Signs of Exhaustion: How to Fight Fatigue

Chronic fatigue, managerial illness, burnout and exhaustion: what is the difference?

Does the phrase "I'm terribly exhausted" ring a bell for you? We often express our level of fatigue, however, it is important to distinguish between different degrees of exhaustion. Below you will learn the difference between exhaustion, chronic fatigue, managerial illness and burnout.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not the same as general fatigue syndrome. People with chronic fatigue syndrome are characterized by energization, moodlessness, lack of strength and general exhaustion. Their fatigue takes on dimensions that are challenging their performance of everyday tasks. Exhaustion of people with CFS is not alleviated by sleep and rest. A common accompanying symptom is muscle weakness, joint pain, muscle spasms and intense headaches. There is no scientific consensus on the root cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Some hypotheses suggest it may be caused by a viral infection, while others believe it may be caused by a disease affecting the immune system. One thing is for sure, stress is one of the major causes, but make sure to consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of CFS.

Symptoms of the CFS may be:

  • Insurmountable exhaustion
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue that prevents the performance of everyday tasks
  • Lymph node pain
  • Reduced concentration skills
  • Energy change
  • Stomach pain, nausea
  • Digestive complaints (bloating, diarrhoea)
  • Insomnia

Manager's disease

Manager’s disease develops as a result of chronic stress in the long term. It is named after the high proportion of managers in middle and senior management positions. Of course, anyone with chronic stress-related illness can be affected, not exclusively by the managers themselves. Burnout syndrome and managerial disease, described in detail below, are often accompanied by each other. It is important to seek the help of a specialist in the treatment of managerial disease, since its long-term health-damaging effect is significant.

Symptoms of the Manager’s disease:

  • Irritability
  • Reduced stress management capacity
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Anger management problems
  • Unjustified mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased cognitive and physical performance
  • Anxiety
  • Head and back pain
  • Stomach pains
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Alopecia
  • Decreased libido
  • Appearance of cardiovascular probl

Burnout syndrome

Burnout syndrome is a condition that develops as a result of long-standing work-related distress. Harm in the workplace leads to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion that causes a decrease in the employee's performance and motivation. As a result of overloading, the worker questions his abilities and feels helpless. Although burnout can appear in any field, however, in employment areas where stress exposure is significant, the appearance of burnout syndrome is more common. Thus, doctors, ambulance officers, psychologists, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, teachers, middle and senior managers are at increased risk of burnout syndrome.

Burnout usually has the following stages:

  1. Idealism: In the early stages of enthusiasm, it is common to set unrealistic goals. Initial enthusiasm and a quick acquisition of skills to fill a new job further enhance the initial enthusiasm.
  2. Realism: The learning curve flattens over time, as the acquisition of complex working skills requires more time and energy. This can lead to a decrease in initial enthusiasm.
  3. Stagnation: At the stage of stagnation, the work performance does not increase, so the employee does not experience any development.
  4. Frustration: The desire to improve performance leads to a breakdown in the work-life balance. Working hours are increasing while privacy is being overshadowed. Lower than expected performance causes further distress.
  5. Apathy: In the last stage of burnout, pleasant feelings caused by work are eliminated, social needs decrease and the symptoms described below appear.

Symptoms of burnout:

  • Frustration
  • Intolerance
  • Anger management problems
  • Indifference, disinterest
  • Apathy
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Self-esteem problem
  • Reduced performance
  • Feeling of inner emptiness
  • Hopelessness


Exhaustion can be physical, mental and emotional. Exhaustion occurs in our lives at a time when we have to perform a multitude of tasks that involve great strain. Strenuous work, a challenging school environment and a competitive work environment can easily lead to exhaustion.

Symptoms of exhaustion:

  • Slow motion
  • Hand tremor
  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Weakness, energy change
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Eye dazzle
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Decrease in concentration skills
  • Reduced memory skills

Several chronic diseases can cause exhaustion. Below we have collected the most common diseases that can act as causes.

Diseases that can cause exhaustion:

  • Iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases (high and low blood pressure)
  • Depression, chronic anxiety


4 things to fight fatigue with

Change your sleep patterns

The health-preserving effect of sleep can not be emphasized enough. Adequate quality and amount of sleep is not only one of the most effective weapons in the fight against fatigue but also plays a role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. To help sleep combat exhaustion follow the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s (AASM) sleep hygiene rules:

  • Establish a sleep routine, i.e. strive to go to bed at the same time seven days a week, including weekends. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time with a maximum deviation of +/- 20 minutes.
  • Avoid sleeping during the day
  • If you get up during the night and are unable to sleep back, do not stay in bed for more than 10-15 minutes! Get out of bed and sit for 10-15 minutes, avoid using your TV or computer! This can help you get sleepy again soon.
  • Do not use smartphones, laptops, tablets or other electronic devices in bed. Avoid watching TV from bed.
  • Make sure your caffeine intake does not exceed 400 mg daily. Since caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours, try to avoid drinking tea, coffee and energy drinks in the afternoon!
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption

Have a balanced diet

In order for your body to be able to cope with everyday challenges, it is essential to provide your body with the necessary nutrients. With the right intake of micro and macronutrients, you can take care of the fuel needed to overcome tiring days. The following tips can help make your diet one of the cornerstones of the fight against exhaustion.

  • Your diet should contain enough calories! This requires the calculation of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). You can do this with many online calculators.
  • Minimize the consumption of processed foods! Choose unprocessed foods rich in vitamins and minerals instead!
  • Consume enough dietary fiber.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose whole grains.
  • Avoid consuming added sugar.
  • Choose low glycemic index (GI index) carbohydrate sources.
  • Avoid foods rich in saturated and trans fats.
  • Drink enough fluids. Sufficient water consumption is 1 liter per 20 kg body weight per day.

Strive for a work-life balance.

To avoid unpleasant symptoms caused by exhaustion, maintaining a work-life balance is essential. There are a number of innovative digital tools available to reduce workloads.

Seek medical help!

If you feel that despite following the above tips, you can not treat the symptoms of exhaustion alone, then it is worth seeking the help of a specialist. Health effects of exhaustion, chronic fatigue, managerial illness and burnout syndrome can lead to serious consequences. If necessary, consult your GP, who will refer you to the appropriate specialist clinic, or a psychologist who will provide professional assistance.

The Blue Colibri App provides easy, fast and instant communication across your organization. The application interface allows segmented communication. We may send content specifically, addressed to certain groups of employees, or even to the organization as a whole. Its interface is user-friendly and easy to learn. Thanks to the statistics, the efficiency of internal communication can be measured, based on detailed analyses and reports, the employee experience and the internal communication strategy can be developed. The app can help workers do their jobs more efficiently and maintain work-life balance.