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What are the stages of burnout?

Burnout happens along a spectrum, and typically develops gradually over time and progresses through several stages. This process can span years or decades, and once real burnout happens, it can take a long time to bounce back from it..


While the specific stages and symptoms may vary from person to person, here is a general outline of the stages of burnout:


Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase

  • This initial stage is characterized by enthusiasm, high motivation, and a strong sense of purpose.

  • You may feel energized and excited about your work or activities.

  • You may be willing to put in extra effort and sacrifice personal time or boundaries.



Stage 2: Onset of Stress

  • In this stage, you begin to experience excessive stress and pressure.

  • Workload and responsibilities may increase, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed.

  • You might start neglecting self-care and personal needs to keep up with demands.


Stage 3: Chronic Stress

  • Chronic stress becomes more prevalent, and you struggle to cope effectively.

  • You may experience physical and emotional exhaustion, feeling drained and depleted.

  • Sleep disturbances, fatigue, and reduced productivity may become noticeable.


Stage 4: Burnout

  • This is the advanced stage of burnout, characterized by a significant and persistent decline in physical and mental well-being.

  • You may feel detached, cynical, and emotionally distant from your work or activities.

  • Decreased motivation, increased negativity, and a sense of helplessness are common.


Stage 5: Habitual Burnout

  • In this stage, burnout becomes ingrained and habitual.

  • You may develop a sense of resignation and disengagement, feeling trapped and unable to make positive changes.

  • Physical symptoms may worsen, such as chronic headaches, digestive issues, or weakened immune system.


It's important to note that not everyone will experience every stage of burnout, and individuals may progress through the stages at different rates. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout early on can help you take proactive steps to address and prevent it. If you're experiencing burnout, it's recommended to seek support from an experienced professional, therapist, or counselor who can provide guidance and help you navigate through it.


If you wish to have a burnout-buddy to support you with burnout prevention or recovery - reach out and get in touch with me - today.

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