I have written several postings on my blog that describe burnout as a cycle. Read more about the 12-stage Burnout Symptom Cycle.
However, it can also be useful to view burnout as a continuum that runs from “I have no symptoms of burnout at all” to “I am in total burnout and am completely unable to function.” This perspective of viewing burnout as a continuum offers a helpful reminder that without proper pacing, and taking care of our mental and physical needs, we can find ourselves in burnout (again) relatively quickly.
It is helpful to consider the following questions, if you have been in burnout in the past and are thus at risk for entering burnout again:
(1) Where am I on the burnout continuum, from the low end to the high end, at any given point in time?
(2) What can I do right now to effectively push back against burnout?
Everyone who has been in burnout in the past is experiencing burnout to some degree in the present. The degree to which each of us feels burnout out will change from day to day, and from week to week, depending on how much we have on our plates, what unusual pressures have arisen, how much sleep we have gotten, whether our aging parents need our help, and many other variables. Some weeks we feel more exhausted, and others we feel more rested.
— Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta