Written by Taylor Davis
"Burnout occurs when passionate committed people become deeply disillusioned with a job or career from which they have previously derived much of their identity and meaning. It comes as the things that inspire passion and enthusiasm are stripped away and tedious or unpleasant things crowd in."
Sound about right?
Burnout can occur anywhere. Too often we see healthcare professionals suffer from this while trying to establish healthy outcomes for others. Unfortunately this burnout can cause the foundation of your life to crumble if you aren’t’ careful. Money, marriage, health – all of it’s connected and can easily stem from burnout.
Sometimes it’s easier to focus on things outside, like patients, instead of what’s needed in your own life. Once you focus on the basics of what’s burning you out, you can create a balanced life.
Signs of Burnout:
- Dread for that activity
- Stress-related health problems like headaches, insomnia, muscle tension
- Always tired
- Work long hours and your work never seems to be finished
- Difficulty concentrating
- Making more mistakes than usual
- Decreased productivity, missing deadlines
- Giving up or not setting professional goals
- Conflicts with colleagues or supervisors
- Use of unhealthy coping (alcohol, drugs, food etc.)
The question is, how do you recover? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Graze don’t gorge
Burnout causes the body to stress and a lot of the time that means eating – A LOT – and usually stuff that isn’t good for you. So, feed the urge. Eat more, but eat things that are high in water, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that are good for you.
Sleep until you can breathe
Working around the clock isn’t good. Repeat – is NOT good.
If you want to look smarter at work, sleeping can help with that. Our culture is addicted to being busy – not productive – but if you allow yourself to sleep then your body will give you the ingredients you need to work more efficiently in less time.
Making choices that sustain the deprivation only makes things worse. Don’t take on tasks that require all-nighters and say no to the job that deprives you of oxygen.
Sleep is a necessity, not privilege.
Find fun in exercise
There’s a mind shift to it, no doubt, but that dragging feeling will go away once you start.
Exercise has plenty of health benefits including adding energy, but often too many people let exercise fall by the wayside. Usually that comes from the idea that it’s difficult to start or the expectations of working out everyday. Try it twice a week or three times, but figure out what’s fun for you. Ask yourself if the activity you’re taking part in is fun and if it’s not, try something else.
Take time for the good
Make a list of everything you interact with – tasks, people, places – and write down if they make you feel good, bad or neutral. Be honest and make a note if the good things make you feel tired or overwhelmed, too.
Once you write those down, then write down the same amount of things you enjoy – 20 things you do per day, 20 things you enjoy. Now every time you do something on that list that’s either exhausting, bad or neutral, write down something you enjoy next to it.
If one of your enjoyment activities is reading a book, then take time for that after working half the day. Listen to a podcast while doing the laundry if that’s something you enjoy. Create a balance.
Find some peace
It doesn’t have to be yoga or meditation or journaling. Take a few minutes to sit silently with yourself and unplug from the technology, distractions and people.
Connect with whatever calms you because whatever is burning you out isn’t worth your energy or your health.
Working yourself until you’re sick isn’t worth it. It’s not admirable, dedicated or helpful at all, so why do it? Your profession requires you to help someone thrive, but how can you do that if you aren’t thriving yourself?
Do you suffer from burnout? What can we help with?
Leave a comment below.