What is burnout?

Burnout is the loss of meaning in one's work, coupled with mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion as the result of long-term, unresolved stress. Burnout can affect anyone, however there is a growing number of entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelancers who are reporting symptoms of burnout - up to 60% in the UK.

General symptoms of burnout include:

1) Lower resistance to illness

2) Pessimistic outlook on work or life

3) Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion

4) Time away from work

5) Demotivation and detachment from your work

6) Depleted energy levels

7) Detachment in personal relationships

8) Lower productivity

The 5 stages of burnout

Burnout can affect anyone, at any time in their lives. However, burnout is most common in people between the ages of 25 and 44. Our guide is inspired by Winona State University’s burnout study, as well as our own psychological research. As with any illness, symptoms of burnout change from person to person, however these five stages are commonly observed:


When we undertake a new task, we often start by experiencing high job satisfaction, commitment, energy, and creativity. This is especially true of a new job role, or the beginnings of a business venture.

In this first phase of burnout, you may begin to experience predicted stresses of the job, so it’s important to start implementing positive coping strategies, such as taking practical steps in your job.

The theory is that if we create good coping strategies at this stage, we can continue in the honeymoon phase indefinitely.

Common symptoms include:

1) Commitment to the job at hand

2) Compulsion to prove oneself

3) Free-flowing creativity

4) High productivity levels

5) Job satisfaction

6) Readily accepting responsibility

7) Sustained energy levels

8) Unbridled optimisim


The second stage of burnout begins with an awareness of some days being more difficult than others. You may find your optimism waning, as well as notice common stress symptoms affecting you physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Common symptoms include:

1) Anxiety

2) Avoidance of decision making

3) Change in appetite or diet

4) Fatigue

5) Forgetfulness

6) General neglect of personal needs

7) Grinding your teeth at night

8) Headaches

9) Heart palpitations

10) High blood pressure

11) Inability to focus

12) Irritability

13) Job dissatisfaction

14) Lack of sleep or reduced sleep quality

15) Lack of social interaction

16) Lower productivity

17) Unusual heart rhythms


The third stage of burnout is chronic stress. This is a marked change in your stress levels, going from motivation, to experiencing stress on an incredibly frequent basis. You may also experience more intense symptoms than those of stage two.

Common symptoms include:

1) Anger or aggressive behaviour

2) Apathy

3) Chronic exhaustion

4) Cynical attitude

5) Decreased sexual desire

6) Denial of problems at work or at home

7) Feeling threatened or panicked

8) Feeling pressured or out of control

9) Increased alcohol/drug consumption

10) Increased caffeine consumption

11) Lack of hobbies

12) Missed work deadlines and/or targets

13) Persistent tiredness in the mornings

14) Physical illness

15) Procrastination at work and at home

16) Repeated lateness for work

17) Resentfulness

18) Social withdrawal from friends and/or family

19) Uptake of escapist activities


Entering stage four of burnout is where symptoms become critical. When burnout is talked about more generally, this is the stage that is often referred to. Continuing as normal is often not possible, and it’s key that you seek intervention.

Common symptoms include:

1) Behavioural changes

2) Chronic headaches

3) Chronic stomach or bowel problems

4) Complete neglect of personal needs

5) Continuation or increase in escapist activities

6) Desire to "drop out" of society

7) Desire to move away from work or friends/family

8) Development of an escapist mentality

9) Feeling empty inside

10) Obsession over problems at work or in life

11) Pessimistic outlook on work and life

12) Physical symptoms intensify and/or increase

13) Self-doubt

14) Social isolation


The final stage of burnout is habitual burnout. This means that the symptoms of burnout are so embedded in your life that you are likely to experience a significant physical or emotional problem, as opposed to occasionally experiencing stress or burnout.

Common symptoms include:

1) Burnout syndrome

2) Chronic mental fatigue

3) Chronic physical fatigue

4) Chronic sadness

5) Depression

How to prevent burnout from affecting you

While burnout can cause issues at work, at home, and in life, it is always possible to take action and move towards Stage 1. Even if you are not experiencing stress or burnout now, the wisest course of action is to proactively take up self-care and build your mental resilience.

What we offer

We suggest using our application to analyze the burnout level of your employees and take action in time before key employees leave. The application analyzes employee behaviour, communication, and sets of workflow metrics.

How to use Burnout Report:

1) Go to reports page and find the Other section

2) Open report. You can see the empty graph.

3) Find a user in the search box and select the interested dates.

4) In the formed chart it is possible to trace the change of burnout degree in dynamics on corresponding weeks.

5) Using the level description at the top of the report page, you can understand the current level.

What to do if a high level of burnout is detected.

In the description of burnout degrees on this page above you can find a description of what to do in this situation, the most qualified help will be provided by a psychologist. It is important not to ignore the first symptoms, the disease is much easier to cure in the early stages of development.