High achievers including professionals, workaholics, students, athletes often set mammoth tasks to achieve their goals. High achievers are generally task oriented and on a quest to succeed to be their best. They strive to complete many tasks throughout the day, where most people would be unsure of how to start or finish this long daily list of to do’s. They often spread themselves thin while trying to multitask. They can be very hard on themselves endlessly pushing and driving themselves to succeed.

Burnout is a term often not discussed in public, usually due to fear that those judging the race or outcome, may disqualify them from the event. Burnout is a dirty word to the high achiever, who may be unwilling to admit or be unable to understand the impact of burnout or identify if they are at risk of burnout.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a term used when your body, mind and soul slows down, and is often caused by overworking and high levels of prolonged stress. People suffering from burnout may experience physical or mental collapse and fatigue. Common signs and symptoms of burnout include:

  • you no longer have the energy to complete tasks
  • you feel run down and drained of physical or emotional energy
  • you hear yourself saying ‘I don’t have the time’
  • you lose interest in your goals
  • you feel frequently tired and fatigued
  • you feel overwhelmed
  • your stress levels have increased
  • you are easily irritated by small problems
  • you isolate yourself from your friends and family
  • you feel that you have no one to talk to
  • you feel under an immense about of pressure to succeed
  • you no longer believe you can juggle all the demands expected of you
  • you feel that you are achieving less than you should be
  • you find it hard to unwind and having difficulty sleeping
  • you work or train long hours
  • you take work home

If you can relate to the above situations and symptoms or you have experienced many of them frequently, you may be experiencing burnout. Burnout can increase your risk of serious physical and mental illness and increase the risk of disengagement from your workplace and family. This can be particularly so if you are feeling unsupported by your employer, manager, trainer or family.

Who is Impacted by Burnout?

Burnout can impact anyone and it is very common, affecting around 27% of the Australia population. Burnout is a global issue and its incidence is high in all countries. In fact, burnout statistics are optimistic as many people feel ashamed to seek support in this area. The incidence of burnout is particularly high in students, athletes, teachers, counsellors, mental health workers, health workers, emergency and correctional officers, shift workers, and many other professions. People in helping professions tend to be at greater risk of burnout, and this can lead to compassion fatigue or vice versa.

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