August 1

What is a Burnout ?

Just because you decided to be your own boss and you are doing something you love, doesn’t mean Mr. Burn Out won’t hit you in the face one day or another !

despair-513529_960_720I should know… I’m a BurnOut expert! =) I’ve got years and years of burning out and recovering lol.

The reason is I naturally don’t really have limits when it comes to working hours and setting goals. It takes me very long to feel tiredness and by the time I say : “hey I think I’m exhausted now “, I realize I haven’t set a foot outside the house or done much for myself. And it’s too late. It’s bad, I KNOW! =)

Burnout Definition

Well, simply put, occupational burn out is psychological stress. When864e6cd90fe50ce304f91001425a479f_1470057960_cropped burnt (burned?) out you will feel exhausted and your enthusiasm or motivation will be the size of a pinhead. You will be less efficient at most tasks, even the most basic ones (because you’re tired and weary) and all this will gradually lead to a lot of frustration. Your nerves will most likely (I want to say inevitably) break.

I hear many people say “damn I am so burned out at the moment”, but I think there is a confusion between a real, psychological and health endangering burn out and a “I’m-fed-up-with-my job-at-the-moment-but-I’ll-keep-it-anyway” temporary state of mind. You know what I mean? Being burned out is really serious and can lead to depression, insomnia and more very unpleasant conditions.


Recognizing the Road to Burning Out

Being a burnout expert lol, I have read a lot about it… One thing I’ve learned and noticed is that the burn out process is commonly divided into 12 steps or phases. You will not always go through aaaall the below phases but you are bound to experience a few of them at least, “lol”


Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia 

1. The compulsion to prove oneself :

Often found at the beginning is excessive ambition. The desire to prove oneself in the workplace turns into compulsion.

2. Working harder :

Because they have to prove themselves to others or try to fit in an organization that does not suit them, people establish high personal expectations. In order to meet these expectations, they tend to focus solely on work while they take on more work than they otherwise would. It may happen that they become obsessed with doing everything themselves to show that they are irreplaceable.

3. Neglecting their needs :

Since they have to devote everything to work, they now have no time and energy for anything else. Friends and family, eating and sleeping start to be seen as unnecessary or unimportant, as they reduce the time and energy that can be spent on work.

4. Displacement of conflicts :

They become aware that what they are doing is not right, but they are unable to see the source of the problem. This may lead to a crisis in themselves and become threatening. The first physical symptoms appear.

5. Revision of values :

While falling into a state of denial of basic physical needs, perceptions and value systems change. Work consumes all energy, leaving none for friends and hobbies. The job is the new value system and people start to become emotionally blunt.

6. Denial of emerging problems :

People may become intolerant and dislike being social. They may be seen as aggressive and sarcastic. Problems may be blamed on time pressure and all the work that they have to do.

7. Withdrawal :

Minimal social contact turns into isolation. Alcohol or drugs may be used as a release from obsessive working “by the book”. These people often have feelings of being without hope or direction.

8. Obvious behavioral changes :

Coworkers, family, friends and others in their immediate social circles cannot overlook the behavioral changes in these people.

9. Depersonalization :

It is possible that they no longer see themselves or others as valuable. Their view of life narrows to only seeing the moment and life turns to a series of mechanical functions.

10. Inner emptiness :

They feel empty inside and may exaggerate activities such as overeating or sex to overcome these feelings.

11. Depression :

Burnout may include depression. In that case, the person is exhausted, hopeless, indifferent, and believes that life has no meaning.

12. Burnout syndrome :

They collapse physically and emotionally and need immediate medical attention. In extreme cases, suicidal ideation may occur, with it being viewed as an escape from their situation. Only a few people will actually commit suicide.

I am particularly familiar with the following phases : excessive ambition, working harder, neglecting my needs, revision of values, depression and well, the burnout syndrome.


Tips to Avoid Burning Out

1 – Know When to Stop, Take Breaks (real breaks)

What I do now is I set an alarm, because otherwise I know I will never stop working. I work one hour, the alarm rings, then take a 10-15 minutes break. During that break I will do some yoga, go for a walk or just sit there and do nothing! Anything that has nothing to do with work and is not on the computer (or any screen) will work


2 – Let Go of Unnecessary Tasks

You wouldn’t believe the amount of things we do every day, that are completely unnecessary lol. We can waste so much time doing basically nothing lol. And yet, we put much pressure on our shoulders doing this “unnecessary thing”, go figure! =)


3 – Pay Attention to What Your Body is Trying to Tell you

Do you feel like throwing up? Do you have a knot in your stomach? Do you feel uncomfortable, for no apparent reason? Is your heart beating unusually fast? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are your hands shaking?

