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Being able to accept and allow help is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

What is burnout?

The term burnout was coined by American psychotherapist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s. He used it to describe the consequences of heavy stress and high ideals in “helping” professions: for example, doctors and nurses who sacrificed themselves for others in the end are often “burned out” – exhausted, listless and overwhelmed.

To date, there is no uniform definition of burnout. In general, burnout describes a personal crisis that arises due to persistent overload and stress in private or professional everyday life.

Even from this very broad formulation it can be seen that burnout can affect everyone - not just people in the helping professions:  Menschen who are under high pressure to perform professionally (e.g. self-employed, managing directors, executives) or People who are under pressure from the public (e.g. celebrities, actors) or people who are under personal pressure (e.g. housewives or househusbands.) 

According to experts, burnout develops in phases. There are often no specific symptoms at first. Many of those affected initially only complain that they simply "can't take a break", that they "can't take a vacation" or simply "are indispensable". At the same time, the denial of one's own needs begins. Those affected have the feeling of persistent tiredness and despite the - often high professional commitment - they have the feeling of not being able to accomplish anything and never having the time. 

Burnout - Symptoms

Surprisingly, there is no consensus among experts as to what burnout actually is. This has consequences: Since it is unclear what exactly constitutes burnout and how it can be diagnosed, it is also not possible to say exactly how often it occurs and the symptoms are varied.

However, the following symptoms are considered to be the main symptoms of and for burnout:

  • Exhaustion 

Those affected feel depressed, chronically tired and lacking in energy, drained and emotionally exhausted. They also often have physical complaints (e.g. headaches, muscle tension, body aches, etc.).

  • Alienation from (professional) activity and (private) environment

Daily work is perceived as stressful and frustrating. Those affected react with growing emotional distance and apathy to their tasks, working conditions and also to colleagues. This is often accompanied by alienation from the private environment. Those affected “hedge” themselves in and keep their distance in their professional and private lives.

  • Reduced efficiency

Affected people often have trouble concentrating, feel depressed and listless. The ability to perform at work and in everyday life decreases massively.

  • Reduced endurance 

Those affected are emotionally less resilient and their mood is often very unstable. They are often irritable to the point of aggressiveness and those around them often complain about increased outbursts of anger.


  • Rest breaks have little effect

Recreational breaks or holidays have little or no desired effect. Those affected are often nervous and complain of constant inner restlessness.

Preventive measures against burnout


Please take action!

Even if many people do not want to admit it:


Acute burnout is an illness and requires urgent medical treatment! A coach cannot and should not replace this.


However, those affected are often shy about going to the doctor with the corresponding symptoms, talking about it with their superiors or even admitting this to employees or family. 

It is close to my heart to encourage you to do it anyway and to speak openly about it. Burnout is not a weakness! Feel free to contact me if you need support in this regard! 

In addition, there is an acute emergency hotline in Germany, which you can call 0800/33 44 533 or the website of the Deutsche Depressionshilfe (link) to reach. Please don't be afraid to call them!

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