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Burnout is often discussed as a solely mental disease. There is a common misconception that stress and job satisfaction are the only sources of burnout. But this atomistic approach removes the facts of what it is to be human – every part of ourselves is interconnected. The mental weight of stress is certainly a major cause, but it isn’t the only aspect to be aware of. 

Body – The human body is incredibly capable at restoring itself – if you give it the right supplies. It’s commonly noted that issues with sleeping and eating go alongside with burnout. But whether these are causes or effects can differ depending on who you ask. Long hours at work, coupled with stress and anxiety, can have adverse effects on diet and rest. But the opposite can be true as well. Taking extra care of your diet and sleep habits isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it can help you deal with or prevent burnout by virtue of feeling physically better.

Mind – This is commonly believed to be the ‘core’ of modern burnout. Stress, poor work-life balance, and feelings of hopelessness or dissatisfaction all contribute to burnout. These are not simple to take care of, and most will say you should pursue mental health support if you are struggling. Every mind is different, and it’s important to take the time for introspection and self-examination.

Soul – Beyond your physical and mental health, it’s important to recognize that in many ways, burnout is often related to moral and ethical concerns. Many in the service industry, for instance, have burnout due to the ‘persona’ they put on for customers. Maintaining a different personality, or doing ‘emotional labor’ is something that puts a lot of stress on the mind and soul. It’s mentally taxing, but also feels morally questionable to many – is it a lie? Part of avoiding burnout on a spiritual level involves recognizing where your moral and ethical boundaries are, especially in relation to the work you perform.

Burnout goes beyond simple exhaustion, and in many ways we are still exploring the phenomenon. These are three ways of looking at burnout, but there are no doubt hundreds of ways that people are breaking down and tackling the phenomenon. Take a breath and ask yourself if you see these issues in yourself – you won’t be alone if you do.