Your body is your best friend, it will tell you if something is wrong ! Trust it.


4 – Be Kind to Yourself, live a healthy life

Eat. Eat healthy food. Drink water throughout the day. Exercice. Have fun. Laugh a lot! See friends and family. Do things that make you happy, as much as you can because working must not be the only thing you do. Working too much will not lead you to success faster. It will lead you to the hospital faster lol. Or at least it will turn you into something close to a zombie.


5 – Put Your Trust In Someone

You don’t want to be alone in this. Being on the verge of burning out or being already burnt out is really stressful and it does help to have someone you can talk to : a family member, a close friend, a significant other… a pet? Anyone, just make sure you’re not alone.


6 – Take it Easy

In the end nothing really matters, you know? 🙂 Take a deep breath and let go of everything


7 – Celebrate Small Successes

Don’t be either over confident nor over ambitious. Setting small goals will help you achieve small successes all the time and you will feel good at what you do. Don’t be too hard on yourself because it would be the best way to take the “burn out” slippery road


8 – Get a Cat =)

Their purring is so comforting and relaxing! Their playfulness will take your mind off things…

me and my cat

me and my cat

9 – Use essential oils

Esssential oils are very powerful and can diminish stress when properly used (antemis nobilis, laurus nobilis, citrus aurantium, origanum compactum, origanum majorana, citrus sinensis, artemisia dracunculus, lippia citriodora, citrus aurantium ssp aurantium).

Do not use essential oils if you have no experience with them at all, always consult a specialist. Essential oils are as strong as drugs, you don’t want to take the wrong one or take too much and end up intoxicated!


10 – Practice martial arts to relieve stress


11 – Play an instrument


12 – Grab a book and go out, find a nice tree or a cozy café and read


 13 – Learn to say “no” (mostly to yourself, but to others as well) =). Saying no feels damn good sometimes! 


Well, I hope this will help you guys! If you think you are burning out and don’t know who to talk to, remember I’m here =) #burnoutexpert lol



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7 Comments on "What is a Burnout ?"

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Hi Sarah first i would like to congratulate you on being a online Marketer, as we both know this is a very hard job to do. I agree with you about the being withdrawn, it is very easy when you start with your on line business to been withdrawn, i found i was at my laptop all day and no time for the enjoyable things of life, i agree with your tips i must use more of these to unwind when i am finished work.
I am only starting,and will bookmark this site for future reference.


Hello Sarah,

Loved the article I found it motivational, I hope one day do what you have done, by the time I work from home as a part-time but my goal to be a full-time worker from home.

Great to know what actually burnout means! I already have now at least 5 of burnout phases LOL!. I will try to overcome all of these issues, wish me luck :).

Thanks for sharing & keep up the motivational posts.

Cheers, Ehab


Great information for the everyday person who is working day in and day out. I think everyone can relate to this. I really like how you explain what an over worked body can endure. More people need this awareness because they just don’t know when to stop. This leads to health issues and this can lead to taking not needed medication. People need to know that their are other ways to make a living and if you are great at it, it can be rewarding. Thanks for this page..

My trouble is when I start a days work early morning I never stop until 7pm, a 12 hour daily sessions start to take effect by the time you’re getting towards the end of the week. Fortunately these days I have started to take weekends off due to working these daft hours and I am always ready for the break. You mention going for a walk and getting some exercise through the day and I have to agree with you, I know I’ll come back to my desk much fresher and be more productive. A friend of mine has a… Read more »

Burnout! I’ve been there too, so I found your post interresting (and amusing :-)). I love your tips for avoiding burnout; personally I’m into walks and meditation which keeps me level headed, although I also have a couple of cats, which are definitely not relaxing as they’re always fighting each other! Ant tips on how to say No to yourself? I always find that one a bit elusive..LoL

Jose Jaramillo

The “Burnout” is actually one I’ve been familiar with myself. I actually left two jobs because of excessive stress. I was ambitious, an over achiever this eventually led to what I think could be considered chronic. I was often tired exhausted and just felt like my life was crumbling.

Did I learn, never, I kept on doing it but I am getting better now. Meaning I’m setting limits and starting to take a breath and not overdoing it. No one is perfect and I will always catch myself again and again but as I said it’s gotten better.

I have experienced burnout before and it’s not very pleasant as it just really makes you feel vulnerable because you are in a state where you couldn’t care less about anything. You push yourself to the limit and end up being so tired and exhausted but I’m glad I stopped what I was doing and managed to recover from it. It took awhile to get over it and I realised that I needed to enjoy life a lot more than I had been, so getting plenty of rest and having fun certainly helped me. The tips you have mentioned here… Read more »