What is burn-out?

 

 

Are you not feeling the usual bounce in your heel when you go to work? As a therapist, do you dread the hours hearing of other people’s problems? Whether you’re a play therapist, marriage therapist, counselor or social worker you have to deal with burnout

 

Before, you feel excited to go to work; but in time, you continuously need to remind yourself of reasons to go to work. Your idealism has faded away. You may want to seek a professional opinion. You have burn-out.Do you feel like you had enough of hearing about the same problems even from different people? Do you always feel tired and unfulfilled?

 

 

 

Burn-out is exclusively a phenomenon occurring in the workplace. According to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), such a phenomenon is primarily related to the work environment. Moreso, it is not related to other facets of life. You may feel sad or demotivated from problems at home. However, being separated from a spouse is not a cause for a burn-out. Also, losing all belongings in a flood will technically, not lead to a burn-out.

ICD-11 defines burn-out as “…a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Burn-out is further described as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” Again, the terms job and professional indicate burn-out as something to do ent ely in the workplace.

There are differences in stress and burn-out. Generally, stress cannot be prevented. While stress produces a sense of urgency, being burned out leads to helplessness. Also, constant stress may lead to an anxiety disorder. Burn-out may lead to depression. The loss of energy that occurs with stress is a loss of ideals in burn-out. As for a flurry of emotions overreacting in cases of stress, expect emotions to be underreacting in a burn-out.

 

Burn-out Statistics

 

 

According to Gallup, a management consulting company in Washington, 23 percent of employees feel always burned out. And 44 percent of employees feel sometimes burned out. This survey results to around 67 percent or roughly two-thirds of employees who experience varying levels of burn-out.

 

 

A person feeling burned out will create a downward domino effect on his or her coworkers. While being upbeat, inspired, or motivated can create a positive environment, being down and uninspired can also create a negative environment. A person who talks only about negative things is likely to spur or encourage other similar persons to speak of negative things. Before you know it, a negative environment is cultured in the workplace. Motivation is crushed and productivity drops down. More importantly, people are tired of hearing negative things. Sometimes, problems with a relationship or at home are more than enough for a person. A person cultivating and initiating negativity may likely face backlash from his or her coworkers, further demotivating this person. A burned-out person is more than twice likely to leave their current employer, Gallup reports.

 

The families and friends of the person feeling burned out are likely to feel it too. A negative environment is home to more conflict, resentment, and anger. Consequently, an angry person is less likely to communicate. Constant anger will lead to consistent stress.

 

Stress requires energy. A person who is stressed may eat more food or eat less of it. Also, when stress is consistent, blood pressure spikes up. High blood pressure may lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. Worse, Gallup further reports that persons being burned-out is 23 percent more likely to be rushed into the emergency room. As a consequence, a significant 125 USD billion to 190 USD billion costs in health care is attributed to burn-out.

 

Burn-out causes

 

 

In July 2018, Gallup investigated the causes of burn-out from employees’ point of view. These causes are unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support of the manager, and unreasonable time pressure.

In July 2018, Gallup investigated the causes of burn-out from employees’ point of view. These causes are unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support of the manager, and unreasonable time pressure.

 

 

Unfair treatment at work, listed by Gallup, consists of administrators or managers having bias and favoritism. Unfair practices are also cited as having unfair compensation or policies. Sometimes, feelings of oppression or mistreatment by a co-worker may also account for burn-out. An example of unfairness is old clients who refuse to pay their bills. Sometimes, it is the staff mistreating the therapist. Staff may feel entitled as they think that they are more qualified for better compensation.

 

Further, some employees become demotivated when they deliver poor performance. When a therapist learns that their patient is spiraling downward, they may blame themselves of the situation. As an effect, they may become disheartened in helping others out, especially with a similar condition. Also, not knowing what are expected to do at work is another cause as it leaves employees feeling unfulfilled. Some therapists may become flabbergasted of a patient’s condition.

