How to Tell the Difference Between Depression and Burnout?

How to Tell the Difference Between Depression and Burnout?

Feeling burned out and feeling depressed can make you seem similar. Your body might even react in similar ways, making it hard to tell the difference between burnout and depression. But they’re not the same thing. Knowing how burnout and depression are different can help you understand what you’re going through. That way, you can get help sooner rather than later and start feeling better.

What is Burnout?

Burnout, also known as burnout syndrome, happens when you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically drained over a long period. This usually occurs when you face a lot of stress, deal with emotionally challenging situations, work too much, or push yourself excessively without taking breaks. Burnout negatively affects both your physical and mental health.

The most common type of burnout is related to careers, but there’s also something called parental burnout, which happens when parents feel exhausted from taking care of their children. Some people wonder if burnout is a type of depression because they have similar symptoms.

The main symptoms of burnout include feeling exhausted, having trouble thinking clearly or making decisions, reduced work performance, and lack of empathy. You might also withdraw from social activities. Other signs of burnout are feeling restless, being irritable, experiencing anxiety or nausea, and having trouble sleeping.

What is Depression?

Depression is a more serious mental health condition. When someone has depression, they might feel really sad, and tired all the time, lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and even think about hurting themselves. Depression doesn’t just make someone feel bad; it also affects their relationships, work or school, and everyday life. But the good news is, depression can be treated with different kinds of help, like therapy or medication.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) shows up with signs like feeling very sad, hopeless, or unable to enjoy things, finding it tough to concentrate, feeling empty inside, going through big changes in weight without trying, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling guilty or worthless, and thinking about hurting oneself.

Understanding depression’s signs and effects can help us support those going through it. With the right support and treatment, people with depression can feel better and live happier lives.

Can you experience burnout and depression?

Even though feeling burnout isn’t the same as having depression, sometimes people can feel both at once. They’re different, but they can make each other worse. Burnout can lead to depression but depression doesn’t cause burnout. Just because someone has depression doesn’t mean they’ll also feel burned out.

Things that can make you feel burn out include:

  • Working long hours
  • Having too many responsibilities at home or work
  • Having very high expectations for yourself
  • Working in a toxic work environment
  • Being expected to do well without having enough resources
  • Being in a place that’s not safe to work in
  • Not taking time off when you need it
  • Trying to be perfect
  • Not being compensated adequately at work

Burnout happens when you’ve been dealing with all these for a long time. On the other hand, depression is a complex mental health disorder influenced by various factors such as genes, early childhood experiences, life events, traumatic experiences, and the presence of underlying medical conditions or other mental disorders.

Depression vs. Burnout

Depression and burnout are different but related issues that affect how you feel. Depression makes you feel sad and hopeless for a long period, and it can change your sleep and eating habits. Burnout comes from being stressed out for a long period at work or while taking care of others. It makes you feel tired and disconnected.

If you or someone you know is feeling down or hopeless, or if you’re having thoughts about hurting yourself, it’s important to talk to a professional. This could be a therapist who can figure out what’s going on and help you feel better.

It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling down or stressed for an extended period and to reach out for help. Talking to someone who can help you figure out what’s going on is the first step to feeling better. Taking breaks, talking to coworkers, and getting support is important so they don’t get too overwhelmed.

How to Manage Burnout and Depression

There are many things you can do to deal with burnout and depression. Taking care of yourself, talking to a therapist, taking meds if needed, grounding yourself, staying active, and giving yourself a break are all good ways to deal with these feelings. If you’re feeling burnt out, having something fun or relaxing to do after work can help balance out your energy.

Here are five simple tips to help you deal with burnout and depression:

1. Read About Depression & Burnout

Sometimes we might not realize when we’re depressed. It can be tough to tell the difference between our true feelings and those that come from hearing negative things about ourselves over and over. When we start to believe these negative thoughts, it’s hard to remember the good things about ourselves.

Reading about how other people deal with tough times when you feel down, can be helpful. When we relate to their stories, it helps us feel like our own experiences matter. It gives us hope that things can get better and might encourage us to face our negative feelings.

2. Ground Yourself Through Simple Meditative Techniques

Discovering a calm and special spot to sit quietly and think can be useful for sorting out your feelings. Taking time to meditate can change how we handle emotions, so we respond better to situations and take care of ourselves. It also reminds us to treat ourselves gently and kindly, especially on tough days. It encourages us to slow down and not rush through everything. If you’re not sure how to begin, try using a meditation app.

3. Journal Your Feelings

Writing down your thoughts helps clear your mind. When we jot down how we feel, reading it aloud lets us both see and hear those words. This helps us understand our emotions better, as hearing them makes us realize what we’re truly feeling. It also helps us notice any negative thinking habits and figure out where they come from. Once we understand some of that, we can start working on feeling better.

4. Practice Yoga/Tai Chi/Qi-Gong

These practices are not just about moving your body; they are great for handling emotions. While exercise is good for your body, it goes further by working for your emotional balance. When we make this balance a priority, it helps us understand ourselves better and see our worth. This side of yoga for example is especially useful for those dealing with depression or burnout. Connecting with our emotions through those practices can help us deal with depression symptoms and ease burnout feelings. It allows us to let out built-up emotions, leading to clearer thinking and stronger mental resilience.

5. Develop Mindful Attitude

Developing mindfulness can help people deal with depression and burnout in a few important ways. First, when you practice mindfulness, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, which helps you notice if you’re starting to feel depressed or burnt out early on. It also helps you look at your emotions without being too hard on yourself, which can make it easier to handle stressful situations without getting too upset. Mindfulness also helps your body relax and calm down, which can make you feel less stressed and prevent depression and burnout.

Mindfulness also changes how you think about things, making you more flexible and less likely to keep thinking negative thoughts over and over again. It encourages you to be kinder to yourself, reducing self-criticism and those feelings of not being good enough that often come with depression and burnout. Plus, it helps you understand and communicate better with others, which can make you feel more supported and less alone.

When to Seek Professional Help?

Getting help for depression and burnout is important when it starts to affect your daily life. If you’re feeling really sad, not interested in things you used to enjoy, having trouble sleeping or eating, feeling tired all the time, finding it hard to focus, feeling worthless, having physical pains, staying away from friends, or having thoughts of hurting yourself, it’s time to talk to someone who can help. That could be a therapist, counsellor, or doctor. They can figure out what’s going on and make a plan to help you feel better. Remember, asking for help is a strong thing to do, and you’re not alone.

Find a Depression Counsellor with Us

Are you struggling with depression or burnout? Let us help you find the support you need. Our team specializes in depression counselling and therapy in Vancouver. Whether you’re seeking individual or couples counselling, our experienced counsellors in Vancouver are here to guide you toward healing and resilience. Take the first step towards a brighter tomorrow – reach out to Modern Therapy & Counselling today for compassionate support and effective therapy customized to your needs.

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