We live in a time-starved world where many healthcare professionals are stuck in a state of fatigue and frustration as they try to manage their time and energy at work - and burnout has become the norm.
The cycle of burnout is a syndrome that has physical, psychological and spiritual components. It shows up as chronic physical exhaustion, cynicism, self-doubt, professional inefficacy and uncertainty about one’s purpose and direction in life.
Time is a resource that we all have a relationship with and as human beings we only have so much time and energy to give. When we feel like we’re always running up against the clock, with little to no energy to spare, we run the risk of chronic tension, anxiety, depression, and a decrease in the quality of our relationships.
As a result, we can feel overwhelmed and powerless. We lose touch with our aspirations for being a helping professional and we work on overdrive, pushing ourselves to our limits to stay on top of what already feels impossible. The uncertainty of how much longer we can sustain this way of being and working diminishes any sense of hope for change.
Before I got into the helping profession, I worked as Fisheries Biologist in Alaska. For 10 years, I lived remote with very little access to technology. The demands of my job were dictated more by the seasons and weather patterns than anything else. I learned important life skills such as grit and resilience and a connection to something much greater than myself that I can’t even explain. This become my inner power source, a true source of strength and inspiration that fueled my career aspirations at the time and helped me manage the physical demands of my job and psychological impact of living remote.
When I left Alaska and returned to the lower 48 to pursue a career change in healthcare, I had to go through a reintegration process. This process required me to learn how to manage my time and energy in a world where everything seemed to be moving so fast. I no longer felt like I had an an abundance of time and I was being pulled in several directions at once. As result of the increased work demands, I was forced to learn new skills and strategies to survive, so that I didn’t drain my main power source.
Although I believed that every new step was a challenge and an opportunity to be empowered, I lost touch with my aspirations. As result, my main power source got drained and my grit and resilience weren’t enough to keep me from getting caught in the cycle of burnout.
I’ve been there many times and didn’t even know it, because I thought it was just that I wasn’t strong enough or smart enough or competitive enough to make it work. I thought that simply changing the environment that exposed me to situations where burnout was caused would be enough for me to recover, but this wasn’t enough. I knew I had to find a way to plug back into my internal power source, in order to restore the energy that I’d lost.
Here are the 3 things that I did to begin to break free from the cycle of burnout.
Breaking out of the cycle of burnout and getting onto the right path towards resilience is essential for healthcare professionals who are stuck in fatigue and frustration from trying to manage the demands of their job. If you are a healthcare professional experiencing signs of burnout, I want to encourage you to get support.
Healing begins when we can reclaim our power, own our time and tap back into our greatest aspirations. Then we can do the work we’re meant to do, feeling fully powered up with an improved sense of wellbeing and overall greater satisfaction in our work life.
Teena Evert, MA, LMFT, CCTC, CCC, GCDF, CDBS is a Certified Career Counselor, Global Career Development Facilitator, Life Coach and Licensed Mental Health Professional. She helps her clients successfully navigate important transitions in their life and career with intention, clarity and purpose. She can help you get unstuck, identify your barriers, and move forward fearlessly into a bright future of your own design.
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