By: Sarah Hofstedt, CSUN Public Health Intern
What is burnout?
Burnout happens when people become emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted due to intense, prolonged stress. It is characterized by feeling resentful of one’s daily life, hopelessness or anger at lack of progress, and being perpetually tired, and people who experience chronic stress are more likely to be in a state of burnout.
What’s the difference between burnout and stress?
Stress can be helpful by providing a boost of energy under pressure; too much for too long takes a toll, though, resulting in burnout. Stress goes hand-in-hand with having a lot of investment in responsibilities, but burnout causes a loss of motivation to maintain one’s responsibilities. Emotions are turbulent and reactive when we’re stressed, but become numbed when we reach burnout.
How can I prevent it?
Burnout is not something people experience after a day of stress. It is a result of consistent, intense stress over a long period of time. Mindfulness and meditation are proven to reduce stress, as well as exercise and getting enough sleep. Easier said than done, but investing time in stress reduction can help prevent the onset of burnout. Perhaps Mindfulness Monday and Walkability Wednesday would be worth a visit.
How do I know if I’m at risk of burnout?
HelpGuide.org has a list of ways burnout may be affecting us:
Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel like you’re getting close to burnout or are already experiencing it, reach out for help. CSUN offers counseling through the University Counseling Center, and the Klotz Student Health Center allows students to make an appointment with a dedicated wellness coach for free. Stress is manageable and burnout is preventable, and no one is alone in their efforts to be healthy.