The Five Stages of Burnout
- THE HONEYMOON:
You’re under some stress at work, but you feel in balance and things are in control. If there’s a bad week, you can rest up, do something fun on the weekend, and feel revitalized by Monday.
- FUEL SHORTAGE:
You’re starting to rebound less quickly and there are small signs of that. You’re sleeping a little more than usual, or a little less, drinking alcohol a little more, eating a little more or less. Some small change occurs in your usual pattern that shows your body is struggling to cope with prolonged stress.
- CHRONIC SYMPTOMS:
You’re at the stage where you’re saying, “Something is happening to me.” You start to feel more isolated. Before, you would easily admit that you’ve had a stressful day or week, but now you start to deny being burned out. You may seem to be turning into the office cynic.
You want to escape from your family, your work, your house, maybe even your life. You start to fantasize about quitting your job and moving to the country, leaving your family or killing yourself.
- HITTING THE WALL:
Nervous breakdowns. Heart attacks. Suicide.
Most people hover between stages two and three, though you can move through several stages in a single day.