The 5 Stages of Burnout

Worker burnout is one of the most pressing labor force problems in America’s economy today. Approximately 76 percent of American workers report experiencing at least some degree of burnout, a number that has risen dramatically throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other mental health conditions, burnout presents in a series of recognizable stages. Here are the five stages of burnout everyone should be familiar with in order to identify and address it early on.

Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase

The honeymoon phase is a stage that actually precedes the onset of burnout. This is a stage at which a new task, job or challenge is enjoyable and fulfilling, even if it does involve some additional stress. If not handled properly, though, stresses that present themselves during the honeymoon phase can add up and begin the burnout process.

Stage 2: Stress Onset

As a worker proceeds out of the honeymoon phase, he or she will begin to experience more classic symptoms of mounting stress. The stress onset stage of burnout occurs when the initial surge of enjoyment and enthusiasm from the honeymoon phase wears off and the stresses associated with work continue to build. Anxiety, irritability and a general decline in both satisfaction and productivity usually begin to set in during this stage.

Stage 3: Chronic Stress

Unless stress is addressed in the second stage, workers quickly move on to the chronic stress stage of burnout. At this point, most of the enjoyment goes out of work and is replaced by frequent experience of stress. More severe symptoms of long-term stress, including physical sickness and drug or alcohol consumption, often begin to appear at this stage.

Stage 4: Burnout

At stage four, the classic symptoms of burnout set in as stress continues to increase. Decreased productivity feeds into the demands of the job, causing tasks to pile up and overwhelm the worker. Major behavioral changes and withdrawal from social life are also seen once a person reaches this stage. At this point, work-related stress becomes very frequent to almost constant.

Stage 5: Habitual Burnout

At the habitual burnout stage, a worker experiences essentially constant work stress that makes it impossible for him or her to function as usual. Burnout becomes standard, rather than occasional, and depression or other mental health issues may set in. Habitual burnout often requires professional treatment or major life changes to be made in order to return the person suffering from it to normal functionality.

Although these stages present in many cases of burnout, it’s important to understand that they won’t be identical for everyone. Because each situation is different, burnout can vary in both intensity and onset speed for each individual worker.

Published by mattdapore

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Matt Dapore brings his over 20 years of experience in healthcare operations into his current role of Chief Operating Officer at Hillstone Healthcare, Inc. Hillstone, which was founded in 2010 and assumed by Matt and the team in 2013, currently owns and manages 17 nursing facilities in the state of Ohio. The unique thing about Matt – in addition to his professional acumen – is his ability to bring compassion and a constant patient-first mentality to his work on a daily basis. As a direct result of Matt’s guidance, Hillstone Healthcare has grown over the last five years to become an actively growing management company. Matt Dapore’s work in healthcare extends farther back than his college days, as he started working with adults with developmental disabilities at only 13 years old. Ever since then, Matt has pursued his passion for caring for the elderly and spreading his passion for compassion. Prior to his work with Hillstone, Matt was an Administrator at Provider Services for almost six years, where he operated multiple facilities through acquisitions and turnarounds. During that role, he negotiated labor contracts with SEIU, implemented and educated Person Centered Care programs on a company wide basis, and operated all homes at a 25-30% profit margin. Prior to that, Matt was also an Administrator at Altercare of Ohio, Wallick Properties, and Director of AIT at St. Leonard Center. Upon graduating college he served as a Recreational Therapist at St. Francis, St. George Hospital. Matt serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Ohio Person Centered Care Coalition, and Board Member for the Ohio Academy of Senior Health Sciences. He is the five-time recipient of the Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes Outstanding Survey Award (2006-2010). Matt Dapore is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. For more on Hillstone Healthcare, be sure to check out their website here. For even more, be sure to follow Matt online for the latest insights and updates!

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