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11 Key Risk Factors That Lead to Burnout... And Proactive Strategies to Prevent It

January 08, 20245 min read

“Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.”

― Sam Keen

Introduction:

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Understanding the risk factors that lead to burnout is crucial in preventing it and maintaining overall well-being.

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With that said, here are 11 key risk factors that lead to burnout an how to overcome them! 👊

Six External Risk Factors:

1. Excessive Workload

One of the most common causes of burnout is an excessive workload. When employees are consistently given more tasks than they can handle, or when their jobs require them to be constantly available and working, it can quickly lead to feelings of overwhelm and eventually burnout [1].

2. Lack of Control

A lack of control over one's work schedule, tasks, or environment can contribute significantly to burnout. Employees who feel they have little or no control over their work or their workplace often feel helpless, leading to increased stress and burnout [2].

3. Insufficient Rewards

Insufficient rewards for hard work — whether financial, institutional, or social — can also lead to burnout. When workers feel undervalued and underappreciated, they may question the worth of their work, leading to dissatisfaction and burnout [3].

4. Lack of Community

A lack of support and a sense of community in the workplace is another significant factor. Humans are social creatures, and when we feel isolated or unsupported in our work, it can lead to increased levels of stress and burnout [4].

5. Mismatched Values

When personal values and job tasks are mismatched, it can lead to a sense of discomfort and eventually burnout. If an individual does not align with the company's values or if the job does not fulfill their personal goals, it can lead to a lack of motivation and engagement [5].

6. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Finally, a lack of work-life balance is a significant contributor to burnout. When work consistently spills over into personal time, it can lead to an imbalance that causes stress and, eventually, burnout [6].

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. Though often tied to work, it can also occur in other areas of life.

Top five fears that can drive us to behaviors leading to burnout:

1. Fear of Scarcity

The fear of scarcity, or the belief that there's never enough, can lead to excessive workloads and constant stress, driving individuals towards burnout [7].

2. Fear of Setting Boundaries

People who fear setting boundaries often find themselves overcommitted and struggling to manage their time effectively. The inability to say no can lead to an overwhelming workload and insufficient time for rest and recovery, contributing to burnout [8].

3. Fear of Rejection (Job Loss)

The fear of rejection or job loss can drive people to overwork themselves in an attempt to prove their worth or secure their position. This constant state of high stress and anxiety can eventually lead to burnout [9].

4. Fear of Not Being Worthy

Individuals who struggle with feelings of unworthiness may push themselves harder to prove their value. This can lead to perfectionism, overachievement, and ultimately, burnout [10].

5. Perfectionism

As previously mentioned, perfectionism is a significant driver of burnout. Individuals who identify as perfectionists often set unattainable standards for themselves, leading to continuous stress and potential burnout [11].

Understanding both external and internal fears and behaviors can help individuals recognize potential signs of burnout early and take steps to mitigate them. Implementing strategies like setting healthy boundaries, managing stress, and addressing fears can significantly reduce the risk of burnout


Serene Success: The Key to Preventing Burnout

Have you ever wanted to excel in your career but find yourself constantly burnt out? If so, you aren’t alone. I've been there myself, working late nights and early mornings, pushing through fatigue and stress, only to find myself emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. The problem with excelling in your career is the risk of falling into the trap of burnout. Makes sense, right?

Burnout is often the result of an excessive workload, lack of control in the workplace, insufficient rewards, absence of community, mismatched values, and a lack of work-life balance. These factors, compounded with internal fears such as the fear of scarcity, setting boundaries, rejection or job loss, not being worthy, and perfectionism, exacerbate the situation.

Luckily, I’ve discovered the solution to this problem. To excel in your career without falling into the trap of burnout, you need to:

● Recognize early signs and risk factors of burnout

● Set boundaries and maintain a healthy work-life balance

● Address internal fears and manage stress effectively

Recognizing early signs of burnout like constant fatigue, decreased performance, and feelings of frustration can help you take immediate action. Setting boundaries between your work and personal life is crucial to maintain a healthy balance. Dealing with internal fears such as fear of rejection or fear of not being worthy and managing stress effectively can significantly mitigate the risk of burnout.

Now obviously, that’s easier said than done, right? You can’t normally just identify these signs and manage stress without undergoing tons of work and effort. That’s why I’ve created "Serene Success," a comprehensive program designed to make this process easier.

If you’d like, let’s hop on a quick phone call together to see if Serene Success is right for you. Just book a time to chat that works for you:

https://www.serenesuccess.net/call

book a call

During that call, we’ll look at how you could benefit from implementing these strategies and what your best next steps would be if you decide to pursue this strategy.

Spots are limited, and there’s zero obligation to work with me, but if we do end up being a fit I’ll invite you to become a client of mine. Look forward to speaking with you!

Best,

Hannah


Footnotes

  1. Harvard Business Review

  2. American Psychological Association

  3. Psychology Today

  4. Journal of Applied Psychology

  5. Journal of Organizational Behavior

  6. Harvard Business Review

  7. Psychology Today

  8. Harvard Business Review

  9. Forbes

  10. Psychology Today[

  11. Psychology Today

F

Hannah

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