Boreout: The most important questions and answers

Boreout: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

A boreout is a clinical picture that should not be despised, which can arise from under-challenged and disinterest at work or at school. As the term already suggests, a boreout is the opposite of burnout, i.e. being overwhelmed. The symptoms and consequences of this syndrome are not all that different(3,9).

A boreout, like other clinical pictures, deserves special attention. But you are not on your own. Help and therapy can help you get out of the doldrums so you can enjoy your work again. In the following article you will find all the important information and tips about boreout syndrome (1,3,4).

the essentials in brief

  • A boreout is caused by boredom, disinterest and under-challenged at work, at home, in the hospital bed, during pregnancy, or at school(9).
  • A boreout can result in severe depression, insomnia and depression. A boreout should therefore always be treated and not taken lightly(3).
  • Boreout is by no means uncommon and burdens many of us. Professional coaching can help you to get out of the negative spiral(3,4).

Definition: What is a Boreout?

While a boreout is a fairly modern term, it is by no means a new phenomenon. A boreout is about the lack of challenge, demotivation and boredom at work, at school or in special circumstances such as pregnancy or illness. Boreout should not be equated with laziness, since those affected actually want to work(2).

Man is sitting at the laptop

twiddling my thumbs instead of being productive. Boreout sufferers want to work, but their lack of interest and lack of challenge prevent them from doing so (Image source: NordWood Themes / Unsplash)

The boreout as a clinical picture is currently being discussed more by the media than by doctors. However, this is only the counterpart of a burnout.

A boreout can even turn into a burnout (3).

Due to the lack of challenge, boredom and disinterest, those affected get into a negative spiral with inhibitions, inner resignation and special behavioral strategies. A boreout can only be spoken of if all three elements occur simultaneously and for a longer period of time (4).

Background: What you should know about Boreout

On our website we give you tips for treatments and assistance. But before we get to these topics, you should acquire some important background information on the subject of boreouts.

We want to answer these frequently asked questions for you in the following paragraphs.

What causes a boreout are there anyway?

Most of the reasons for a boreout arise when choosing a job or school and university. If there is not enough agreement between a person and their job or school, also known as a mismatch, this results in a qualitative over- or under-challenge. If the challenge is too low, we speak of Boreout(3).

This sub-demand is in turn made up of various reasons:

Ground Explanation
labour market the labor market pushes people into unsuitable work and school areas for fear of unemployment(5)
monotonous tasks Individual interest and creativity can often not be lived out through a 0815 task(3)
Lack of self-confidence due to a lack of self-responsibility and trust in oneself when choosing a career and school, wrong decisions are made and positions are accepted that actually do not suit one(4)
Little appreciation Employees and students are imperceptibly motivated by compliments. As soon as one task is completed after the other and no one is interested in how quickly and well it was completed, interest and motivation also decrease.

The perception of time, exit inhibitions and fake workloads are also causes of a boreout. With fixed working hours, boredom increases if there are no more jobs to do(3).

Reluctance to quit your job or change schools is great because it involves more work. By feigning stress, those affected prevent their work from being stopped or saved. Thus, their job remains (4).

What are the symptoms of a boreout?

Although a boreout is often described as the opposite of a burnout, the symptoms of a boreout are very similar. In most cases, those affected complain of:

  • dejection
  • depressions
  • insomnia
  • listlessness (3)

However, various other symptoms can also occur: stomach upset, headache, dizziness, susceptibility to infections or tinnitus(4).

When such symptoms occur, sufferers use special strategies to avoid showing it, but this only makes the symptoms worse. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to escape from such a negative spiral(3).

How do I recognize a boreout?

If you're worried you might be suffering from a boreout, here are some questions you can answer with either yes or no to test yourself. Of course, these are only possible indications of a boreout. Still, it can help determine if you have it or are at risk.

