What’s the difference between stress and burnout?

  • A certain amount of stress is a healthy and adaptive part of being human

  • If we didn’t feel stress at all we wouldn’t be motivated to do things like visit the doctor to have our skin checked, meet deadlines at work, study for exams or plan for the future

  • Ongoing or high levels of stress put you at risk of burnout though

  • Burnout is what happens when we are emotionally, physically and/or mentally exhausted by ongoing stress and/or severe stress。

​How to do we identify and manage stress?

1. Get to know yourself

Self-awareness is the most crucial skill you can develop to manage burnout. Why? Because you can’t change something if you are not aware it is happening.

So what should you be on the lookout for?

2. Get specific – What does burnout look like for you?

What are your red flags or warning signs that you might be moving towards burnout?

3. What’s your plan for preventing burnout? If you don’t have a plan – you need one! Don’t wait until you are on the verge of meltdown to create your plan. When we are experiencing intense or prolonged stress the fight-flight-freeze response “hijacks” the front parts of our brain, which means your ability to think in a calm, rational and clear way goes out the window. Write your plan down.

4. Start with the basics

Start by asking yourself – what do I need right now?

If you get stuck, think about what you would do for someone who you loved.

Do you wait until you’re at rock bottom to take care of yourself? Why do we do this? We would never make a friend wait until they were desperate before you gave them support, love and care!

5. Once you’ve got the basics sorted, what else do you need?

  • Mindfulness?

  • Strategies to calm your body?

  • Techniques for dealing with your thoughts/self talk?

  • Time away from factors triggering the burnout (work, people, situations)?

  • Support from friends and family?

  • Don't be afraid to seek help! Psychologists are experts at equipping people with individualised, evidenced-based tools and techniques for managing stress and preventing burn-out

6. Moving out of the way of yourself. What happens if in theory you know how to take care of yourself when you’re heading towards burn out, but you just can’t seem to do it?

7. What was your burnout trying to tell you? Spend some time reflecting on what your burnout was trying to tell you.

Keen to get on top of stress?

We can help. Our psychologists are experienced in helping people to understand what triggers intense stress in the lives. They can help you to get to know your unique warnings signs and equip you with evidence-based tools for ensuring you get on top of burnout before it gets on top of you.

Your Well-Being Is in Good Hands