burn-out and what leads to it

it’s always busy around this period of the year. fully packed agenda, numerous tasks to finish, lots of traffic, many presents to be bought, people to meet and greet.
i have particularly lot’s of things to do before and during this Christmas -so will be from now on every year and it’s not that i’m complaining!- this is why the question of burn-out preoccupies me in a special way.

in the search for understanding what’s happening with overloaded people and how to prevent burn-out, i got to read Anselm Grün on burnout prevention. the benedictine states that most of the times he observes five motives that lead to burn-out.

but before reviewing the five, let me make it clear for everyone: stress and burn-out are not the same. being very busy and tired from being overcharged, having a lot of things on your schedule and not coping to finish what has to be done does not mean that you have a burnout. learn to distinguish stress, tiredness (and maybe the inability to organize yourself better) from burn-out !


  1. perfectionism – most people try to do their best, but there are people who are not satisfied with themselves and they try to achieve 150%. be careful now, even 100% can’t be achieved – only maybe in heaven. why aiming higher, when the must-need thing is to do your job properly? you will put plus wight on your shoulders. if you try to put the standards higher than needed, you are the only one to blame for not being able to complete what you have planned. burn-out can strike when you try to do more than imaginable.
  2. being outward – people try to satisfy others, try to live up to others expectations and behave in a way others would like to see them. it’s not you living anymore, but the one others expect from you to be lives on your behalf. you need to answer expectations, but you don’t need to fulfill every each of the expectations.
  3. building wrong image of yourself – perfectionism is an inner process, being outward has to do with the surroundings. when the two of them are both present you get a mixed up stream of consciousness. you don’t work enough on your identity and for this reason you get to be changed in someone you don’t know anymore. it’s good to sit back from time to time and make it clear who you are and who you became. revert every time to the authentic self.
  4.  tiredness – this is simple. it’s biology. we all reach a point where we need to stop. don’t put too much strain on yourself. take some proper rest. have you ever heard of power naps? now you did. apply them.
  5. disappointment – this theme is very wide. it can be that you don’t get enough positive feed-back or you simply don’t take time to reflect on your activity. reflection gives you the opportunity to think through experiences, both good and bad. you have to admit yourself from time to time that you had failures, but you need to see also your successes. reflect not to be deflected.


instead of burning out, watch for these five causes and head forward like a fast car with a burnout.