  • Fun : Do you not enjoy your work and the tasks entrusted to you?
  • Unimportant : Do you find your contribution to work unimportant?
  • Underchallenged : Are you always bored and underchallenged at work or school?
  • Personal matters at work : Do you take care of personal matters at work and school?
  • Exhausted : Are you exhausted at the end of the day even though you weren't stressed?
  • Pastime : Does time pass slowly at work?
  • Internal resignation : Do you wish to change jobs and quit?
  • Procrastination : Do you sometimes work extra slowly to avoid extra tasks?
  • Pretend : Are you just pretending you're busy?

If you answer yes to some or more of these questions, it may be that you are underchallenged and your work does not match your interests and skills 100%. You should be careful as there could also be a boreout. In any case, you should consider whether you want to continue like this or change something(5.9">.

Which people and groups are particularly at risk?

A boreout can happen to any of us, whether at work, at school, at home, or in the hospital. This can be caused by various reasons, but disinterest, boredom and under-challenged play the most important role.

In our article, we differentiate between boreout at work and school and in special cases, such as pregnancy and working from home, for example triggered by the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020.

Boreout at school and at work

Boreout is particularly common among people in the work and school world. Monotonous work processes in particular are grounds for a boreout. That is why it can also affect each and every one of us. It is therefore all the more important to find an apprenticeship and job that interests us and fulfills us.

Bored man sitting at the laptop

Boredom and disinterest can strongly affect our whole everyday life and destroy our joy at work (Image source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)

Treadmill and housework are like fodder for boreouts due to monotonous and standardized workflows. However, such work can lead to under-demanding states of mental exhaustion (1). It is therefore particularly important in these two areas to ensure variety and change.

Boreout in pregnancy

9 months can be a long time if boredom and demotivation are tormenting you. Boreouts are also common in pregnancy. Initially, many mothers continue to work in their profession. As soon as the months get longer, the work pauses. Initially felt to be very pleasant, forced leave can develop into the opposite over time.

Due to the amount of free time and non-employment, it can sometimes even come to a boreout. The danger of a boreout is particularly high for highly qualified women who give up their jobs for a longer period of time(7).

Boreout in the home office

It affected many of us in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are talking about the home office, i.e. working from home. Many of us are still traumatized by the high level of insecurity, isolation and new and unfamiliar measures. The additional boredom at home and the threat outside increased the susceptibility to boreouts for many (6).

Depending on the company or school, the familiarization phase sometimes took a different amount of time and required a lot of patience and attention. As a result, however, many students and employees became bored and slipped more and more into disinterest (6).

Boreout: Treatment and Help

In order to treat a boreout and also to take preventive action against it, you can take different measures. We have selected the most important and efficient therapy methods for you. However, you must decide which ones suit you best and can help you.

These are broken down in more detail in the following paragraphs.

Therapy against boreout

In the case of a boreout, there are several options that can help you overcome the boreout. Many experts recommend psychotherapeutic therapies and talks, but other measures such as breathing therapy and other alternative means can also help(4.5">.

Coaching is particularly important in all types of therapy, i.e. the development and stabilization of awareness, communication and energy(5). More on the different methods in the sections on psychotherapy and homeopathy.


Depending on the severity of the boreout, various elements from depression and stress management are used in psychotherapeutic treatment. It is particularly important to have deep and honest conversations between therapists and those affected. The focus of treatment is on work and school life(4,8,11">.

Furthermore, during the treatment, practice talks for the world of work and school are usually practiced, so that those affected can better respond to their needs with their employers. Conflicts and appropriate conversations are also practiced in order to make the patients stronger and more self-confident. This type of coaching allows many boreout sufferers to be treated well and quickly(5).

In the table above you can see the advantages and disadvantages of psychotherapy compared to treating symptoms with medication such as antidepressants.

Homeopathy and Healing Practice

Coaching by non-medical practitioners can also be very helpful in a boreout. Treatments like these are structured similarly to psychotherapeutic ones. However, naturopaths focus more on the body, mind and soul in the discussions and treatments.

