How To Avoid Burnout In Life And The Workplace


You’ve probably heard the term “burnout,” some of you may have even had the misfortune of experiencing it. Until recently, however, the medical community considered the condition merely a melodramatic way of saying “I’m tired.” That all changed when the World Health Organization (WHO) granted “burnout” the legitimacy of a genuine affliction by adding it to its international classification of diseases. It was a symbolic step with serious consequences. As a result, for the first time, medical professionals can now can officially diagnose patients as suffering from “burnout.”

This is an important development because, for example, think of the enormous historical difference it made in the world of mental illness when doctors stopped thinking of serious depression as just another case of “melancholy” or simple matter of “feeling blue.” Labeling depression an official medical issue led to revolutionary pharmaceuticals and psychological techniques which have worked to save countless lives. Many today hope that the same sort of thing will happen for burn out.

Here is what you need to know about burnout and what you can do to prevent it.

What Is Burnout

Burnout is caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy. The feelings have specifically to do with one’s professional life.

The six main risk factors for work burnout are having an overwhelming workload, limited control, unrewarding work, unfair work, work that conflicts with values and a lack of community in the workplace.

Young people are particularly vulnerable to burnout as many of them are trying to adapt to complex and demanding real-world work environments.

Social comparison, for example, is known to play a major role in burnout. And who is more famous for social comparison than Millennials? Millennials see their peers online doing things they want to do and, for many, it causes anxiety which, in turn, leads to greater burnout.

How To Avoid Burnout

One of the best things you can do for your overall wellbeing is taking the proper steps to avoid burnout before it becomes a serious problem. Here are a few things you can do.

Take A Vacation

Taking a vacation is a classic way to temporarily relieve stresses that can lead to burn out. A few weeks of vacation a year (at least) are very important for your mental health. Trying to be a hero by foregoing an annual vacation is a bad idea, you should try and work in a place were reasonable yearly vacations are not only accepted, but encouraged.

Forget About Work-Life Balance

If you have a “why,” Nietzsche wrote, you can deal with almost any “how.” It’s important, in other words, to do something fulfilling. It’s far easier to get burned out on 40-hours per week in a role you hate than it is to spend 60-plus hours doing something you find purposeful. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to make major career changes so, if you don’t like what you’re doing NOW, don’t hesitate, start making changes immediately! Your older self will thank you.


Working out not only helps you keep in shape, it also relieves stress and gives you energy you need to navigate your day in a productive and enjoyable way.

Plan Your Free Time

If you don’t plan your free time you risk spending every weekend and vacation simply plopped on the couch. There is a time and place for leisure, but not ALL of your free time should be spent that way. You should look into hobbies, activities, volunteering, and the like as better ways to spend the days you’re not at work.

Know Your Limits

Don’t push yourself past your breaking point. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have will power and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t constantly try and GROW your limits. But you don’t have to go cold turkey, when you’re trying to get stronger, for example, you don’t suddenly hop on a squat-rack and try to lift 300lbs, you grow and get stronger gradually. The same is true about work.


Naps are for adults to! Breaking your day up with a 20 to 30 minute nap can be tremendously beneficial physically, psychologically, and productively.