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Burn-on: everything you need to know about chronic exhaustion

They carry out their responsibilities with a smile on their face even though they’re exhausted inside; they are outwardly high performing but inside feel empty, and devoid of energy and joy; they put off ‘real’ life until later as, first, they need to function … we all know people like this or suffer from this ourselves. We are talking about burn-on syndrome – a real and dangerous phenomenon that emerges out of overworking, having a permanent workload, and stress.


This blog series is dedicated to the topic of burn-on. You’ll learn everything you need to know about this form of chronic exhaustion – also called chronic exhaustive depression. Among other things, you’ll see the consequences it can have on your body and health, how to recognise the signs of burn-on, and a possible way out of a seemingly hopeless situation.


Alt text A professional woman sits in front of the computer and holds her hands in front of her face. She is stressed and exhausted because she is suffering from burn-on. This form of chronic exhaustion – also called chronic exhaustive depression – creeps up on you slowly and has serious consequences for your body and health.
Constant strain, stress, and overworking are at the root of burn-on syndrome.

From personal experience


When I first read about burn-on in the magazine ‘Ursache\Wirkung’ No. 117, I had a lightbulb moment: “I am not an isolated case and there’s even a term for what I feel!” For me, it was both helpful and reassuring because it made me feel understood and eased my fears that something was wrong with me. It was a turning point on my road to recovery.


As a former burn-on sufferer, I have made it my current mission to contribute to raising awareness and education around burn-on syndrome. For this reason, I have created this blog series. It is intended to help those affected to better understand the situation and the feelings or fears associated with it, as well as to find a way out of burn-on. The goal? To live more again instead of just functioning.


Burn-on syndrome: in a nutshell


It often affects people who have the urge to control everything around them and tend to be perfectionists. That’s why they don’t allow themselves to collapse, as would be the case with burnout. Rather, burn-on sufferers constantly oscillate between two opposing states: they fulfil their responsibilities not just impeccably but with a smile on their face too; all the while, inwardly, they feel like an empty shell devoid of energy, joy, and drive with life passing them by.


Typically, they prioritise professional or family tasks over their own well-being. In other words, they put off their lives until later because, first, they have to function for those around them.


A professional man holds a computer in his hands and runs to complete all his tasks. Arrows point from him in all directions to hand drawings symbolising his long to-do list. Burn-on sufferers function much more than they actually live.
Burn-on sufferers perform their duties flawlessly even though they are exhausted inside.

The Burn-on Blog series in overview



In this article, you will find out why the life of burn-on sufferers is much more like a Hollywood blockbuster than ‘real’ life, and why experts from a German psychosomatic clinic compare burn-on syndrome with a balancing act over an abyss. I’ll also show you how stress can be both a blessing and a curse and why we are all – including you and your loved ones – at risk of burn-on. If, as a society, we want to have a healthy and happy future ahead of us, we have to act NOW!



Early symptom recognition is essential to avoid chronic fatigue developing with dangerous consequences for your health. With this list, I will help you to recognise the signs that point to burn-on, and which must be taken seriously. Spoiler alert! Even seemingly harmless signs are really important!


Do you want to live more instead of just functioning and are you ready to take the reins? In the same blog article, I show you why you are in the driver’s seat and how you can start your escape from burn-on.



As a former burn-on sufferer, in this blog, I describe a potential way to escape burn-on. Thanks to this step-by-step guide and the plentiful supply of practical tips and exercises to use in your everyday life, you’ll be able to feel more energy and composure in your life – they’re simple, time-saving, and effective.


Not enough? Then, I’ll also show you how you can consciously interrupt stress reactions and how you can sustainably ‘download’ a new ‘operating system’ full of zest for life. Life is too short to simply function. Finally get living again!


The series will continue to grow – stay tuned!


There is still so much to say about this form of chronic exhaustion, which is based on overworking, and continuous stress and workload. In the future, I will continue to talk about it and tell you more about my experiences.

 

About the author

As a former burn-on sufferer, it is very important to me to contribute to raising awareness and educating people about burn-on syndrome - that's what this blog series is for. I hope to help as many people as possible to better understand their situation, feelings, or fears, so that they can help themselves or get help. As a certified HeartMath® coach, I also accompany my clients on their individual escape from burn-on.

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