You can get a burn-out after you have been under a lot of stress. If you suffer from stress for too long and your body cannot recover from stress, you can develop a burn-out. Your ‘reserves’ are then depleted and your body and mind are exhausted.

What are the symptoms of burn-out?

In a burn-out, you have been suffering from these three things for six months:

1) You have 3 or more symptoms of tension such as:

  • difficulty in keeping your attention (concentration) and/or remembering things (memory);
  • restless sleep
  • being irritable (quickly angry or irritated)
  • Not being able to stand crowds or noise
  • crying easily
  • brooding
  • a hunted feeling

2) You have the feeling that you can no longer cope with the many problems in your life. You feel powerless, as if you no longer have a grip on your situation. As if you lose control over your life.

3) You can no longer manage to continue your normal daily activities. For example at work, study, at home, in your contacts or in traffic.

Other complaints?

Someone with a burn-out can sometimes also develop physical symptoms as a reaction to it, such as

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • palpitations
  • stomach problems or abdominal pain

Preventing a burn-out

To prevent burn-out it is important to monitor your own limits in your busy life. Do not always ask too much of yourself, but build in moments of rest and make sure you get enough exercise. Try to recognize the signs of stress in yourself and take them seriously.

Admit that you have a problem.

Sometimes it is very difficult to admit to yourself that you have a problem. If your colleagues or friends can handle the workload, surely you can too? That’s a wrong thought. Everyone has a different energy level, talents, weaknesses and character traits. Because of this, a certain situation can be sustained well for one person, while another will suffer.

Talk about it.

It helps to confide in friends or colleagues by sharing with them that you think you have a burn-out. Talking lifts the spirits! And perhaps you will find that you are not the only one with whom it is all too much at times. Thinking out loud, you discover earlier how bad your symptoms are.

Who knows, a friend or colleague might be able to help you think of solutions. Discuss together what causes your overtiredness. How could you approach certain things differently? Experiences and tips of loved ones give insight and can help you in your recovery.

How does a burn-out happen?

You get burn-out because you have had too much tension (stress) for a long time. You did not succeed in dealing with that tension.

Tension is part of life. A little tension is often pleasant and makes us alert. But you can start to feel uncomfortable when there is too much tension and it lasts too long, for example:

  • you want too much at once
  • too much has been asked of you for a long time: for example, your workload is too high
  • your circumstances are difficult: for example, you have money debts or relationship problems
  • you experience too little support from your environment

These situations create additional tension. If you don`t succeed in changing the situation, or to deal with the tension in a different way? Then you become overworked. You lose the overview and lose grip on the situation. You can no longer manage to continue doing normal things, for example at work, study, at home, or in traffic. Do you suffer from this for a long time? Then you can eventually get a burn-out.

What things can cause extra tension?

Sometimes a person can become burn-out because of one intense event. Often there are several things that together give too much tension, for example:

  • events
  • obligations
  • problems

Both serious and fun events can cause extra tension, for example

  • the serious illness of a loved one
  • a move
  • a new job
  • getting married
  • having a child

Sometimes too much happens in a short time. It takes effort and time to process the events and adapt to the changes. If you are not able to do this well, you can become overworked.

Course or therapy

If you notice that you continue to overburden yourself, a treatment by a psychologist is very instructive. Together with a psychologist you trace the causes of stress and learn how to deal with it differently. If you find it difficult to set your own limits, for example with your boss, partner or in the family, it is advisable to work on your assertiveness.

Recovering from burn-out

Try to continue your daily activities as much as possible, or to pick them up again quickly. Staying active is the best way to recover.

The recovery from burn-out proceeds in 3 phases:

Phase 1. Understanding and accepting

Only when you understand and accept that you have burnout can you relax.

See which activities you can continue to do. And which activities you can better stop temporarily. It may be that you can (partially) continue working or studying. But sometimes a short period of rest may be necessary, in which you do not work or study at all.

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Phase 2. List the problems and think of solutions

Think about the problems that cause you extra tension. How do you deal with this tension? Then think of solutions for these problems. Think about how you can deal with these problems differently in the future.

Phase 3. Implementing solutions

In the third phase you are going to carry out the solutions you have thought of. You try to solve problems. And to deal with tensions in a different way.

You can pick up more and more activities. You regain control over your life.