Feeling Burnt Out?Jan 01, 2022
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
It’s important to understand what burnout is and how to recognize its signs and symptoms in ourselves and those around us.
Burnout is defined as a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job or personally from parenting, caregiving, or romantic relationships, and is characterized by three dimensions; exhaustion, cynicism with detachment, and inefficacy (Maslach 2003, Psychology Today, n.d.).
Burnout leaves us feeling exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally. We may dread going to work or managing our personal responsibilities. We may lack the energy to connect with co-workers, customers, family members, and friends. We may begin to feel negatively towards our work and towards others. We may find ourselves avoiding interactions with others and struggling to have empathy or compassion. We may feel sad, anxious, or depressed. We may doubt ourselves and our abilities. We may feel as though we are working hard but not accomplishing much. We may feel that we have lost sight of the joy and meaning in our work and our personal lives.
Since the pandemic, reports of burnout have soared as high as 76% according to a report by Spring Health in late 2020.
There are many factors that contribute to work burnout. They include:
- Job demands
- Poor processes that create inefficiencies
- Insufficient resources
- A lack of autonomy
- Unsupportive organizational culture
- Poor social support
- Diminished meaning in work
- Weak team culture and unreliable teamwork
(Shanafelt & Noseworthy, 2016)
Burnout can also result from having to routinely complete tasks that don’t aligned with our values or conflict with our passion and calling. We are more likely to burn out when we feel we like are not honoring our true selves.
Many researchers view burnout and engagement at opposite ends of a spectrum. When we are engaged, we feel energized, committed, and connected to our work, our teammates, customers, friends, and family. We feel a sense of purpose and meaning in our day-to-day activities and derive satisfaction from being at work, fulfilling our personal responsibilities, and caring for and connecting with others.
*This assessment is modified from the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (Kristensen et.al., 2005)
Scores will range from 7 to 35. A score above 21 indicates that you are experiencing signs of burnout.
STRESS IS DIFFERENT FROM BURNOUT
“Burnout is a result of cumulative stress caused by depletion of a person’s ability to cope with ones’ environment.”
– Montgomery 2014
It is important to remember that stress is different than burnout. Stress is normal and routine. We all experience stress in our lives. That cannot be avoided. Over time chronic stressors at work or at home can cause burnout. Many factors that cause stress are out of our control. Recognizing what is in our control and in our circle of influence are important concepts that empower us and build our personal resiliency. There will always be factors outside of our control that cause stress and hardship for us. Our reaction to those stressors is in our control and how we choose to react can make a big difference. Intentionality and choice are the essence of self-empowerment. Empowerment is one of the four buckets of personal resiliency resources in the HOPE™ Model of Personal Resiliency Resources.
Empowerment comes from within. It is the understanding and belief that we know what to do and that we can get it done. It requires courage, ownership, and dedication. It all starts with an honest look at where we are and where we want to be. We consider our strengths and our opportunities for growth. We find areas that we would like to build and develop. We choose changes that we want to make, habits we will start, and things we will let go. And then, we can commit to accepting ourselves as we are while at the same time honoring our potential to grow.
An important part of empowerment is continually enhancing our relationship with ourselves. We begin to understand our needs, how to best care for and support ourselves. We befriend ourselves. We develop self-compassion. We transform our negative self-talk into understanding, encouragement, and affirmation.
We begin to see our time and energy as precious resources. We use them wisely and in alignment with our life’s purpose. We maximize the impact of our efforts by operating in our circle of control and our circle of influence. We gain self-knowledge, emotional intelligence, and the ability to regulate our moods and emotions. We know ourselves better and are better able to establish meaningful relationships in which we are supported and support others. Our optimism grows because we have confidence in ourselves and the possibilities that lie ahead.
Each category of personal resources in the HOPETM Model can be developed. Building your human connections, strengthening your optimism, connecting with your purpose, and empowering yourself all lie squarely within your control. That is the essence of self-empowerment.
The self-empowerment bucket of resources includes:
- Befriending ourselves
- Honest self-assessment
- Positive self-talk
- Self-care and a healthy lifestyle
- Operating in our circle of control
- Building competencies and having confidence in ourselves and our abilities.
Learn more about the HOPE™ Model of Personal Resiliency
Kristensen, T. S., Borritz, M., Villadsen, E., & Christensen, K. B. (2005). The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory: A new tool for the assessment of burnout. Work & Stress, 19(3), 192-207.
Maslach, C. (2003). Job burnout: New directions in research and intervention. Current directions in psychological science, 12(5), 189-192.aslach 2003.
Burnout. (n.d). www.psychologytoday.com. Retrieved December,23,2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/burnout
Montgomery, A. (2014). The inevitability of physician burnout: implications for interventions. Burnout Research, 1(1), 50-56.
Shanafelt, T. D., & Noseworthy, J. H. (2017, January). Executive leadership and physician well-being: nine organizational strategies to promote engagement and reduce burnout. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 92, No. 1, pp. 129-146). Elsevier.
Beth Guyton is an executive coach and mindfulness facilitator with a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology who is, passionate about creating positive work environments and helping others become their absolute best selves. She is a New Orleans native and well-rooted Dallas transplant who draws on her creative spirit to paint, journal, and make mindfulness simple, easy, and accessible through her work at www.ResiliencyWell.com.
If you have enjoyed this blog and are interested in building your personal resiliency resources, join us for our free First Things First Fridays sessions. The first Friday of every month, we connect for a 15-minute live session designed to offer a little self-care amidst the chaos of life. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube to get our live-streaming notices.