By discovering and learning about the different stages of burnout, you’ll be able to spot them and help stop them before it spirals out of control. The first phase of burnout is the Physical, Mental and Emotional Exhaustion stage.

At this point, somebody who would normally be on top of things can suddenly start to feel like they have too much to do yet not enough time and resources to get the job done. He or she might have so much responsibility yet little or no authority to handle the task at hand. The result is that the person tries to juggle a schedule that is not even manageable. Consequently, things begin to take a toll on the individual. He or she feels like their brain is under strain, and they experience constant feelings of exhaustion.

Anybody who has ever gone through a burnout and looked back on it will realize that the second phase of exhaustion is Shame and Doubt. An individual no longer has the confidence that they once had. Although the person might want to handle the tasks in front of them, the voice inside their head will be in disagreement. It is not a logical process but rather a psychological one, which makes the person discount their past accomplishments, feels lousy in the present and becomes hesitant about their future.

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An individual who is in the third phase of burnout is in a stage of Cynicism and Callousness. They experience prolonged feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, and they develop a “number one” attitude. The person puts on a heavy armor in order to shield themselves from others. Some people even become accommodators, where they try to accommodate, be too friendly and fair with everyone else even when it is at their expense. All this eventually adds to the person’s stress levels, and the person begins to feel frustrated and angry. It becomes unhealthy as the emotion turns into anger and suspicion. If not addressed it might lead to cardiovascular complications.

The last stage of burnout is the Failure, Helplessness and Crisis stage. An individual in this phase feels like all is caving in around them and regardless of what action they take, they are helpless. Whether they take action, or they don’t, whether they stay or leave, they are still damned. It is the infamous “Catch-22” where one feels disoriented, and their psychological defenses get worn out. The coping structures and references that the person used to depend on, seem to come-off-at-the-seams. The person becomes highly irritable, and slight things appear to get them upset.

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