September 9, 2013
Professionals in fields with highly stressful jobs face burnout, including human services. The objective of this paper is to identify what burnout is, what causes it, and how it can be prevented. This will include personal examples and how the matters were dealt with as well as the overall outcome.
Burnout is defined as a state of exhaustion, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, that an individual experiences when under extreme stress (J. Lewis, 2007). Burnout is best described as a gradual process which occurs over a period of time. There are many causes for burnout, some include work, lifestyles and personalities. According to Helpguide.org, a person feels a lack of recognition for what they are doing at work, feel that they are doing the same thing over and over, or work in an environment which offers them little control over their work they are more likely to experience work related burnout. A person who works too much, has unrealistic expectations placed on them by others, takes on more than they can handle, who lacks a group of supportive friends or family may experience a lifestyle caused burnout. A person who has perfectionistic tendencies, has a pessimistic point of view, has a hard time delegating to others and is a high achieving type of person, they can experience burnout caused by personality traits (M. Smith, 2013).
A person who experiences burnout may not realize it for what it is until it has been pointed out to them by another person, many times this is taken negatively until a person’s health begin to demonstrate the symptoms.
The longer a person continues displaying the symptoms without treatment or acknowledgement, the more intense the symptoms become. There are three types of burnout each have signs or symptoms which can be easily identified. Physically a person may show signs of being tired or “drained”, have increased numbers of absences from work or school, and changes in weight or sleep (M. Smith, 2013). Emotionally an individual experiencing burnout may have a sense of failure, loss of motivation, increasingly negative, begin to feel isolated and have a decreased sense of accomplishment. Behaviorally a person may show signs of burnout by withdrawing from their responsibilities, becoming withdrawn socially, taking frustrations out on others, and may begin to abuse food, drugs or alcohol to cope with daily life.
Prevention of burnout is based on the person who is experiencing it. Some people find that adding an exercise routine to their schedule helps, this does not have to be a rigorous activity it can be as simple as taking a daily walk. Other positive ways to prevent burnout are to ensure that you are getting enough sleep, eating a more balanced diet and bringing more relaxation into your life. Accessing your creative side may also be key to preventing burnout, if you are burnt out from work it would be ideal to find a right brain activity that you enjoy, this can include music, art or craft and even cooking. Finding the ability to manage your stress can come from simply telling others no, when they ask something of you, or expressing that you may need assistance in accomplishing a task. Being your own advocate is the best way to prevent burnout.
Personally burnout is an experience I have had, both in work place but also in my personal life.