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What does Burnout look like

What Does Burnout Look Like?

Burnout—a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress—is not simply a result of working long hours. The cynicism, depression, and lethargy that are characteristic of burnout most often occur when a person is not in control of how a job is carried out, at work or at home, or is asked to complete tasks that conflict with their sense of self. Burnout is extremely prevalent in instructors because of the desire to give and help everyone we can. Later we will discuss some more on this.

Equally pressing is working toward a goal that doesn't resonate with their true selves, morals, values, or when a person lacks support. If a person doesn’t work or play to match a true calling, or at least take a break once in a while, they could face burnout. They can also be facing the mountain of mental and physical health problems that often come along with it, including headaches, fatigue, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as increased potential for alcohol, drug, or food misuse.

There is a difference between burnout and plain stress, but sometimes, it can be hard to know what you may be dealing with. It may require taking a step back to look at the overall picture of your work-life. If the feeling is short-lived or tied to a specific project, it's more likely to be stress. If one never feels ready to face one's job or co-workers, or if it feels like achievement has become impossible, it's likely that burnout is looming and change NEEDS to happen NOW.

How to Deal with Burnout

While some work environments may be especially grinding, such as the medical profession or law enforcement, anyone who’s running out of gas can take steps to reduce and reverse the effects of burnout and, if necessary, reevaluate their work life.

To counter burnout, having a sense of purpose, having an impact on others, or feeling as if one is making the world a better place are all extremely valuable. Often, meaningfulness can counteract the negative aspects of a job. Other motivators include autonomy as well as a good, hard challenge.

In my goals blog post I explained how I always have a personal goal, a career goal, and an Impact goal (impacting others/making the world better). These goals help me stay focused, motivated and inspired. All of which gives me meaning and joy which fight burnout! I highly recommend using this strategy to support your mental and physical wellbeing.

Drawing boundaries is also critical. Saying “no”—or “not today,” or “sorry, I can’t”—never comes easily. But recognizing when you have been stretched too far, getting priorities straight, and calmly communicating needs can be an empowering weapon against burnout. This is key for instructors. Have your teaching number of hours in a day and week and stick to them for you!

You are not, nor will you ever be letting someone down by taking care of yourself. You won’t ever be able to help anyone if you are burned out and have lost your passion. You are important and loved by your clients, they will understand and respect your choice to self-care. If they don’t, then they are not the people for you and you will likely feel even lighter to let a source of negativity go in your life.

All of this applies to everyone and not just teachers. If you need to take some time for you, DO IT! You deserve it! You can only give what you have, and if you have burned everything up, then you have nothing to give. One of my personal favorite ways to combat burnout is by meditating and working out. If you’ve never tried meditating then I highly recommend it and will link my other post on it here.

I hope this helped you understand burnout a little more and feel more confident in your ability to make changes and fight it! I believe in you. If you have any comments or want to chat then please contact me! I love to hear from you and answer your questions.

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