What is Burnout? Part 1

Burnout has been described as the biggest occupational hazard of the twenty-first century,” writes Paula Davis-Laack.

Merriam-Webster defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” Burnout could be related specifically to work, or the combination of work and personal life stressors.

The term was first coined in the field of psychology in the 70’s, in relation specifically to helping professions. Today, this word has been expanded to include other careers. Depression and burnout are often confused and look similar; however, burnout typically tends to be associated with work.

Burnout can impact those that work in mainstream jobs, ministry jobs and helping professions. None of us are immune.

As I was reviewing Psychology Today articles online, I found the work of Paula Davis-Laack. On her website, Paula shares her own story of working as a lawyer and experiencing burnout herself. She works now to provide education and training to professionals related to burnout and stress. In one article online, she describes 9 different warning signs of burnout for us to be mindful of.

In our next blog, we will continue our discussion with a few ways to do a self-assessment, and recognize our own proactive choices to help decrease risk of full burnout.

Written by: Kim DeRamus Lareau

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