has caused you to become more irritable with other people.

Anger or frustration.

People are constantly getting on your nerves. Irritability originally stems from feeling worthless, unproductive and a growing perception that you’re not able to do things as productively as you wish to or once did. This can interfere with the relationships in your life and destroy your relationships.

Physical illness

Headaches and muscle pain, pain in your back or shoulders. The list is endless. High amounts of stress can affect your immune system and deplete your energy making you more prone to illness.

Driving forces of burnout

  • Perfectionism

  • Rigidity and stubbornness.

  • Fixation with details

  • Reluctance to delegate

  • Excessive work and obsessive productivity

  • Weak boundaries

  • Codependency

How to cope with burnout

Pay attention to your body

Have you lost your appetite? Are you more short-tempered and irritable around people? Are you sleeping well? Our bodies speak to us. We just need to be more in the habit of listening to the messages they are sending. By listening to our bodies more often, we can learn to take pause, tune out and rest when we need to. Burnout is a condition that can pop up at different stages and times in our lives and so doing this often will help relieve the strain before it becomes severe.

Acknowledge your fatigue