A simple definition of burnout is “doing too much, with too little, for too long.” One of my hobbies is woodworking. I have a nice workshop in my home. In the workshop I have an air compressor. The motor on the air compressor has a duty cycle, or a run/rest cycle. That motor is designed to run, fill up the air tank, and then shut off. That motor is not designed to run all the time. If you increase the load or run it all the time, the motor will burn out.
Exceeding the Duty Cycle
You and I each have a duty cycle, or a run/rest cycle. We are not designed to run all the time. If you exceed your duty cycle, you too could burn out. Pushing too hard, working too long, or resting too little, could result in being overloaded or burned out. Exceeding your duty cycle may result in a variety of physical and emotional problems. When you are overloaded, you may become physically ill, anxious, worried, or depressed. You may find yourself easily frustrated, irritable and angry. You might become sensitive to rejection and find yourself overreacting to every slight that comes your way.
Living within Limits
To prevent exceeding your duty cycle, some self-exploration is necessary. Don’t compare yourself to others. Trying to be like someone else or trying to get others to be like you, will almost certainly cause problems. Know your own vulnerabilities and limitations, and work with the confines of your own run/rest cycle. Your recovery program will be compromised if you burnout. Find ways to limit the “run” part of the cycle, but also develop strategies to rest, restore, and recover.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!