 

This may result in not knowing what to do with the patient. It is also difficult to measure progress when a therapist is uninformed and unaware of a condition, leading to unfulfillment.

 

Another cause of employees feeling unfulfilled is having a negligent or confrontational manager. Employees are left feeling uninformed and defensive. When a therapist does not know how to manage a difficult situation in-session, he or she becomes defensive. Being defensive leads to a narrower perspective.

 

Lastly, employees are highly overwhelmed by what they see as unreasonable deadlines. Their unfinished work becomes bigger and bigger over time. Known as the snowball effect, unfinished work piles up until it almost becomes impossible to finish it all.

 

 

 

Burn-out symptoms

 

 

According to Mayo Clinic, a worker that becomes cynical or critical may be burned out. Whatever idealism may have spurred you to help others is not enough motivation anymore. Gradually, you see these ideals as something not worth doing most of your time for. Every small problem is expanded exponentially to rationalize your unfulfillment somehow. You feel underpaid.

 

You review the week’s events and dread going to work. You know that you will be doing the same thing over and over again. Before working, you become irritable or impatient with clients. Lacking the energy to be productive, you pick at random thoughts and concentrate on things that will make you feel better. At the end of the day, you accomplish little.

 

You bring your work at home and extend your me-time and family-time to finish it. You feel like a career martyr – underpaid and overworked or worse, a career criminal – covering an illegal activity with another one. And you spend late nights at the office, away from your loved ones. This takes a toll on your work. You convince yourself that your work is beneficial for you, but the opposite is the truth. Away from loved ones, your sacrifice has taken a toll on your lifestyle and health.

 

Some symptoms of burn-out is initiating negativity and nurturing it. You turn to different people for constant validation if your actions are right because deep in your heart, you know it is wrong. You become obsessed with work or a person. You even consider illegal activities to make yourself feel better. Because of this, you have difficulty falling asleep. You feel trapped. You turn to drugs, alcohol, and food. And the cycle continues. Later on, years have passed, and this belief has not changed at all. Your children have grown, with you being consumed by anger and bitterness. You might’ve well missed their childhood. You have not changed at all.

 

 

Burn-out tips

 

If you are feeling burned out, try these tips.

 

 

01) Assess your resources

 

 

To make your workflow efficient, assess resources. Seeking professional support from other therapists may be helpful if you feel like you are being affected more than you allow. You can also ask advice from your family and friends. Strategies to promote positive thinking includes learning helpful habits and unlearning harmful habits. A constant reminder also works whenever you feel like you are about to be negatively affected.

 

Arts and crafts are handy too. It may relax your mind. If you like sewing, why not try it again? Studies show that when you are busy with your hands, it may ease your mind. This may be the perfect timing to try your hand on pottery or leathercrafting. In time, you can form a group that shares the same hobbies and eventually, maybe earn from it.

 

 

02) Try small breaks

 

A 5 to 10-minute break in between clients will help you refocus. This break will help you step back a little and see the bigger picture. You can do meditation exercises, listen to your favorite music, or think happy thoughts. Compassion fatigue is tiring but these short breaks can ground you to reality. These small breaks may seem insignificant, but they do a world of difference.

 

 

 

03) Set your priorities

 

 

Granted, income from work pays the bills. But work is not the most important thing in the world. Your work should help you grow into your chosen career. Always think legal as well. It is difficult to grow professionally if you are in jail. Also, be aware of your limits. When you feel as if you are getting tired, think of satisfying work memories or experiences. As a professional, you should be conscious of your reactions during sessions. As best as possible, try to be non-judgmental. Your clients came to you for a reason and one of those reasons is not to be judged.

 

 

04) Move around

 

If you feel that it is getting difficult to move around, this may be a sign of burn-out. This is the time that you should try harder to move more. Try to do cardiovascular exercises such as biking or do burpees. It is difficult if you are not doing it regularly, but it will get easier. If today you can only do the exercise for seconds, then tomorrow add more seconds to it. You will be surprised by what you can achieve by the end of the year. The key is doing something different, which is to actually start. If you don’t do something different, you will stay in the same place and will have the same set of principles and activities for years.

