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Risk Of Burnout

19 reasons burnout isn’t about over-working

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Is burnout all about over-working?

Think about burnout, and I’m sure you’ll think about someone burning the candle at both ends of the day, working flat-out, cramming in a huge amount of activities into every day, and having very little downtime.

And you’d be right. That’s very often one of the main symptoms you’ll observe. And let’s face it, when someone is living life that way, the energy reserves are going to diminish fast and leave someone exhausted.

But having experienced burnout myself, supporting clients for a number of years, and receiving feedback from my book, I can say with certainty that overworking is a symptom rather than the cause.

Let me share with you just some of the factors I consider contributing factors.


What really causes burnout?

Everyone will have their own unique set of circumstances and contributing factors, so let me share with you the raft of common reasons that come up in my work. It’s not always about over-working, in fact, more often than not it’s something else completely.


About the workplace

#1 Never-ending pressure, high workload and expectations

#2 Expectation for long working hours

#3 Lack of clarity on responsibilities and objectives

#4 Relationship tensions or breakdown with a colleague

#5 Poor relationship with their boss

#6 Values mis-alignment between the organisation and themselves

#7 Being treated unfairly

#8 Lack of recognition

#9 Experiencing bullying, harassment or discrimination


About the individual

#10 Lack of boundaries around work

#11 Tendencies for perfectionism

#11 Procrastination and over-thinking certain issues

#12 Inability to switch off from work

#13 Low confidence and self-esteem / worth

#14 Absence of support structure

#15 Feeling misunderstood / invisible

#16 Insufficient focus on own wellbeing

#17 Life and work responsibilities exceeding bandwidth

#18 Experiencing imposter syndrome

#19 Struggling to say no


And I’m sure I’ve missed some. But you get the point. One or more items from this list can contribute to someone experiencing the symptoms and negative consequences of burnout. And that’s where the focus needs to be when it comes to making positive changes.



Getting under the skin

It’s always important to get to the core of what’s really driving the behaviours that end up taking you down the path to burnout. Be curious about yourself, ask yourself questions, and listen to the answers without judgement. Chat to a friend – someone who’s a brilliant listener and won’t try and tell you what to do. Ultimately you will have all the answers.

Of course, you can choose to work with a coach like myself who can help you get to those answers in a fully supportive and confidential way. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk to someone completely independent. And if you’re employed, then there’s often a case for your employer helping with the funding because there will be benefits for them too.



If this subject is resonating with you then you can:


And if you’re thinking about this subject for your team then why not download my “Employee Burnout Checklist” by clicking here, or book a call to have a chat about how I may be able to support you.


Burnout is lonely, but you don’t have to be

When burnout really takes hold you can feel lonely and unable to get others to appreciate how you are feeling and what you need to help yourself. If you are experiencing burnout, or feel you could be at risk of that, please don’t suffer in silence.