Burnout and the Exhaustion Funnel

We get asked this question a lot in fact.  The first step is understanding the true definition of burnout.

The WHO says: “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • reduced professional efficacy

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

So let’s apply this to your life.  Dr. Marie Asberg, the leading expert on burnout, designed a concept called the Exhaustion Funnel, which is exactly what can happen to you when you don’t look after yourself… and ultimately it can lead to burnout.

Imagine a funnel

At the top of the funnel is your full and balanced life, with work, family, friends, hobbies, exercise and interests. The bottom represents a life that has been stripped down to merely doing those things you HAVE TO DO to keep going about your day to day.

There isn’t normally a cataclysmic event so most people – myself included (and yes, I suffered burnout) don’t even realise it’s happening!!!

As you spiral down, you give up the things that you enjoy, but, in your mind, seem “optional.”

You stop doing activities that nourish you, leaving time only for work or other stressors that drain you….I

So, now that you know the definition of burnout and the concept of The Exhaustion Funnel, think about your life and where you’re at in this funnel.

If you want more information on burnout, we have a FREE Beat Burnout Guide.