‘Seasonal burnout’: 6 tips to avoid it before Christmas and New Year.

And despite feeling exhausted, most individuals report insomnia when they’re burnt out. In severe cases, immune functioning can be compromised (so that the person may report an increase in infections), blood pressure may drop and it may be difficult or impossible to get out of bed.

Predictably, such features (especially exhaustion and cognitive impairment) do lead to compromised work performance.

Defining burnout is important, as rates have increased in the last few decades.

‘Tis the season.

For many, the demands of the holidays cause exhaustion and risk burnout. People might feel compelled to shop, cook, entertain and socialise more than at other times of year. While burnout was initially defined in those in formal employment, we now recognise the same pattern can be experienced by those meeting the needs of children and/or elderly parents – with such needs typically increasing over Christmas.

Burnout is generally viewed according to a simple stress-response model. Excessive demands lead to burnout, without the individual bringing anything of themselves to its onset and development. But the Australian research has identified a richer model and emphasised how much personality contributes.

Formal carers, be they health workers, teachers, veterinarians and clergy or parents – are more likely to experience burnout. But some other professional groups – such as lawyers – are also at high risk.

In essence, “good” people – who are dutiful, diligent, reliable, conscientious and perfectionistic (either by nature or work nurture) – are at the greatest risk of burnout.