now reading:

The 12 Stages of Burnout

share post:

back to top 

A woman who is struggling at her desk looking overwhelmed in front of her computer.

Career + Finance

The 12 Stages of Burnout

August 1, 2023

by: The Dimple Life

Burnout looks different on everyone because there are 12 stages to burnout and we are all at different areas in life. Burnout is more than just a feeling of exhaustion or overwhelm. There are thoughts, feelings, and actions that amount to various stages of burnout. It’s important to know what they are so that you can identify similar behaviors and feelings in yourself.

Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger was one of the first to study burnout syndrome in 1980. He and his colleague Gail North, defined burnout as a “state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one’s professional life.”

Below I’ve broken down in more detail what each stage of burnout means:

Stage 1: Excessive ambition

While ambition is a positive trait that supports our personal and professional goals, anything in excess can quickly turn detrimental. Excessive ambition can kick in when you feel the need to prove yourself – whether to yourself or to others.

Stage 2: Working harder

Establishing high goals with a work focus and all other aspects of your life fall as secondary importance.

Stage 3: Neglecting own needs

Do you ever feel you don’t have time to cook a healthy meal for yourself? Or you just don’t have time to exercise or sleep on time? Stage 3 is when our personal needs are sacrificed. We may even see the effects of this by unhealthy weight gain, insomnia, decreased focus, etc.

Stage 4: Displacement of conflicts and needs

Due to the excessive focus on work, problems are often dismissed; we may feel threatened, panicky, and jittery.

Stage 5: No longer any need for non work related needs

Friends, family, and self-care are often dismissed as being irrelevant or not as important.

Stage 6: Increasing denial of the problem 

This stage signifies you may perceive collaborators or those you work with as undisciplined or lazy. Furthermore, there are often times excuses made where the only reason problems are because they are caused by time pressure and work, as opposed to any life changes. “If only I had more time, then…”. There is a sense of removal from reality.

Stage 7: Withdrawal, lack of direction, cynicism

As with stage 5 there is no room for a social life as it is small or nonexistent and often times there is a need to feel relief from stress using alcohol or drugs.

Stage 8: Behavioral changes/psychological reactions

Changes in behavior are unique to each individual but there may be noticeable changes in demeanor and behavior that are obvious to family and friends.

Stage 9: Depersonalization: loss of contact with self and own needs

Unable to see your value. You have lost the drive you used to have. You may feel like quitting/moving/leaving, making a bigger life decision.

Stage 10: Inner emptiness, anxiety, addictive behavior

There is no enthusiasm or interest in work therefore this drives destructive behavior which may include excessive alcohol and drugs. Activities are often exaggerated.

Stage 11: Increasing feeling of meaninglessness and lack of interest

Feeling lost, exhausted, anxious, and hopeless around your life, your mission, and your values.

Stage 12: Physical exhaustion that can be life-threatening

This can include a total mental and physical collapse; time for full medical attention.

After reading about these stages, ask yourself: Do you fall into any of these stages right now? Is this a pattern you have been experiencing in your life? What are you doing to support yourself right now? Do you feel what you’re doing is sustaining you and is sufficient or do you feel there’s something more?

The first step to solving any problem, is acknowledging it. Identify what you are feeling and then acknowledge that you need support to fully come to yourself again.

Burnout is a health epidemic. Know the 12 stages of burnout so you can acknowledge and prevent it from happening to you. #Burnout #BurnoutPrevention #StressRelief #StressManagement #TheDimpleLife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Beautiful article.

  2. […] Granted, when you’re in the thick of it, it doesn’t feel that simple. It’s overwhelming, all consuming exhaustion, especially in the later stages. has a really good breakdown of the stages of burnout. You can find it here. […]

    • The Dimple Life says:

      Thank you for sourcing this article! Burnout is very real for so many people, especially given this past year+.

I'm looking for support with:

explore the blog

More on the Blog

I'm looking for support with:

self growth

career + finance






do good

How to give back and do good for society. Image of canned goods and donated goods.

Life can be complicated but some things just aren’t. If someone is in need, you help. With so many organizations, causes, and those that need assistance – how do you navigate which causes to be a part of or give back to? Here are some tips on how to identify where and how you can start […]

5 simple sustainable living habits for beginners that you can implement today.
It is hard to know where to begin with volunteer work. Here are a few resources that can help you find the cause that is right for you. #Volunteerism #Volunteer #SocialImpact #NonProfitOrganization
Some life lessons to know about relationships as you become an adult.

If you are an adult dealing with relationships then you already know how hard they can be. However, you will also know how rewarding they are. You potentially get to spend the rest of your life with the one person you love. Getting married, having children, and buying your own place are some of the […]

It can be daunting to make friends as an adult with limited outlets the older you get. But that doesn't mean it's not possible. It takes getting out of your comfort zone and knowing where to look but know that it is possible with the following tips. #Friendships #Relationship #MentalWellness #MentalWellbeing #TheDimpleLife

It can be really daunting to make friends as an adult. As you grow into adulthood, it seems like there’s more opportunity to create relationships with your classmates in school, with your coworkers at work, and through various social settings. As you fully step into adulthood and enter different phases of your life though those […]

Why teaching 'family first' doesn't work all the time. #FamilyRelationships #HealthyRelationships #Boundaries #TheDimpleLife

Ever since I was in elementary school, I can remember a school project where I presented that the most important motto to me is “Family First”. This thinking was engrained into my upbringing from a very early age. On surface level, it’s quite beautiful. Family truly will always mean so much to me. However, at […]

How to moisturize and revitalize dry, winter skin. Here is an image of a young Asian woman applying moisturizer cream to her face.

