October 2, 2022

Stress and Burnout

by Petra Brunnbauer

Stress has become mainstream

How burnout creeps in

You've experienced distress before. But you've been experiencing this sense of tiredness and lack of motivation for a while now. Is this burnout or ongoing stress?

It can be possibly both. To treat it effectively, it would be a good idea to comprehend the similarities and distinctions between being stressed and being burned out.

I recently had a conversation with Jessica Bowser on the podcast. As a Stress and Burnout Coach, she excels at what she does. She was a high achiever in college and was constantly under tension. At the time, she used exercise and fitness to support her mental health. This personal experience is what brought about her desire to work as a personal trainer and to assist others in coping with stress and burnout.

Jessica discussed the differences between stress and burnout and offered some practical coping skills.

Even though it might seem difficult to start, you can take steps to regain control and lessen stress at work and home. Your general health is at risk if you experience significant pressure daily. The distinctions between work and home life are definitely growing blurry, especially with working from home. 

“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.”
                                 - Michael Gungor

Many people now work longer hours at the office and still care for their family around that. Additionally, social surroundings and ways of social contact have changed for many in recent years.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a term for a physically and emotionally worn-out state. It may occur if you are constantly stressed out at work or if you have worked in an emotionally or physically demanding position for an extended period of time. But don’t think burnout is solely confined to work. You can experience burnout at home, caring for your family as well.


One of the signs of burnout is a constant sense of exhaustion. It could be a feeling of helplessness, loneliness, or defeat. Procrastination and a sense of isolation from the outside world are also symptoms of burnout.

The negative effects of Burnout

Burnout can cause many physical problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, extreme fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and respiratory issues. It’s definitely not something you want to put off addressing.

The mental symptoms of burnout can include loneliness, reduced sense of personal accomplishment, and spiritual and emotional tiredness. Additionally, burnout is known to cause distress signs like physical and mental exhaustion as well as depressive symptoms.

Burnout can cause you to feel many negative emotions, like resentment, guilt, worry, and physical fatigue. Again, don’t think of this as only happening at work because it can happen to you for any prolonged, stressful situation. The first thing you will probably notice is constant exhaustion, which should be a hint that something bigger is going on.

What Is Stress?

A person's physical and emotional reaction to daily life's problems is called stress. Work, financial situations, disease, and relationships are typical sources of stress. Significant happenings like natural disasters and the recent pandemic can also worsen stress and anxiety.

Experiencing Stress

Stress arises in response to circumstances that feel threatening or bring abrupt change. It is important to note here that you will feel distressed when these situations surpass your resources and capability to cope with them. That’s why sometimes there is positive stress that motivates you or pushes you to a higher achievement. But when you feel overwhelmed and feel like you do not have the resources to cope, then stress can have a negative effect.

And stress may be connected to happy occasions such as marriage, a baby's birth, and many more happy events that take place in your life. Although considered happy, you may feel stressed or anxious. And stress is certainly related to challenging experiences, such as unemployment, debt, divorce, or losing a loved one.

The negative effects of Stress

The effects of stress are felt both physically and emotionally. Stress can increase your blood pressure, increase the risk of heart disease, cause diarrhea, migraines, stomach ulcers, back pain, and migraines. It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, and addictions. Stress increases cortisol levels as well.

There are many psychological effects of stress, including bitterness, aggression, an inability to sleep, exhaustion, fatigue, and memory or attention problems. Among other things, chronic stress can lead to melancholy, anxiety, or burnout. Effective stress management helps with your overall wellbeing and life satisfaction.

Stress and Burnout Coaching

A Stress and Burnout Coach, often helping with work-related stress, can assist you in avoiding burnout and stress, managing it, and recovering from it.

Coaches help clients develop clarity about their circumstance and reality. They help the client explore and unravel underlying attitudes and ideas that might prevent them from taking action. It also involves engaging in discussions to explore options that fit your unique situation and personality.

Journaling to Manage Stress

A coach can also offer many tools for managing ongoing stress. One of the things Jessica suggested is to work with the Wheel of Life. This wheel considers the eight prominent areas of life, which can include family and friends, romance, health, personal growth, fun, work, finances, etc. You then rank how satisfied you are in each area of your life on the wheel. This gives both you and your coach insight into what is happening in your life and what should be addressed first.

Journaling is another great tool for managing stress. Journaling can help clarify your thoughts and feelings, which in turn can help learn more about yourself. It's also a valuable tool for problem-solving and finding solutions because writing down an issue frequently makes it easier to brainstorm about it.

The Takeaway

Truthfully, when we feel stressed, it may not come as a surprise. Feeling overwhelmed by life events or under pressure at work triggers a natural whole-body reaction that impacts how we think, feel, and act. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways and contexts and I bet most of us have dealt with stress or burnout in our personal and professional lives.

Healthy Lifestyle to Help with Stress

Modern living involves stress, which can be a typical response to change.

And if the past few years have taught us anything, there is much more change to come. To help become more resilient to stress and shore up your resources, consider maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And give a Stress and Burnout Coach a try.

We can always try to soldier on alone and face whatever is thrown our way. But building up physical and emotional resources and having a strong support network can be half the battle. A coach can help you make sense of the challenges, suggest additional tactics, and offer extensive research, healing, and clarity to manage stress.

You will be better prepared for and have more resources available to deal with the “new normal” we are all struggling to adjust to.


Kim, H., Ji, J., & Kao, D. (2011, July 1). Burnout and physical health among social workers: A three-year longitudinal study. Social Work, 56(3), 258–268. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/56.3.258

Mäkikangas, A., Feldt, T., Kinnunen, U., & Tolvanen, A. (2012, January). Do low burnout and high work engagement always go hand in hand? Investigation of the energy and identification dimensions in longitudinal data. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 25(1), 93–116. https://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2011.565411

Papathanasiou, I. (2015). Work-related Mental Consequences: Implications of Burnout on Mental Health Status Among Health Care Providers. Acta Informatica Medica, 23(1), 22. https://doi.org/10.5455/aim.2015.23.22-28

Salvagioni, D. A. J., Melanda, F. N., Mesas, A. E., González, A. D., Gabani, F. L., & Andrade, S. M. D. (2017, October 4). Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies. PLOS ONE, 12(10), e0185781. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185781

Seidler, A., Thinschmidt, M., Deckert, S., Then, F., Hegewald, J., Nieuwenhuijsen, K., & Riedel-Heller, S. G. (2014). The role of psychosocial working conditions on burnout and its core component emotional exhaustion – a systematic review. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 9(1), 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-6673-9-10



burnout, chronic stress, stress, stress management

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