Noticing the signs of burnout and how to prevent it


Noticing the signs of burnout and how to prevent it

Heading back to uni after the summer and winter breaks can often come with a sense of happiness; having something to fill our time isn’t that bad! The optimism of a new semester and all of the promises you made yourself during the break to do the readings and put in the hours will fill you with a sense of purpose. And as week one morphs into week four and assessments are due, all of the optimism you carried in dissipates without a trace, leaving you feeling like a broken shell of the person only weeks prior.

This cycle is all too common for a large majority of not only university and tafe students, but also people in the general workforce. Whether you’re 18 and in your first year of study, 25 and working full time as a paramedic and playing sport, or 36 with two kids and a full-time job, everyone is performing an intricate juggling act. The new experiences of your first year at uni; partying, the social life and everything that comes with it is tough to balance, as is looking after children and working long hours with an important job.  Burnout can affect people at any stage of their life, and it doesn’t pick and choose between those exhibit signs of stress and those who don’t. That’s why it is so important to understand your body and recognise the signs of burnout before it’s too late.

What is burnout?

Burnout is essentially the result of chronic stress, with the critical factor often being our personal attitude towards our performance while studying or working. The Schoen clinic describe it as having a high need to meet one’s own high demands as well as for appreciation and recognition, while paying little or no attention to one’s personal psychological and physical limits[1].

Signs of burnout

There is such a huge range of signs that could point towards burnout, with over 130 of them currently known. However, burnout is something that does not simply happen overnight, as it builds over time and any number of signs can begin to occur regularly. Some of the most common signs of burnout include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of energy
  • Constant fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Reduced performance
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Reduced initiative and imagination

This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as potential signs go, meaning that it is incredibly important to stay in touch with your body and do your best to recognise what it is telling you.

How to prevent burnout

As simple as it sounds, making an effort to reduce stress will help in preventing burnout. At its core, burnout is a result of chronic stress and as such can be treated in similar ways. Physiotherapy offers a range of stress management techniques and treatments, including individually tailored exercise and stress management programs, muscle relaxation, massage and general fitness advice.

Burnout isn’t like a cold; it won’t just go away in a few days or weeks. It requires change in your personal routine and a commitment to improve your psychological and physical wellbeing. Give us a call at Lane Cove Physio to find out more about how our professional team can help you de-stress and move towards a positive lifestyle for both your body and brain.

[1] Schoen Clinic. (2020). Burnout: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnostics. Retrieved from Schoen Clinic: