EP: 25 Burnout – Friend or Foe?


What is Burn Out? Burnout is often described as the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. I personally would add that burnout is a long process that slowly erodes at you. I’ve felt the effects of burnout physically when I was deployed to Somalia and mentally with my current job. After a while in Somalia I developed a bleeding ulcer from the constant stress of the deployment. It was certainly nothing that stopped me from completing my missions, but it was a painful physical response to the high levels of stress I was under. Near the end of my deployment I developed back spasms, in direct response to the sniper threat we were always under. The mental image of crosshairs on my back caused my back muscles to clench and unclench on a constant basis. Now, with my current job I don’t have any physical symptoms of burnout, just a few of the common mental ones, like a short temper with people, difficulty focusing, and a higher level of cynicism that normal. Both the physical and mental symptoms of Burn Out can be devastating if nothing is done to alleviate the root cause.

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