What is burnout?
Burnout can be described as a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped, most often as a result of being emotionally, physically, and mentally stressed for an excessive and/or prolonged amount of time.
This may also be related to the work that one does due to the stress of having unmanageable workloads, being treated unfairly by coworkers/superiors, having confusing job responsibilities, a lack of communication or support from your superiors, and the constant pressure of deadlines.
3 Dimensions of Burnout:
- Exhaustion: feeling worn out, a lack of energy; becoming debilitated, depleted, and fatigued
- Cynicism (or depersonalization): having negative/inappropriate attitudes towards clients, becoming easily irritable, withdrawn
- Low professional efficacy (or reduced personal accomplishment): having reduced productivity/capability, low morale, and inability to cope
- HEALTH: Eat more nutritious food, engage in regular exercise, quit bad habits such as smoking, etc.
- RELAXATION STRATEGIES: Try meditation techniques, take naps, get longer hours of sleep, take hot baths, get massages
- SELF-UNDERSTANDING: Use techniques to help generate better insight on yourself, practice mindfulness, and use counseling and therapy services such as those offered by Thaddeus Resource Center
- COPING SKILLS: Change the response to stress from work using strategies such as time management, organizational skills, and conflict resolution. You may try to imagine new goals and the next steps for you to take in this process
- CHANGES IN WORK PATTERNS: Try to work less by incorporating more breaks into your daily routine, avoid overtime work, and take more time off.
- SOCIAL SUPPORT: Surround yourself around those that make you feel loved, appreciated, and cared for. This can be done with work colleagues and family members. You could even join a support group, like those held by the Thaddeus Resource Center to focus better on areas of your life where you may need more assistance, advice, emotional comfort, or encouragement.
- INTERVENTIONS: It may be a bigger responsibility for organizations and work environments to implement prevention strategies for burnout as the organization's employees experience it. In doing this, workplaces will have a better understanding of exactly what programs of intervention need to be put in place in order to maximize productivity and engagement within a workplace.
Remember that you are able to change your own goals based on what you think works best for you. If it is best for you, try to seek different job opportunities that make you feel more welcomed and have more respect for yourself and your goals. Prioritizing yourself and your needs means being able to analyze which decisions are best for you in the current moment but also for the long run.
Importance of seeking help:
Prevention is often the best strategy to prevent an issue before it becomes a problem. By using coping strategies and relaxation strategies, individuals can tackle some symptoms/signs of burnout and focus on being in the moment. Simple techniques like meditation and getting more hours of sleep help to improve the mental health of individuals experiencing severe amounts of stress.
Building engagement is also another good way to prevent burnout. By building up a social support system, individuals can improve their emotional well-being. Having people surround you that respect you and want the best for you can help you gain more insight into what is best for you and what is causing you harm. As stated before, support groups are great examples of improving your emotional and mental health by being in a community with others who may understand what you are going through.
Organizational intervention may be more productive than individual intervention. Overall, solutions centered around individuals can help to significantly improve the well-being of individuals as it pertains to their personal daily lives. On the other hand, job-centered solutions can help to tackle the more significant issue of individuals who are trying to survive in a capitalist society where profits and productivity seem to matter more than the individuals who produce the work themselves. If organizations take the time to address this increasingly concerning the issue of burnout with intervention strategies, it may improve the way that individuals interact with the workplace environment.
In the end, we need to focus on what we can do for ourselves, which is when we must take the initiative to seek resources and organizations, such as Thaddeus, that work with people to try to improve different aspects of their social-personal lives.
Author: Lupita Padilla
Editor: Alanna O'Neill