We all want to be energetic and enjoy life at the fullest. Besides an exciting and demanding job, a filled social life we also want time to spend with our families. We live in a society that demands more and more in less time. It is not just the society that sets high standards. We also ask a lot from ourselves. People hit rock-bottom at work or in their private life. The work-life balance is out of balance.
If the balance (bit by bit)gets more off balance, the chance of getting a burnout gets more probable day by day.

What is a burnout?

A burnout is a psychological term for feeling burned out, and not being able to find the energy nor motivation for your daily live. The term appeared for the first time in the seventies. Burnout consists of three more or less interdepend factors: Exhaustion (a feeling of extreme fatigue), cynicism (feeling less attached to work, or the people you work with) and being less capable (the feeling that you achieve less than before).

What isn´t?

A burnout is not a work related depression. Although there are many similarities, there are also essential differences between a burnout and a depression. Intuitively and factually there is an overlap in 95% of the complaints, but the remaining 5% make the big difference. It has to do with apathy and not being able nor willing to do anything at all. These are signs of a depression. This total “emptiness” is not present with a burnout. A burnout has physical and emotional exhaustion, no energy, but the willpower is still present.


The causes of a burnout are often a combination of various factors: a chronic overload of stress and a lack of recovery. So it is a long-term exhaustion of the body, both physically, mentally as emotionally (or in other terms the body, mind, heart and soul). At first the physical and mental effects of stress are noticeable: obliviousness, lack of concentration, not sleeping well, stomach and intestinal disorders, headaches, breath shortage, tense muscles, hyperventilation and heart vibrations. Long-term exposure to stress has a huge impact on the body and even leads to changes in the brain, the immune system and even on the level of genes. So one could say that a burnout has an important physiological cause, which leads to physical and psychological complaints.

Risk factors

The most important features of people who have a high risk of becoming burned out are:

  • High level of ambition
  • Conscientious
  • High level of determination
  • High level of expectance of themselves (and others)
  • Perfectionism
  • High level of responsibility
  • Self-sacrifice/ putting in a lot of effort
  • Huge empathy and understanding for other people needs


Financial facts

The percentage of working people in The Netherlands with burnout related complaints are 14% (CBS, 2012). A burnout does not only have a big impact on the person itself or his direct surroundings, but financial impact is also immense.
The average absence of a person is 189 working days, which makes the average payroll per burnout period and employee €51.597.