Feeling overwhelmed and cynical? You could be experiencing burnout

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Exhausted, overwhelmed and cynical at work? You may be experiencing burnout and you are not alone.

Medical experts say many people are suffering from the problem. It’s an ugly feeling that can leave you feeling frustrated.

Burnout is happening to parents, students, bosses and employees, and News 3 spoke to many people about this issue.

Amaya Looper is a college student and said she has experienced it.

“I feel like I can’t control everything," she said. "I’ll break down and I’ll sit in my room and look at everything and be like, 'OK, I don’t know where to start.'"

Marie Ronne is the mother of a 2-year-old. She said she felt burnout after her daughter was born.

“My husband said it was like watching a candle flame go out,” Ronne said.

She got help and feels much better today.

“It’s hard for us to understand that we're burned out because we're always on go,” Looper said.

Sharan Zargis said she felt burnout at a previous job.

“I made more money, but it wasn’t worth it,” Zargis said. “I was working long hours, on emails 24/7. I constantly had to be available because of my position. I never had any downtime.”

It’s a term you hear people use, and is defined as exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.

“It’s like being stressed on steroids. It’s like a complete feeling of being overwhelmed,” said Licensed Clinical Therapist Gary Rotfus. “Burnout has always been around. I remember doing talks about burnout 20 years ago.”

But he said what has changed is technology.

“The concept of burnout now has increased and been exacerbated by social media and electronic devices,” Rotfus said. “People not taking care of themselves. People are doing too much working, too much trying to fit too much into their day.”

He says this happens especially when it comes to work. Michelle Walz says she manages young people at her job and can see it when they’re stressed. She said she will ask them if they are burned out and offer them time away from the job.

“We are giving them time to regenerate, time off from work,” she said, “because if you burn them out, you can’t get a good performance out of them.”

Rotfus said burnout can make a person overwhelmed on a regular basis and overloaded their system. “They feel depressed, feel fatigued, their concentration is impacted, so burnout will affect every part of a person’s life."

He suggests setting limits with loved ones and employers.

“It’s important to say no. You have to get past that feeling of letting someone down. People often have to learn self-care.”

Rotfus suggests to take on one problem at a time, eat right and get proper sleep.

“For me, I got into walking and lifting weights,” said Zargis.

“I can’t do anything unless my mental health is okay,” said Cooper.

For more information from the Mayo Clinic, click here.

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