Stress and burnout cases have been prevalent. Mental health in the workplace has become a cause of concern these past years. More efforts are being put towards safeguarding the mental wellness of employees in the work environment. The tension and pressure at work have contributed to the growing number of mental breakdowns in the workplace.
The gradual effect of this is the low productivity of most employees resulting in low profits and a high rate of employee turnover. Stress and burnout are among the leading causes of mental breakdowns at the workplace. Generally, stress refers to a person’s reaction to a tense or adverse situation. On the other hand, burnout refers to the person’s reaction to prolonged exposure to stress resulting in mental and emotional exhaustion. This article distinguishes between stress and burnout.
As earlier stated, stress refers to the body’s response to a disturbing environmental factor. This leads to a physical or psychological divergence. Normally, a person becomes more alert and is quick to flee or escape a particular situation. These factors that stimulate such a reaction are referred to as stressors.
Stressors mainly refer to the negative factors that cause stress. They include diseases, breakdowns in relationships, abuse of drugs, pressure from work among others. However, stress is not only viewed in a negative light. When viewed in a positive light, it is referred to as eustress.
This kind of stress is considered positive because it causes increased motivation to achieve something. It enables an individual to gain something. The drive to complete a task or do something better is a good example of eustress. People react to stressors differently. Some are easily overwhelmed during a stressful situation while others are able to keep their cool.
As earlier stated in comparing stress and burnout, burnout refers to a state of chronic exhaustion of the mind and body. This occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to stress. When one is constantly under physical and emotional pressure, the body and mind eventually crash under that pressure due to exhaustion.
It also affects a person’s attitude as they become increasingly negative. A person suffering from burnout is often hypertensive, constantly depressed, and cynical about almost everything. They are constantly overwhelmed and lack the ability to meet their demands and targets. An individual suffering from burnout undergoes three stages. It begins with feelings of emotional exhaustion followed by depersonalization and eventually feelings of ineffectiveness as well as a loss of sense of personal achievement.
So what are the differences between stress and burnout?
Stress refers to a person’s response to an external factor as a result of adverse circumstances while burnout refers to mental and physical exhaustion as a result of prolonged exposure to stressors.
When a person is stressed, they feel moody, anxious, guilty, and very edgy among others. On the other hand, when a person is in burnout, they feel depressed, irritable, impatient, and hypertensive among others.
Stress induces fatigue while burnout induces chronic exhaustion. That’s one of the main differences between stress and burnout.
Stress and burnout manifest in a person differently. A person who is stressed loses motivation and hope in life. A person with burnout loses the physical energy to fulfill tasks.
In the workplace, a stressed person is generally dissatisfied with their work while a person in burnout feels bored and cynical about their work.
Stress causes one to drop in their commitment to their work, while burnout causes one to be detached from their work entirely.
The physiological changes experienced in a stressful situation include increased heart rate and blood pressure for a short while. On the other hand, a person who is in burnout experiences psychosomatic changes that last a bit longer.