How to identify the 12 stages of burnout before it gets out of control


Burnout is often associated with feelings of exhaustion and being overwhelmed. However, it is a more complex phenomenon than we might think. Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger and his colleagues have identified 12 stages of burnout, each with its own set of signs and symptoms. The first stage begins with excessive ambition, where one's enthusiasm towards work can turn into a compulsion to prove their worth to themselves and others. This can lead to working harder, neglecting one's needs, and displacing problems. 

Next, there is a revision of values, where work becomes the sole focus, and social life and self-care take a backseat. As one's values change, there is a denial of new problems, intolerance, and increasing cynicism. A withdrawal from relationships follows, impacting one's family and leading to feelings of depersonalization and inner emptiness. Ultimately, one goes through a state of depression and may experience a full burnout syndrome where medical attention may be necessary.

It's essential to see where we are in these stages to acknowledge our burnout and act before it becomes a more severe problem. It's important to note that these stages are not necessarily a linear process, and the time spent in each stage can vary.

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