 

 

 

05) Go offline

 

To make your workflow efficient, assess resources. Seeking professional support from other therapists may be helpful if you feel like you are being affected more than you allow. You can also ask advice from your family and friends. Strategies to promote positive thinking includes learning helpful habits and unlearning harmful habits. A constant reminder also works whenever you feel like you are about to be negatively affected.

 

Arts and crafts are handy too. It may relax your mind. If you like sewing, why not try it again? Studies show that when you are busy with your hands, it may ease your mind. This may be the perfect timing to try your hand on pottery or leathercrafting. In time, you can form a group that shares the same hobbies and eventually, maybe earn from it.

 

 

06) Seek social support

 

When you seek social support, try to see the situation on a different perspective. While it may be nice to have the same exact thoughts as your friend, keep in mind that your friend is only human. Your friend is not a god however update he or she is. He or she can make mistakes too.

 

While it may be nice to unwind with your buddies once in a while, remember that your friends, just as your clients, make mistakes too. Try not to judge what other persons are saying however convincing they may especially be, even if you do not know the whole story. Remember, your client is speaking to you on his or her side of the story. Always keep an open mind.

 

07) Seek nonjudgmental persons

 

 

 

When you seek social support, try to see the situation on a different perspective. While it may be nice to have the same exact thoughts as your friend, keep in mind that your friend is only human. Your friend is not a god however update he or she is. He or she can make mistakes too.

 

While it may be nice to unwind with your buddies once in a while, remember that your friends, just as your clients, make mistakes too. Try not to judge what other persons are saying however convincing they may especially be, even if you do not know the whole story. Remember, your client is speaking to you on his or her side of the story. Always keep an open mind.

 

 

08) Always give a choice

 

Even persons with disability have a choice. There is a reason why using force is illegal. You don’t want it done to you either. Whatever the choice your client makes, you should respect it. As a therapist, offering sincere options instead of admonishing a person what to think may be more welcoming.

 

 

09) Be self-aware

 

If you are burned-out, one of the reasons may be is you are guilty of something that you did in work, may be even years ago. If you did a mistake and many persons have been harmed because of it, face it. Your liability is yours alone. You may think you know everything because of the technology nowadays, but you don’t.

 

Things are not as they appear. You may be surprised. It takes a great deal of humility and courage to not only admit you are wrong and also to not do it again. If you face the consequences with an open heart, you will be amazed at the results and finally have peace of mind.

 

10) Inspire your community positively

 

When you inspire others, make sure that it is positive, sincere, and of course, legal. Your actions define you. You may come across as someone that would save the community, but the constant negative words that you say to drag others down would make others do a double take. You may be doing charity and may be helping the community a great deal, but just murdered someone earlier.

 

If you are sincere with your intentions to help and have no ill motives toward anyone, the community will help you. At the same note, being hateful has its drawbacks, however sincere you may be. Not everybody would want to hear constant negative words about anyone

 

 

11) Outsource some activities

 

 

When your client base grow, you cannot do all activities at the same time. While you may want to do everything on your own, it may be time to trust other people to do some of your job, especially if you are in private practice. There are a lot of experts. Some of them can do your books for you. Even some companies offer marketing consultancy packages that can help your practice grow. You may be surprised how outsourcing some of these activities may reduce costs and save time.

 

Try to wear your client’s shoes. Instead of always giving advice, why not assess yourself and truly listen for a while? If you are sincere with your intention to help and are not seeking other’s mistakes to make yourselves better, perhaps things will get a turn for the better.

 

Self-awareness is paramount in assessing if you have burn-out. When you are self-aware, you know your limits. When you realize that you have burnout, it may be time to take a temporary step back from it all. You will return with a calmer mind and a stronger heart.

 

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