In the cold winter months coming, your skin takes a major hit in how youthful and moisturized it looks and feels. Your skin, which is the largest organ of your body, needs consistent care throughout all the seasons of the year. Of course if you have access to steam treatments, that is one way to […]

This post is about our top 7 day spas in Vancouver.

From traditional Thai wellness to luxurious treatments inspired by the Far East, Vancouver offers a diverse array of spa experiences that cater to every relaxation seeker. In our face-paced lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of a day which can lead you to neglecting the one person who truly deserves a […]

Luxurious and voluminous hair is possible in colder months!

Winter is just around the corner and the cold months ahead mean chunky sweaters, snowfall, and quality time spent wrapped up in a blanket by the fireplace with your loved ones. However, as you revel in the winter activities and embrace the cozy change in weather, your hair might not share the same enthusiasm. The […]

Home moving tips that will relieve you from stress during a transitionary time.

When you move you are leaving behind memories as well as allowing yourself to move forward and make new memories. There is a lot to organize and plan to make sure it’s done without a hitch, therefore, it pays off to be organized and have a plan. If you are moving soon, you will want […]

This post is about a Holiday Gift Guide for the Tech Nerds.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for the tech enthusiast in your life, look no further! In this comprehensive holiday gift guide, we’ve curated a selection of cutting-edge gadgets and accessories that will delight even the most discerning tech nerds. From innovative smart devices to gaming […]

Learn simple tips on how to host a successful holiday dinner party.

The holiday season is synonymous with warmth, laughter, and, of course, delicious meals shared with loved ones. Hosting a holiday dinner party can be a joyous experience, offering you the opportunity to create lasting memories and share your love for food and company. However, orchestrating such an event can be overwhelming without proper planning and […]

Every day tips on how to strengthen your core muscles for better health.

We all know, working out is a must to staying healthy but when people think about “working out” they think about more intensive, hour-long exercise classes. It’s time to dismantle some of our beliefs around exercise though. You don’t have to go to a workout class, you don’t have to dedicate a certain amount of […]

This post is about releasing your stress at these yoga studios in Vancouver.

Yoga, with its profound emphasis on mental and physical well-being, serves as a sanctuary for many. Fortunately, Vancouver boasts a myriad of yoga studios that not only provide a tranquil escape from the chaos but also offer unique amenities and specialized practices tailored to cater to various needs. Let’s explore some of the best yoga […]

This post is about 7 products you need for a stress free travel.

Traveling can be an exhilarating and transformative experience for fun, adventure, and opportunities to grow. It allows us to explore new places, cultures, and cuisines. However, amidst the excitement, the journey itself can sometimes become overwhelming, especially if you’re not adequately prepared. The best thing we have realized through travel is if you have a […]

Hurom H400 Easy Clean Slow Juicer

I’m all about easy ways to get more nutrition into my diet. Especially with the heat wave that is sweeping many places up this summer, juicing is a nice and quick way to get your daily serving of fruits and veggies in. This juice is one made with ingredients I typically have in the refrigerator, […]

Kitchen tips for cooking beginners

Not everyone is a natural in the kitchen. Some people have their skills in other areas, but just because you don’t naturally have an affinity for cooking doesn’t mean you can’t learn – and ultimately be great in the kitchen! Like with most other things you try, the beginning can be tough but the most […]

This post is about healthy food spots in Vancouver.

Vancouver boasts a plethora of dining options that cater to those with a passion for nutritious meals. Let’s explore five standout healthy spots in Vancouver where you can savor fresh, locally sourced ingredients and nourish your body. Read on to discover a few of Vancouver’s healthy food spots to hit up! The Chopped Leaf Our […]

These days, it is more and more competitive to stand out in either an academic or professional sense. As I was helping some younger cousins out as they prepped for medical school and other graduate programs, a few points stood out as key themes to consider when wanting to ensure you are competitive in today’s […]

There are so many ways to be well. Sure of course taking care of your physical health is a given but what about your financial well-being? Truthfully, if you are not financially well, it can affect your mental and physical health. Intentionally looking at your finances is essential for building a secure future and living […]

Tips on how to manage your time with the pomodoro technique

In a time when “hustle culture” is glamorized and work ethic is praised above all else, taking breaks to increase productivity can seem counter-intuitive. Pacing out your day to create dedicated moments of work and rest can greatly enhance your work experience. It also enhances motivation, creativity, and strategic thinking. The Pomodoro Technique allows you […]

This is for a guide on how to disconnect and recharge in December. The image is a person holding a coffee mug with a cozy blanket.

A woman holding up flowers to the sky. Learn how to get into touch with yourself

Sometimes when our energy is so outwardly expended, it can be very easy to quickly lose touch with ourselves. Especially when it comes to the holiday seasons, it’s important to find time to take a “time out” and look inward into where we can find slow moments to grow. When we take a moment to […]

This post is about Vancouver's top 5 activities and destinations to de-stress.

Amidst the face-paced culture we live in, finding effective ways to unwind and destress isn’t just a luxury but a necessity. Let’s dive into Vancouver’s top 5 activities and destinations that not only provide a break from the daily grind but also play a pivotal role in promoting mental and physical well-being. Sabai Thai Spa […]

© 2023 3R Media. All Rights Reserved  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms & Conditions

Site by Sunday Stories

© 2023 3R Media. All rights reserved.
Read our Privacy Policy & Terms & ConDitions