Burn-On: The difference to burn-out – and how it makes you sick

  • basics of burnout
  • Explanation of terms: What is a burn on?
  • risk factors
  • preventive measures and seek help
  • Conclusion

When you burn out, you suffer from extreme physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. But not only this condition must urgently considered and treated become: The so-called burn-on should also be taken seriously.

Burn Out and Burn On: The Basics

The symptom of Burnout almost everyone knows. It counts not as a separate disease, but as a risk factor for the development of numerous other mental illnesses such as depression. Since burnout is therefore not listed as a separate illness, there are no official statistics on this. However, a look at the reports from the health insurance companies shows that numerous mental illnesses are recorded and reported. Of the DAK Psych Report 2021 summarizes: From 2010 to 2020, the number of days absent due to mental illness increased by 56%. That published something similar Scientific Institute of the AOK 2021: The sharp increase in the number of mental illnesses is still a concern remarkably long downtimes. In 2020 they lasted 30.3 days per case more than twice as long as the average at 13.8 days per case. According to that BKK Health Report 2019 The burn-out syndrome is only considered an additional diagnosis, but it is included in the mental disorders group of diseases often attributed. In summary, there are clear and worrying trends in mental health.

High demands on performance, success and recognition in everyday life can not only lead to burnout. Will you into one steady state stressed without “burning out”, one speaks of a burn-on. One of the psychologists studying the phenomenon is Tim Schiele. He is researching the Psychosomatic Clinic in Dießen and has for the first time in his book “Burn On: Always shortly before burn out” described what he and his colleague Prof. Dr. Bert te Wildt were able to find out about the phenomenon. The aim is to awareness of burn-on in society.

While a burn-out translates literally “burn out” means, burn-on denotes the “keep burning“. In contrast to burn-out, people who suffer from burn-on can continue to go about their everyday lives. They can often still identify with their work Barmer health insurance Schiele postulates that burn-out is acute, while burn-on syndrome is acute chronic fatigue depression is to be seen. One can suffer from the latter for years. Here are the typical symptoms Headaches, sleep problems and tension.

Risk factors for the development of a burn-on

The risk of developing burn-on is not the same for everyone. So Schiele loves those who have a strong and inflexible focus on performance and goals have an increased risk. Furthermore, it is considered a risk factor if someone has a strong perfectionism Has. Of course, these qualities are not purely negative in themselves, but they can develop into extremes.

According to Schiele, the burn-on occurs not only in the working world on. People who are in so-called threshold situations are also particularly at risk. The term means that they have to deal with new challenges, for example with a job change, a wedding or a death.

Extreme eventssuch as a natural disaster or the corona pandemic, could also promote the development of a burn-on.

Reduce the burn-on risk and seek help

There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of burn-on. This is a first tip Learning to decelerate. Despite the stress of everyday life, it is important that you take regular breaks. If you switch off briefly in between, you will be better able to gather new energy again. You have to decide individually which relaxation method will help you. For example, you could try yoga or listening to a podcast.

The second are mindfulness exercises. You can find a variety of exercises online to help you deal with mental stress. Besides, there is supporting digital programs, like the apps recommended by BARMER 7 mins, HelloBetter hassle free or MindDoc. You could also try meditation, for example. Such mindfulness exercises can help you to reflect on your everyday behavior and to prioritize.

Of professional psychological help you should not foresee: Nobody has to cope with a mental illness alone. Doctors and psychologists are happy to support you in your healing process; and even if the step is usually difficult, it is worth seeking help. If you recognize the mentioned characteristics of a burn-on in a person from your environment, it is important to address them. In an open conversation with the person concerned, you should draw attention to noticeable changes and signal that you are ready to support them. You could also offer to help when looking for therapy helpif this is desired.


In summary, the phenomenon of burn-on has not yet fully arrived in society’s consciousness. That’s why it’s important to point it out attentive and to take a close look at your own behavior and that of those around you. Last, it’s important to focus on a burn-on professional help to search. You can find suitable offers in your area, for example, via the Therapist and psychotherapist search Find.

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