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  • Dr Bejoi Mathew

Identifying the Signs of Burnout in a fast-paced world

Eminem, 9-time Grammy award winner, in hospital over addiction to sleeping pills.

Nico Rosberg, 23, retires at the peak of his career after winning the 2016 F1 world championship. How could a competitive sportsman at the peak of his powers suddenly go cold turkey?

World number one, Ashleigh Barty, rattled the tennis world with her retirement at the ripe age of 25.

Just like rain falls on rich and poor impartially, every single one of us is prone to succumbing to burnout.

Burnout has been defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can have serious consequences on our health and productivity. It was first described by Freudenberger, who himself walked down that dreaded road unknowingly in 1974 while working double shifts.

Maslach and Susan E. Jackson took additional steps, and developed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), which was approved by the World Health Organization, and later added to the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

It is fascinating, and noteworthy that in countries such as Sweden, individuals experiencing burnout are entitled to receive paid sick leave and other sickness benefits. Similarly, in Finland, they have access to 10-day rehabilitation programs that incorporate counseling, physical exercise, and nutrition education. This emphasizes the importance for other countries to take note and adopt similar approaches. It is common for individuals to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, particularly in today's fast-paced world where there are constant demands and expectations. It can be easy to push ourselves too far and not realize when we have reached our limits, potentially leading us to question not only our current circumstances but also how we got there.

Let's now dive into some of the symptoms of burnout, and how to spot them.

What are the symptoms that are ignored?

Physical Exhaustion:

A lack of energy is a common symptom of burnout. Constant fatigue, inability to fall asleep, and an overall sense of physical weakness or exhaustion are all symptoms of this condition. If you still feel this way after a good night's sleep, it may be an indication of burnout.

Emotional Exhaustion:

Emotional weariness is another symptom of burnout. This might appear as a lack of energy, irritability, and an inability to find pleasure in activities that used to bring you delight. A hallmark of burnout is experiencing feelings of anxiety or emotional overload on a regular basis.

Decreased Productivity:

Burnout hinders concentration and productivity. Even if you work overtime, feeling behind on your job can be distressing.

Cynicism and Detachment:

Cynicism and a lack of empathy are other symptoms of burnout. It's possible that you're just going through the motions of life, and not engaging with the world or the people in it. If you're feeling this way, it may be time to slow down and give yourself some much-needed self-care.

Health Problems:

Physical health can be adversely affected by burnout. You could start to feel ill, with things like headaches and stomach aches. You should take a step back and investigate the source of any decline in your physical well-being that you may have observed.

Increased Negativity:

Depression and a loss of hope are further side effects of burnout. You may find yourself complaining more, or feeling as though nothing is going right. Some signs of burnout include an increase in negative attitudes.

Door for hope?

Here are some tips to aid you bounce back:

Be bold - Sharing your struggles and asking for help displays strength, not weakness. Admitting burnout is the first and most important step to recovery.

Be detailed when addressing your burnout symptoms. Avoid blaming others and utilizing "I" statements to express your feelings.

Reach out - Make sure to remember that you can get over burnout with encouragement from those around you. If you're having a hard time getting through it, talk to someone, whether it's a friend, family member, or mental health professional.

Identify - It is crucial that you learn to identify the symptoms of burnout. Physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms, such as fatigue, lack of motivation, irritability, and impaired concentration may be present.

Give - Take a trip, schedule self-care, or just relax. Take time to think about what's causing burnout and how to prevent it. Journaling, talking to a trusted friend or therapist, or thinking about self-care may help.

Finally, be forgiving when addressing burnout. Healing requires time and errors. Accept your shortcomings and applaud your improvement.

Hit reset - By hitting the reset button and adopting new habits and perspectives, you can overcome burnout and lead a more balanced and fulfilling life. This can include trying something new, re-evaluating priorities, and changing your environment.

Teach - Burnout education and motivation can assist build a resilient, healthy, and supportive culture. Remember that small acts may have a big impact and that working together can enhance our lives and others.

My desire for you is not for you to experience burnout, but rather for you to shine BRIGHT like the Phoenix, that burns only to be reborn and rise again.


My intention with this article is not to trigger and evoke memories of you losing control, but instead to offer hope that we are not alone on this journey called life. If you are feeling low, reach out to your parents, friends, spouse, or children to just be held, and ask for support.

My only prayer for this blog is to not only be helpful but also empower every reader to thrive, rather than being the rigid, lifeless, inanimate object that you perceive this article to be.

Additionally, it's important to remember that amidst this rat race that we all participate in, it's time for us to hit the 'PAUSE' button, take notice of how far we’ve come, and place our right hand on our chest while repeating the phrase "ALL IZZ WELL!"


1. Schaufeli WB, Buunk BP. Burn-out: an overview of 25 years of research theorizing. In: Marc Schabracq J, Jacques Winnubst AM, Cooper CL, editrs. (Hrsg.): The Handbook of Work and Health Psychology. 2. Auflage. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester. (2003). p. 382–425. doi: 10.1002/0470013400.ch19

5. Brandstätter V, Job V, Schulze B. Motivational incongruence and well-being at the workplace: person-job fit, job burnout, and physical symptoms. Front Psychol. 2016; 7:1153. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01153

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