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How to Fix Burnout Whether You’re a Medical Professional or Not

By Sara Butler

How to Fix Burnout

What are the odds that you’ll experience burnout at some point in your professional career? In short, the odds are high. Gallup did a recent survey that found 28 percent of workers said they were burned out more often than not, and 48 percent sometimes feel burned out -- and this was pre-pandemic.

For healthcare workers, teachers, and many other professions, experiencing burnout is something people should be aware of so that it can be turned back every day. How do you know if you’re burned out or quickly approaching it? Most importantly, what can you do to help thwart burnout? There are some strategies we can take from healthcare workers that can serve as a model for everyone. Read on to find out more.

What Is Burnout?

In general, burnout is workplace stress that cannot be successfully managed and begins to have a physical and mental impact on the person. It’s such a widespread occurrence that the World Health Organization has begun to recognize it as an occupational phenomenon.

You may think that burnout is simply feeling stressed out by your job, but it takes its toll in many ways, with actual symptoms associated with it. Depression, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, and addiction can all be ways that burnout manifests itself, but feelings of negativity about your workplace, and dreading going to work can also be signs that burnout is starting to rear its ugly head in your life.

Questions to Ask Yourself

The Mayo Clinic has worked hard to help employees, especially in the medical field, to avoid burnout. To that end, they’ve developed these questions to help people assess if they’re approaching burnout or not. Ask yourself:

  • Have you become critical or cynical at work?
  • Are you impatient or irritable with customers, clients, or co-workers?
  • Do you have trouble getting started or have to drag yourself to work each day?
  • Are you having trouble being consistently productive due to a lack of energy?
  • Are you having difficulty concentrating?
  • Are you satisfied with your professional achievements?
  • Is your job making you feel disillusioned?
  • Do you use alcohol, drugs, or food to feel better about work or to avoid thinking about work?
  • Are your sleep habits different?

How to Stomp Out Burnout

Several strategies have been put into practice by hospitals and other healthcare facilities to help their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers to avoid burnout. In reality, these techniques can be used by anyone in any profession to help them deal with feelings of burnout. Some techniques you can use include:

  • Bonding with colleagues - If you’re experiencing difficult situations at work, then reach out to colleagues to discuss them. Feelings of isolation will only intensify burnout, so make sure to reach out so that you don’t feel so alone. After all, if you’re feeling the way you are, chances are high many co-workers are struggling with the same.
  • Constantly re-evaluate - Don’t lose sight of your life priorities. Think about the different areas of your life, such as your career, hobbies, or family life, as if they’re pieces of a giant pie. Cut the pie in half with one half representing how your life is sliced and how you’d like it to be sliced. You can work to prevent burnout by attempting to tailor your day to day activities in a way that reflects how you want your pie to be sliced, not how it actually is. Make time each day to do things that are important to you to help create a balance.
  • Talk it out - Employers often have employee wellness programs that provide counseling. You may want to take advantage of this outside of speaking with friends, family, and colleagues to help talk things out. Employers should also work to foster a more supportive work environment and listen to your concerns.

Next Steps

The first step you need to take it to figure out if you’re burned out or not. You can complete this Burnout Potential Inventory checklist to see if you are experiencing burnout. That way, you can create a plan of action to help you deal with it effectively and keep going -- hopefully, more healthily and happily.

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