The difference between stress and burnout

Someone in my free Facebook group recently requested a short post on the difference between stress and burnout.

After posting it, I realized how many of you might have the same question, so here we go:

Stress is the circumstances that cause us to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or any other negative feeling or circumstances that cause us to feel nervous/excited for long periods. These circumstances cause stress not because they are inherently stressful, but because we filter them through our specific stories and beliefs and make them stressful.  

A little stress is good — it keeps us growing. Discomfort is a normal part of life, especially a life where you’re trying to grow and expand who you are in the world. The problem is when we numb out the discomfort with more work, with drinking, with food, with social media…and you don’t realize that you’re stuck in a stress response.

Burnout comes from living in this stress response for months or even years. If you’ve been filtering your circumstances through stories about your worth and your lovability, you may struggle with boundaries, with anxiety, with perfectionism for YEARS before burnout happens. It can come on quickly or slowly. One day you might just feel so exhausted and done that you struggle to find the energy to do little things,  like even go on a walk.

The weird part about burnout is that there are several stages. In the beginning, you might work longer hours or work harder to compensate for feeling a bit off your game (fuzzy brain, lack of focus or concentration). Deeper into the cycle, you might have people telling you that how you’re acting is “out of character” — this happened to me. I felt cynical and selfish almost – I just needed a break and didn’t know how to properly ask for it.

You might feel disconnected from work that used to light you up. You might feel like you’re not as effective at your job or in your business. It sort of feels like you’re trying to push a rock uphill but it just won’t budge. You might feel like your problems are too big to solve, or feel really overwhelmed by problems that you know really aren’t that big of deal. 

The great part about my coaching is that it can help you if you’re in the early stages of burnout (managing stress) or the late stages (exhaustion/cynicism). My coaching goes straight to the root of the problem instead of just focusing on the symptoms. You can be coached to take action – find a new job, change your schedule, put in boundaries – but it won’t stick without getting to beliefs that are keeping you stuck in burnout. 

If you’re ready to get out of the burnout cycle, let’s chat. We can hop on a free call, with absolutely no pressure (I swear!), and see if coaching might be a good fit. I’d love to help. You are not stuck and you CAN feel better.

And I’d love to have you in my free Facebook community Burned Out, Much? – Come join us today for free trainings, tips, and coaching to support you through your journey out of burnout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *