In the middle of the …

… big black hole. This is how it feels for many who are on their way to or already in burnout. But what are the phases on the way to a burnout? Roughly, five phases can be described:

Phase 1: Success. Success is something positive. Why can this lead to a state of burnout? Success fires our will to achieve. „I can do this,“ and much more. Vacation? Relaxation? Free time? I really don’t have time for that right now! I don’t need anything like that.“
Phase 2: Exhaustion. The stress makes itself felt for the first time. Phases of deep exhaustion occur, which can also be long-lasting. At home, it’s then, „Leave me alone, I just want to sleep.“
Phase 3: The fight. You come down harder on yourself. „It’s got to work! It worked before.“ You watch out for healthy food, exercise more and fight against what is seen as your own weakness. „Close your eyes and get through it.“
Phase 4: The overshoot. The last energy reserves are mobilized. Working late into the night on weekends and at home. „This absolutely has to be finished now.“ The fear of failure rises continuously. Self-esteem plummets. Exhaustion permeates all areas of life.
Phase 5: The collapse. Psychological collapse. „I’m not going on anymore. I can’t do it anymore“ Consequences: Withdrawal, hopelessness, apathy, depression.

What helps? How do you get out of it, or not get into it in the first place? In phase 1 and 2 it helps to pause, to stop the stress wheel, to get out. Take your time. Allow that you don’t do something, that mistakes happen, that you don’t have to/can’t have everything under control.
If it gets harder, from phase 3 on, then you should get support. At the university, there is also a colleague at the Central Student Advisory Service who is very familiar with the topic of stress. Just get in touch with her.

Sky, Blue, Statue, Icarus, Wings
Always higher and further. In Greek mythology, this was Icarus‘ undoing.