This creates new clarity with newly aligned goals and strategies. In this way, those affected receive new energy to get out of the destructive pattern of the boreout and new self-confidence to change the negative to the positive (8).

job and school changes

The results of the treatments prompt those affected to change something in their work and school life. Discussions with employers and HR managers are essential. Work tasks should be tailored to the individual and congruent with their interests. This prevents boredom, disinterest and frustration.

img src="" alt="Two men will do">

Sometimes it makes sense to look for a job that better suits you and your qualities. Then boredom disappears and the joy of working comes back (Image source: Sebastian Herrmann / Unsplash)

If an adjustment at work or at school is not the best possible, those affected should think about changing jobs or schools. Because, even if the workload is greater in the short term, looking for something new can help to be able to work happier and more motivated in the long term(4).

prevention and prevention

A boreout can be treated well and fairly quickly with therapies and coaching, but it shouldn’t get that far. In order to prevent preventive boreouts, important changes should be implemented at the societal level (3). Some important preventive measures are:

measure Explanation
Matching tasks At work, but also in schools and universities, assignments should match the interests of the people
job postings Jobs must correspond exactly to the field of activity according to the description in which an employee will later work. This creates a dissonance.
conversations Discussions and appraisal interviews are also important for better communication.
contact person Misunderstandings or problems can be clarified immediately through individual contact persons per department, or even teachers, which prevents worse situations.
Choosing school and work out of prestige In good times and bad, jobs or schools should not be chosen solely for prestige and reputation. The choice must absolutely harmonize with personal qualifications and interests, otherwise a boreout can quickly arise.


Measures like these can prevent a mismatch between employees and students regarding their jobs and school places, and thus a boreout in a broader sense.


Boreout is an underestimated phenomenon, although it is no less harmless than burnout. On the contrary, the symptoms and consequences are even very similar to identical. Not being challenged, lack of interest and boredom at work, at school or at home are not to be taken lightly. A boreout can make everyday life difficult for you(10.4">.

That's why it's all the more important to act preventively and certainly not to choose a job or school that doesn't interest you. It doesn't matter whether it's out of prestige, fear of not finding another job or not looking for anything better out of laziness - you should think carefully about whether and why you choose a job. If there has already been a boreout, let experts help and coach you so that you can enjoy working and learning again.


  1. Excessive and insufficient demands at work: burnout and boreout; Viviane Scherenberg; March 2014, pp. 16.e1-16.e3
  2. fatigue in burnout and boreout; Toni Brühlmann; Rev Med Suisse. 2015 Apr 22;11(471):923-6.
  3. Boreout - biographies of under-challenge and boredom: a sociological analysis; Elizabeth Prammer; Springer Verlag; Wiesbaden 2013
  4. diagnosis bore out; Peter R. Werder and Philippe Rothlin; Redline Publishing; 2007
  5. Boreout instead of burnout: A mental illness triggered by boredom, under-challenged and disinterest at work; Lisa Gunthner; Diplomica Verlag 2014
  6. Corona isolation leads to boreout risk, by expert Ruth Stock-Homburg; Benjamin Fischer; Frankfurter Allgemeine; 03/26/2020
  7. Boreout with mothers, and always changing diapers with expert Katrin Kaden; Jessica Prince;; May 24, 2018
  8. Natural medicine from the patient's point of view, depth psychological study by the rheingold institute on behalf of PASCOE;
  9. Boreout Syndrome: Explained and What Employers & Employees Can Do; gentleman's attitude; Lars Ehrlich
  10. Internal resignation through bore-out?: Investigation of the connection between under-challenge and willingness to perform at work; Daniel Beye; Grin Publishers; 2009
  11. Stress that is harmful to health due to excessive or insufficient demands - fatigue with burnout and boreout; Toni Brühlmann; Outpatient Center Zurich; Hohenegg Private Clinic, Miles; 2015
Back to blog
Vorheriger Beitrag

Nächster Beitrag

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.