Preventing Burnout

What is Burnout?

Burnout is characterized by the triad of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of accomplishment in one’s occupation (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996).burnout

  • Emotional exhaustion includes emotional depletion and work-related exhaustion.
  • Depersonalization is the degree to which an individual is detached or the degree that an individual treats other with an impersonal response.
  • Personal accomplishment is the feelings of achievement or competence related to one’s work.

According to Smith’s (1986) cognitive affective model, burnout develops as a result of chronic exposure to stress as a result of a long-term perceived inability to meet situational demands.

Consequences Associated with School Burnout (Gardner, 2014)

  • sleep deprivation
  • change in eating habits
  • increased illness due to weakened immune system
  • difficulty concentrating and poor memory/attention
  • lack of productivity
  • poor performance
  • avoidance of responsibilities
  • loss of enjoyment

Signs of Burnout

  • Physical
    • Feeling tired most of the time
    • Lowered immunity
    • Frequent headaches, back pain, or muscle aches
    • Change in appetite or sleep habits
  • Emotional
    • Self-doubt
    • Feeling helpless and hopeless
    • Detachment
    • Decreased motivation
    • Increasingly negative outlook
    • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
  • Behavior
    • Withdrawing from responsibilities
    • Isolation
    • Procrastination
    • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
    • Taking out frustration on otheres
    • Skipping class – or coming in late or leaving early

Information adapted from

Stages of Burnout (Szigethy, 2014)

  • Stage One- Milder Symptoms
    • Mental fatigue at the end of the day
    • Feeling unappreciated, frustrated, or tenseburnout2
    • Physical aches or pains
    • Feel like you are falling behind in work
    • Dread the next day
  • Stage Two – Longer lasting symptoms
    • More challenging to reverse symptoms
    • Disillusionment about the job
    • Feeling bored, apathetic, or frustrated
    • Feel ruled by a schedule
    • Intermittent periods of psychological/physical symptoms that last even when the provoking situation subsides
    • Psychological symptoms
      • Irritability, aggression, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts
  • Stage Three – Severe
    • Chronic symptoms
    • If left untreated, can evolve into psychiatric and physical health disorders
    • Severe personal consequences
      • Substance dependence
      • Shorter life expectancy
      • Divorce
      • High job turnover

Preventing Burnout

  • Early recognition of burnout and related risks
    • self-denial can occur
  • Cultivate ability to self-reflect
    • attend to your own needs
    • realign goals and expectations for yourselfexercise2
    • Evaluate a typical weekly schedule and reduce or eliminate unnecessary items
  • Complete a periodic assessment and realignment of goals, skills, and work passions
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Include daily enjoyable “timeouts”, such as yoga, a hobby, or meditation
  • Build up your professional and personal support system
    • Dedicated family time
    • Meeting with mentors to discuss setbacks, time management strategies, and other perceived barriers
  • Develop resilience!

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Burnout Videos