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Burned Out or Just Frustrated? Unpacking the 3 Types of Burnout

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Burnout. A term we hear increasingly often but struggle to fully understand until we're deep in the midst of it. It's more than just stress or fatigue; it's a chronic state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can severely impact your productivity, health, and overall well-being. The insidious part? Burnout doesn’t always scream; sometimes it whispers, nudging subtly until you find yourself wondering why you feel so depleted. Burnout can manifest in three different ways: overload, under-challenge, and neglect. Each of these types requires a different approach for recovery, which is where personalized strategies like coaching can make a big difference. If you're feeling burned out and interested in learning about what type you might be experiencing, take our quiz here.

Spotting the Signs of Burnout

Before diving into the types, let’s first identify the signs that you're on the path to burnout. Often, the symptoms can be subtle at first but become more pronounced as time goes on. Here are some indicators:

  1. Physical Exhaustion: You're always tired, no matter how much sleep you get.

  2. Emotional Drain: Feelings of detachment, cynicism, or overwhelming negativity.

  3. Reduced Performance: Struggling to concentrate, lapses in productivity, and making more errors than usual.

  4. Irritability: Small annoyances set you off, and you find it hard to maintain composure.

  5. Neglecting Self-Care: Skipping meals, not exercising, or abandoning hobbies.

Recognizing these signs is the first step toward managing burnout. Once you're aware, you can work on treating it, ideally with tailored solutions that meet your specific needs.

The Three Types of Burnout

Overload Burnout

This is what most people think of when they hear "burnout." It's the result of just too much: too much work, too much stress, too much pressure. You're trying to achieve an unrealistic ideal, often set by yourself or societal standards, and it's draining you.

What to Do: Prioritize and delegate tasks. Work smarter, not harder. Learn to say no when you have to. Coaching can be extremely useful here in helping you set boundaries and priorities.

Under-Challenge Burnout

Contrary to overload, under-challenge burnout occurs when you're not being stimulated enough at work or in other areas of your life. The monotony and lack of excitement lead to disengagement and eventually, burnout.

What to Do: Seek challenges that align with your skills and interests. Talk to your employer about taking on different responsibilities or consider a career change. A coach can help you identify your passions and make a strategic plan.

Neglect Burnout

This type arises from a feeling of not having control over your outcomes, leading to helplessness. It often stems from a toxic work environment or a sense of inequity.

What to Do: Make an effort to control what you can. Consider talking to HR, or make a change in your work environment. Coaching can guide you through this by helping you find your agency and self-efficacy.

If you're feeling burned out and interested in learning about what type you might be experiencing, take our quiz here.

Finding a Way Out Through Coaching

Coaching is a potential game-changer in your recovery from burnout. It offers a personalized approach tailored to your specific type of burnout, helping you regain balance in your life.

Here’s how coaching can make a difference:

  1. Accountability: A coach will help you set realistic goals and keep you accountable.

  2. Perspective: Sometimes you’re too close to the problem to see the solution. A coach offers an outsider’s viewpoint with your best interest at heart.

  3. Skill Development: Whether it's time management for overload burnout or interpersonal skills for neglect burnout, a coach can equip you with the tools you need.

  4. Emotional Support: Having someone to talk to can be a relief. Emotional support and understanding can make the journey to recovery smoother.

In summary, burnout is more than just a trendy term—it's a debilitating condition that affects many aspects of your life. Recognizing the signs and understanding its different types are the first steps toward recovery. And whether you're dealing with overload, under-challenge, or neglect, a coaching approach could be the personalized solution you need to not just bounce back, but to thrive.

So if you're nodding your head while reading this, thinking, "Damn, that sounds like me," take the next step. Consider reaching out for professional guidance. Because when it comes to burnout, you don't have to go it alone.

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