Picture yourself as a matchstick. You burn strong and bright at first, but unless that flame is transferred to kindling, you will eventually reach the end of the match and fizzle out. This is similar to how burnout works. You can’t keep up your energy (flame) without the right resources and support (kindling/fuel). Eventually, you will reach a point where you simply can’t keep going unless you shift gears (and light a new match). Before we get into how to prevent burnout, let’s talk about what it is. Burnout is a somewhat abstract idea, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you know how it feels. It seems as if all your energy reserves are depleted, and even the simplest tasks become difficult. This condition has become so prevalent (with 60% of workers experiencing frequent burnout) that the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun investigating the symptoms and roots causes of burnout. The WHO defines burnout as, “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The organization goes on to describe its main characteristics as depleted energy/exhaustion, increased negativity about one’s job, and flagging work performance. No one wants to feel this way, of course. The day seems so much brighter when you’re excited and energized about work. And many people do feel this way when they start a new job or begin a new project—it’s the energy that comes with a sense of newness and the opportunity to explore new possibilities. Just like a slowly dwindling flame, burnout happens over time.