More and more people – regardless of their profession – are familiar with the feeling of being burnt out. The pandemic affects the psyche immensely. All mental illnesses have increased significantly since then. Even before Corona, four to five percent of adults in Germany suffer from burnout, and the trend is rising. Now many more people are threatened with burnout, because the pandemic highlights problems that were already there. New Corona rules, homeschooling and fear of not knowing what will happen with Corona cause permanent stress. So the current situation feeds the mental illness. But what exactly is behind burnout and how can I tell if I have burnout??
What is burnout?
"To burn out" means "burn out" in English and describes a state of permanent emotional exhaustion and chronic overload. There is no clear medical diagnosis for burnout; the symptoms of burnout manifest themselves differently in each person. However, both the causes and the symptoms often overlap with depression.
Causes for Burnout
The triggers for burnout, i.e. permanent stress and chronic exhaustion, can be divided into two categories: situational causes, such as stress at the workplace, and personal factors, such as the individual's perception of stress. While for some affected people even a short period of stress at work triggers burnout, others can compensate for years of stress without feeling burnt out. During a pandemic, burnout usually occurs as a consequence of constant tension and mental exhaustion.
Burnout: The risk group
People with a low self-esteem are considered a burnout risk group, as are highly committed, performance-oriented characters who place high demands on themselves and others. Perfectionists are affected more quickly. These people often find it difficult to take care of themselves: "First work, then pleasure." This is more likely to lead to burnout. Feel such "High Performer then still prered by unfulfillable targets, prere to succeed or a poor working atmosphere, persistent frustration spreads. If one's own goals cannot be achieved despite all efforts, the feeling of being exhausted and simply not being able to do more finally sets in. More and more working mothers suffer from burnout, but in principle it can affect anyone. Even non-professionals are increasingly suffering from burnout.
Burnout signs: How chronic exhaustion manifests itself?
The psychological and physical signs of burnout vary from person to person. Often it is not the symptoms, but the causes (such as prere to perform at work) that determine whether a person is diagnosed with burnout. However, persistent exhaustion does not necessarily mean a burnout syndrome. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism, for example, also often feel listless, listless and burned out. Many therefore ask themselves: How do I recognize if I have burnout??
Typical Burnout Signs: At the beginning, those affected try to overplay their excessive demands. For example, they throw themselves feverishly into work, sitting in the office until late at night every day – and often do not even notice their problems. However, this over-commitment gives way after a short time to complete resignation. Performance decreases and emotional exhaustion and excessive demands increase. Which burnout symptoms you should therefore always keep in mind:
Burnout symptoms and first signs
Burnout: Sick leave and diagnosis
Like other mental illnesses, burnout cannot be clearly diagnosed. The first point of contact is the family doctor, who in most cases will ie a sick note because of burnout, so that those affected can first be relieved. In most cases, you will then be referred to a specialist who will take both physical and psychological aspects into account when making a diagnosis. In order to rule out physical causes, however, a blood test should always be carried out first. The values clearly show whether, for example, a tumor, a thyroid disease or an infection could be the trigger for the symptoms.
These burnout tests exist
If you want to know if you are at risk for burnout, you can use our burnout test to find out if you should take further steps:
Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI): With the help of the self-test, the individual burnout risk can be determined on the basis of 22 questions. The questionnaire revolves around, among other things, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, performance satisfaction and frustration at work. Those who take the test have to answer questions like "I feel emotionally exhausted by my work"." with "yes or "no answer.
Tedium Measure (Burnout Measure): The burnout test comprises 21 questions. They assess statements such as "Do you feel depressed??" or "Do you feel hopeless??" On a scale of 1 ("never applies") to 7 ("always applies"). At the end of the test, the personal "weariness value" is determined calculated: The higher it is, the greater the risk of burnout.
Burnout – what to do?
Whoever suffers from burnout, or is at risk of burnout, should immediately begin to free themselves from the hamster wheel. In burnout syndrome, it is crucial for sufferers to change their thinking and behavior patterns step by step. That is:
check their own expectations (and possibly lower them)
Strengthen the social network and return to a healthy life.
Is the job (partly) responsible for the burnout Change work situation. This does not necessarily mean that you should quit your job. Even small changes, such as a home office day per week, can provide relief.
Burnout: Treatment and therapy
Chronic exhaustion manifests itself with different symptoms from patient to patient. The therapy approach should be correspondingly individual. If those affected can no longer help themselves, or if the burnout symptoms are so severe, then psychotherapy can be helpful. There you learn how to build up self-confidence, how to express your own feelings better and how to cope constructively with stress and conflicts. In particularly severe cases, medications such as antidepressants can also support the burnout therapy. Depending on the causes of the burnout syndrome, different focuses or a combination of different approaches are useful. Guide patients to self-help. Years of "training to discard or change behavioral patterns.
Depth psychological behavioral therapy supports those affected in building up a stable self-confidence.
Group therapy Enables burnout patients to exchange ideas with other sufferers. Open discussions and sharing of experiences help participants to look positively into the future.
Body and movement therapyMany of those affected have forgotten how to interpret their body's signals. Body therapy helps you to better perceive your own needs and to release physical and psychological tension.
If you or someone you know suffers from burnout, it is important to seek advice and help in good time. Inform yourself or talk directly to a doctor or physician. Talking to your family about burnout can also be helpful.