Stress or Burnout?


Feeling exhausted, depleted and disengaged from work for a while now, Is it job stress? Or is it burnout?


The terms ‘stress’ and ‘burnout’ are at times used interchangeably, they exist on the same spectrum, but there are real key contrasts.


Stress that is temporary or attached to a particular event is a normal part of life that we all experience from during our lives.


We feel stress when our mental, physical or emotional reserves are pushed past our comfort level. It’s significant to note that stress can be negative, like trying to please a demanding boss or pushing to meet a deadline; Or positive, like physical exercise or throwing a party.


Each of these drive us out of the comfort zone, but the event seems temporary and may actually help us grow and achieve a desired goal.


Burnout, however, is a reaction to protracted, disproportionate stress that leaves you mentally and physically exhausted, cynical, detached and less effective as a result.


Left unresolved, burnout can give way to mental health illnesses like clinical depression.


When you are dealing with burnout, you may feel hopeless about your situation. You have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


The all-embracing feeling is lack of energy, motivation and purpose, and feeling like it won’t change.


Another way to look at Stress can be characterised by over-engagement, or doing too much, whereas burnout often leads to disengagement or not doing enough and feeling emotionally blunted.


In 2019, the World Health Organization classified job burn