If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
Burnout is a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterised by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability. Stress is one thing; burnout is a totally different state of mind. Under stress, you still struggle to cope with pressures. But once burnout takes hold, you’re out of gas and you’ve given up all hope of surmounting your obstacles. When you’re suffering from burnout, it’s more than just fatigue. Burnout may be accompanied by a variety of mental and physical health symptoms as well. If left unaddressed, burnout can make it difficult for an individual to function well in their daily life.