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Burnout vs. Boreout: The Impact of Control and How to Overcome

Burnout is a term that's widely recognized and discussed. However, what often goes unnoticed is its less-known sibling: boreout.

While they may seem like polar opposites, burnout and boreout share a profound connection. Both are byproducts of the contemporary work environment, where stress and monotony can significantly impact our mental and emotional well-being.

Woman wearing white blouse, red pants and grey jacket.

Let's explore the differences between burnout and boreout, delve into how the absence of control plays a significant role in both, and provide actionable items to overcome these conditions.

The Burnout Blues

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion often caused by prolonged periods of stress and overwork. It typically occurs when you're engaged in demanding and emotionally taxing tasks, whether at work, home, or both.

The lack of control in burnout often stems from an overwhelming workload, unrealistic expectations, and a sense of powerlessness. Here's how it works:

Lack of Control in Burnout:

Overwhelming Workload: You find yourself inundated with tasks and responsibilities, often beyond your capacity to manage.

Lack of Autonomy: You may feel trapped in a job where you have little say in how your work is done or how decisions are made.

Unrealistic Expectations: Your superiors or even yourself set goals and expectations that are virtually impossible to meet.

Perceived Powerlessness: You feel helpless to change your situation or influence the outcome of your efforts.

The Apathy of Boreout

On the flip side, boreout is a state of chronic boredom, disengagement, and apathy, resulting from a lack of meaningful work and stimulation. It usually occurs when you find your job to be excessively monotonous and unchallenging.

The lack of control in boreout arises from being underutilized, feeling undervalued, and lacking a sense of purpose. Here's a glimpse of how it unfolds:

Lack of Control in Boreout:

Monotony and Underutilization: You're stuck in a never-ending cycle of dull and repetitive tasks, which offer no opportunity for personal growth or development.

Feeling Undervalued: You might feel that your skills and talents are wasted, and your contributions go unnoticed.

Lack of Purpose: You're unable to see the meaning or significance in what you do, leading to a sense of hopelessness.

Apathy and Disengagement: The result is a profound disinterest in your work, which can impact your mental health and overall well-being.

The Connection: Lack of Control

Although burnout and boreout may appear as opposite ends of the spectrum, the common thread is the lack of control. In both scenarios, individuals find themselves in situations where they feel powerless and unable to influence their circumstances.

This powerlessness can lead to a host of negative consequences, including chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and physical health issues.

10 Ways to Overcome Burnout and Boreout

The good news is that both burnout and boreout can be overcome by taking proactive steps to regain a sense of control over your life and work. Here are some actionable items to help you combat these debilitating conditions:

1. Assess Your Situation

The first step in addressing burnout or boreout is to recognize and acknowledge it. Reflect on your work environment and personal circumstances to identify the specific sources of stress or boredom.

2. Set Realistic Boundaries

Learn to say "no" when necessary, and don't overcommit yourself. Establishing clear boundaries at work and in your personal life is essential to prevent overwhelm.

3. Seek Support

Don't hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional if you're feeling overwhelmed. Having a support system can provide guidance and emotional relief.

4. Reignite Passion

In the case of boreout, try to find aspects of your work that genuinely interest you. You might explore new projects or volunteer for tasks that align with your passions and skills.

5. Communicate with Supervisors

In situations where work-related factors are contributing to your burnout or boreout, have open conversations with your superiors. They may be unaware of your situation and willing to make changes.

6. Self-Care and Well-Being

Prioritize self-care, which includes adequate sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can also help reduce stress and anxiety.

7. Skill Development

In both scenarios, consider investing in skill development and personal growth. Expanding your knowledge and abilities can make your work more engaging and fulfilling.

8. Work-Life Balance

Ensure a healthy work-life balance. Set aside time for hobbies, interests, and social activities outside of work to break the monotony of daily routines.

9. Reevaluate Your Career

If you find that your burnout or boreout is a persistent issue, it might be time to consider a career change or seeking a new job that better aligns with your interests and values.

10. Empower Yourself

Ultimately, remember that you have the power to regain control over your life. By taking actionable steps and seeking positive change, you can overcome burnout or boreout and find renewed purpose and fulfillment.


Burnout and boreout, despite their differences, share a common element: the lack of control. The feeling of powerlessness in the face of overwhelming workloads or chronic boredom can be detrimental to your mental and emotional well-being.

By assessing your situation, setting boundaries, seeking support, and taking steps to reignite your passion and interests, you can regain a sense of control and overcome these conditions.

Remember, your well-being is worth the effort, and with the right strategies, you can find renewed purpose and fulfillment in your life and work.

Be Well,



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