I've been there too and jumpin is right on all counts:
- it's not an old person thing at all - I was about 30 too. The desire to please, to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, and to do everything asked, is wholly positive until you reach your limit, and everyone a limit.
The problem arrives when you have learnt enough to do anything, and before you realise that you can't to everything
- it takes a long time to come out of - years. My recovery started with the "Don't care anymore" attitude that jumpin referred to; not giving a ****. I think this is a simple defence mechanism that the mind implements (without your agreement) to reduce the pressure. The real recovery is gaining the ability to care again, to be conscientious about, and proud of what you do. Get some help.
Rather disapointed that the article didn't go into how to avoid and deal with the problem yourself. A good manager might be able to recognise the problem and do something about it, but a good manager probably wouldn't let their employee get in that position in the first place. More to the point, it's usually going to be the manager who has the problem, and it will be largely self-inflicted.
If you are the manager, you have to learn to trust your employees and to delegate. Aim for what I regard as the "nirvana" of delegating EVERYTHING so that your employees do EVERYTHING for you and you can just monitor the situation and take the credit! OK, so you won't reach this nirvana, and there are some things like performance reviews that you can't delegate anyway, but aim for it, and you'll be heading in the right direction. And when the **** does hit the fan, you'll be in a position to step in and help out.
For me, the perfect manager is the one who can do everything, but doesn't need to.
jumpin talked about boundaries, and he is right. The "can do" attitude that is often applauded (usually by the people making the demands) is fine if you have the time.
So, learn to say NO. START SAYING NO NOW! Not to everyone, not all the time, but sometimes, where there is a good reason to. If there is a sound reason not to do something, SAY NO NOW, even if you could do it.
An example: "Well, I do have time, but John needs to learn how to do it himself, and perhaps it's a good idea for him to learn this month while things are quiet. Next month I might be too busy to help him and who is going to do it then?"
So to summarise my tips for avoiding burnout:
1. If you are a manager, delegate as much as you can. Start now before it's too late
2. Practise saying No (in a nice way) and start now
Dealing with it
Much more difficult. Probably the main challenge is to realise where you are. If you realise before it is too late, implement the avoiding tactics described above.
If you have already reached the "Don't care anymore" wall, then probably all I can do is wish you good luck, and reassure you that you are now, every day, recovering.