There’s More Than One Kind of Burnout. Which Ones Are Draining You?

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Have you ever wished you could catch a cold just so that you could give yourself a reason to take a few days off? It’s OK to admit it—most working moms have been there. Needing our bodies to revolt just so that we can give ourselves permission to take the space we need to slow down, replenish, set it all down and just breathe. Add in the stress of a pandemic and homeschooling while working remotely and it’s a wonder that we’re still standing.

But do you really need to get sick before you give yourself what you need? Or get to the point where you are seething with silent resentment about all that you have to do for the people at work or those you love at home? And then blow up or blow out because the pressure is just too much?

What if, instead, you could see the warning signals that you’re headed towards burnout before the pressure becomes too much or makes you sick?

Did you know that your physical body is the last place the effects of overwhelm and burnout show up?

By the time you feel exhausted or foggy or show other physical symptoms, you’ve already depleted yourself. The disease has rooted itself into your physical body or your mental mind by that point, and it takes much longer to recover and return to a state of harmony.

Consider the word disease—not just as a physical symptom or a diagnosis but as a state of un-ease within you. Dis- means “apart.” Disease is to be apart from ease, apart from harmony. When you’re more aware of the disease you experience mentally in the form of anxiety, worry or negative self-talk, or experience energetically in your nervous system as frustration or feeling flooded, you become empowered to make changes sooner, before becoming completely depleted or physically sick.

Recall a time you hit your wall, got sick or crumbled under pressure. Weren’t there signs that might have been subtle, but upon reflection, you can see how your whole system or parts of your system were overtaxed? We tend to associate burnout with our physical body or mental state because those are the areas we’ve been taught to focus on.

There are at least eight kinds of burnout, only one of which is physical burnout. These other kinds of burnout often show up before the signs of exhaustion and disease appear in your body.

When you can articulate what kind of burnout you’re experiencing, as opposed to just saying you’re burnt out, exhausted or overwhelmed, you’re more empowered to see the root and get what you need before you get sick. Consider below which type of burnout you may be experiencing, noting that you have likely experienced many.

The 8 Kinds of Burnout:

  1. Mental burnout: My mind cannot process any more; it’s fried.
  2. Emotional burnout: These heavy or anxious emotions are exhausting me.
  3. Compassion burnout: I cannot hold any more loving space for anyone else; I’m tapped.
  4. Relational burnout: I’ve been overgiving to others, my organization or my community/family, and I am over it.
  5. Survival burnout: I’m exhausted from trying to make ends meet and stay afloat.
  6. Superwoman burnout: The weight of taking on so much is too much; I can’t hold it all anymore.
  7. Passion burnout: I love what I do, but I’ve given too much and pushed too hard.
  8. Physical burnout: My body is revolting; I have depleted my life force.

Pause here so we can figure out how these types of burnout show up for you. This will help you be more empowered to see and feel the signs or symptoms before you get to the point of physical burnout. Then try our harmonizing practice to identify which kind of burnout you might currently be experiencing and what you need to reverse the slide into burnout.

Self-Awareness: What Are Your Burnout Signals?

  1. Which kinds of burnout have I experienced?
  2. What are the signs or symptoms that I am experiencing these kinds of burnout? When these occur, use the harmonizing practice below to keep you from sliding into burnout.

Harmonizing Practice: Reverse Your Current Burnout Slide

  1. Which of the eight kinds of burnout am I experiencing currently? Choose the one or two most present right now.
  2. What do I need to receive to reverse the slide into physical burnout? Give this space or support to yourself.

Every kind of burnout is valid and every working mom has been there—especially these days. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Mama.


Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shift happen—in the lives they lead, the work they do and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers trainings, retreats and workshops globally. Visit her online at http://www.christinearylo.com or tune into her podcast www.FemininePowerTime.com.



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