What are the Biggest Causes of Burnout?

The biggest causes of burnout, mental and physical exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, and even Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Over the years mental, emotional, and physical burnout has been on the increase. But what are the major causes? 

As someone who was diagnosed with M.E. in the early ’90s after suffering severe burnout, exhaustion, adrenal and chronic fatigue in the late ’80s. I know a lot about burnout, my illness was caused by a combination of things which included a few other conditions that hadn’t been properly diagnosed but a viral type illness that I never fully recovered from after mercury poisoning up a root canal.

But like many causes of mental or physical burnout, my condition was triggered and exacerbated by a variety of stressors, including biological, mental, and emotional stressors.


Most Common Causes Of Burnout Today

So what are the most common causes of burnout, physical exhaustion, or adrenal fatigue disorders but what are the main causes of burnout, that extreme physical exhaustion, and fatigue? 

1. Lack of SleepLack of quality sleep is one of the biggest causes of burnout today, deep quality sleep is vital in helping rest and repair the body.  When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our mind, emotions, and physical well-being suffer. Our body needs rest and relaxation, especially during burnout periods.

2. Poor Nutrition – A poor diet lacking in nutrients and healthy fuel that is over-packed with stimulants, causes not just spikes and falls in blood sugar, but puts a lot of stress on the body, it lower immunity, it causes dis-harmony within the body’s natural chemistry.

Symptoms Of Burnout, Chronic Fatigue, Exhaustion

3. Over stimulation – Over stimulation comes in many forms; toxins we consume such as artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, sugar…Electrical devices and technology such as our mobile devices, i-pads, computers, t.v., computer games, lighting, noise…

Overexposure to a lot of stimulation particularly in the evening triggers the body into the stress response or a state of hyper-arousal. Which makes it very difficult for the mind, body, and emotions to switch off.

4. Toxins – We underestimate how much a toxic environment within or around our body can contribute to all sorts of mental and physical challenges. How toxic our world, our food, our environments, and even our home or office is.

Things like artificial lights, toxic fabrics, toxins in our make-up, household products can actually put extra stress on our body. The more toxic our body is, the more it has to work hard to detox. So the more you can eat clean, live and work in a more healthy low toxic environment the better for your health and wellbeing. 

5. Lack of Assertiveness – Lack of assertiveness, unhealthy boundaries such as the inability to say no. Leads to all sorts of challenges, such as overcommitment; taking on too many jobs and responsibilities increases pressure and no me time.

One of the reasons why many women who are strong caregivers end up with a lot of physical burnout, adrenal fatigue, and chronic fatigue conditions. That is why poor boundaries are one of the causes of burnout for many caregiver types, helpers, empaths.

6. Un-Clear PrioritiesUnclear priorities and the inability to delegate can lead to overwork, over busyness, and overwhelm. Whether it’s family or work situations, delegation & prioritization are vital stress management strategies.

Lack of clear priorities leads to confusion, poor time management, and overactivity.

7. Lack of Self Care – Lack of self-care when you put everyone else’s needs and wants before yourself. When you don’t make self-care a main priority in your life just a mere afterthought.

Basic Self Care Skills are needed for not just survival but for a healthy resilience against life’s challenges, life stressors. When we stop caring for ourselves, we are depleting our self and leaving ourselves vulnerable to all sorts of physical and mental vulnerabilities. 

8. Lack of Self Love Do you really love yourself enough, value yourself, to be kind to yourself? If we don’t love our self enough or value ourselves enough we will struggle to really honour selves. 

We will tend to expect and accept less than we deserve. Self Love and also self-compassion are extremely important in owning our value, being

9.Healthy Thinking– Most stress, anxiety, and burnout are caused by distorted thoughts, unhealthy conditioning that leads us to unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Unhealthy thinking keeps us in the past or constantly focusing on the future instead of the present moment.

When we are in the moment, the present, we are giving our undivided attention and energy to the gifts we have at that moment. Not on the what if’s, should be’s…or any catastrophizing we are ruminating in our mind.

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Healing Burnout: “Four R” Approach

If you feel you are heading or are presently suffering from burnout, here is our 4R Approach To Healing Burnout

  • REST and RELAXATION– Rest and Relax the body needs physical, emotional and mental rest, deep rest and relaxation such as the relaxation response.
  • RECOGNIZE –Watch for the warning signs and causes of burnout; physical exhaustion, emotional lability, chronic anxiety, or stressed
  • REVERSE–Undo and heal the damage by managing stress, learning to relax, obtain professional advice and support.
  • RESILIENCE –Build your physical, mental, and emotional RESILIENCE to stress, by taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health and REDUCING the demands in your life and on your body. Eliminating the causes of burnout.

How To Recover from Burn-Out

Now every type of burn-out is different, suffering from the burnout that has been triggered by a virus, bacterial infection, operation, medical condition, or accident all has to be approached in a multi-faceted way.

It is very important that the physical body and any physical disharmony is supported and treated alongside any mental, emotional even spiritual challenges.

One of the biggest things I wish I understood about the biggest causes of burnout over 30 years ago was that it is vital that you learn to listen to your body. It is vital you get out of your head and make your health and wellbeing a priority. And take the time to rest, relax, repair,  reverse the damage and build up better stress resilience.


Stress Course For Health Challenges, For Chronic Fatigue Sufferers, Fobromyalgia




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