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3 Types of Burnout and How to Deal with Them

It’s natural for our energy levels to fluctuate from day to day or even throughout the same day, but full-fledged burnout can compromise your happiness and take a toll on your career growth. There are at least 3 distinct types of burnout. What they have in common is the potential to leave you feeling drained and hopeless if you allow them to build up over time.


This may be you if you typically push yourself to exhaustion. We live in a culture that awards pushing ourselves to the max; which makes it difficult for us to slow down. There have been times when I have been overloaded to the point where I had an attitude about everything! You may also be prone to complaining about office policies and practices that seem to hold you back or you may even rebel a little and slow down your productivity.

  • Set reasonable goals. Be realistic about your capacity and schedule. Spend time mapping out the time and resources it will take to complete a project before you commit. Get comfortable saying “no”. You physically can’t accomplish EVERYTHING. There just aren't enough hours and energy in a day. This has been a struggle for me because I don’t like disappointing people (and I like to think I’m Superwoman sometimes!)

  • Focus on solutions. Even if your conclusions are valid, chronic complaining may darken your mood and drive people away. Propose positive and constructive alternatives when faced with a challenging situation.

  • Review your accomplishments. Make a list of your victories and their importance. When you’re really feeling the effects of being overloaded, take some time to review it and allow yourself to feel proud of what you’ve done. Most times this can give you just the motivation you need to push through.

  • Make time for your personal life. Excessive hours at the office could be a sign that you’re trying to compensate for shortcomings in other aspects of your life. Don’t forget to take care of you by giving attention to your health, social life, and spiritual life. If you aren’t in optimal overall health, how can you put your best foot forward in anything else you do?

  • Take a break. Sometimes overload can turn into being overwhelmed. If you experience a moment where your mind is racing, you’re getting upset, and are losing focus; take 5 minutes to go somewhere quiet or what some may call, your closet. This can even be the bathroom at work. I have had many a closet in the different places where I worked! Take deep breaths and focus your mind on your breathing and the solitude instead of the stress.


Maybe you feel like you’re coasting at work or even through life in general. Studies show that engaging in our boredom for prolonged periods can lead to anxiety, depression, declining interpersonal skills, and overall poor performance.

  • Find a challenge to tackle. At work, ask your supervisor for a challenging task or assignment. For your personal life, spend some time becoming an expert in your favorite hobby. In either case, pick something that will give you a chance to acquire new knowledge and learn additional skills.

  • Socialize. You can find stimulation and purpose even if you’re in a season of a very routine life. Just concentrate on what you can do to help others and being more attentive to your friends and colleagues.

Being Worn Out

This defines being worn out mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. If you have worthy goals but are struggling to achieve them, this could describe you. Ask yourself if your motivation sinks when you encounter barriers and stress.

  • Plan ahead. Take the long view when you’re starting a project. There’s plenty of planning tools online to help you organize all aspects of planning a project. Picture the typical obstacles that you’ll likely meet along the way and be prepared to address them. Figure out who you can contact for expert advice or where you can locate additional financing.

  • Find what relaxation techniques work for you. Stress is an inevitable part of life. Rely on methods that dissolve tension for you. When I’m stressed or worried about the fact that I feel unmotivated, I resort to finding or creating a quiet environment where I can pray or read. If I’m too wound up, I’ll watch a movie or call a friend that makes me laugh or brings me joy.

  • Actively motivate yourself. Give yourself periodic reminders of why your work and personal progress is important to you. You may discover multiple sources of gratification, including supporting those you love, volunteering, or simply getting things done on your to-do list that you’ve been putting off.

Before you throw in the towel, figure out your personal style of burnout and overcome it. Taking constructive action will make your life much less stressful and much more satisfying.

Push through the burnout! It'll be worth it in the end.

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