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Burnout Definition and Meaning

Updated: Apr 11, 2023




In today's fast-paced world, many of us experience burnout due to the overwhelming workload, prolonged stress, and a lack of work-life balance. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress. It can affect anyone, from students to employees, and even entrepreneurs.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently included burnout as an occupational phenomenon in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This move acknowledges the impact of burnout on an individual's overall health and well-being.


Burnout has three dimensions, which are feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, and reduced professional efficacy.

  1. You may experience the first dimension of burnout, which is characterized by feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion. You may feel fatigued, lack motivation, and have low energy levels, which may make even basic tasks, such as getting out of bed or going to work, difficult to complete.

  2. The second dimension of burnout involves increased mental distance from your job, and you may feel negativity, cynicism, and detachment from your work. You may feel disillusioned, question your purpose, and doubt your ability to make a difference. You may also experience distance and disconnection in your personal relationships.

  3. The third dimension of burnout is characterized by reduced professional efficacy, and you may find it hard to perform well at work, concentrate, and make more mistakes than usual. You may lose confidence in your ability to effectively perform your job duties.

It's essential to understand that burnout can be caused by prolonged stress in various areas of life, including personal relationships, childcare duties, or financial worries. Therefore, it's crucial to identify the symptoms of burnout early on and take steps to manage and prevent it from worsening.


If you'd like to learn more about how stress might be affecting you and what you can do to prevent it from getting worse and take control of your life, I offer free discovery sessions for people who qualify. If that iterests you and you'd like to get clarity on what you should be doing to manage stress, apply here to see if you qualify.

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