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So you went to the college of your choice and then went on to bag your dream job. You love your job so much that you give it your all. In due course of time you get sick of the job you once loved and are basically exhausted and have neither the time nor the inclination to do anything else. Sounds familiar? If you can relate to this, then you my friend, are heading down the lane to burnout-ville.

So what exactly is a burnout? Well it is “essentially a very gradual process by virtue of which a person in response to prolonged stress and strain (physical, mental and emotional), feels lack of interest in work and meaningful relationships due to a constant feeling of exhaustion”.
Being in a state of Burnout can result in lowered productivity, cynicism, confusion and is always accompanied by a feeling of being completely drained and exhausted. However since getting burned out is a fairly gradual process, it can be tackled if identified in the early stages.

The four stages of Burnout are:

1. PHSYICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION: This is the first stage and is characterized by juggling an unmanageable schedule followed by guilt. You love your job and you pride yourself on the high quality of your performance. All of a sudden, you feel a sudden loss of desire to perform and you start looking for shortcuts and quick fixes for getting the job done. What you once enjoyed has now merely turned into a checklist of to-do things. This eventually starts to nibble away bits and pieces of your self-esteem, gives rise to feelings of guilt and you get emotionally burdened. Due to this you feel stressed and your body secretes cortisol and therefore you feel physically, mentally and emotionally drained all the time!

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2. SHAME AND DOUBT: Feeling stressed and drained all the time results in lowered productivity. This in turn leads you to start doubting your abilities and what was once a source of pride to you is now a source of shame since you are unable to do something you did so easily in the near past. (MAJOR SELF-ESTEEM BLOW).

3. CYNICISM AND CALLOUSNESS: In response to one’s prolonged feelings of shame and self-doubt, a person tends to become obnoxious and very cynical towards everyone else. This leads to alienation and thereby when you need someone to listen to your troubles and burdens, you will have no one to talk to. This is a self-defeating strategy and in the long-run can become burdensome and lead to the next stage of burnout.

4. FAILURE, HELPLESSNESS AND CRISIS: In this situation one’s position is more like “damned if I do, damned if I don’t”.

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Due to always being in a state of heightened stress and strain one is unable to perform as per expectations and is ridiculed for one’s shoddy performance. Here the person tends to feel miserable and like a failure all the time and is unable to help oneself to overcome this stressful situation. Here it is of utmost importance to seek out professional help.

A burnout is the fastest to overcome of all emotional and psychological issues and therefore one shouldn’t hesitate to seek help.

So these were the 4 stages of burnout. Please do identify which stage you fall in and help yourself accordingly. The next post will deal with tackling a burnout and keeping it at bay.

You can connect with me on twitter here: thepsychogrok

A big shoutout to stressdoc for providing me with vital insights for this post.

Thanks for reading and if you liked this post i encourage you to stay tuned for this saturday’s post!! Byeeee…



  1. Love how very detailed you write. I think I’m going through this now and am trying to overcome. Burnout or an early manifestation of mid-life crisis, still ruminating.

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