Preventing Burnout

No matter how high your risk, there are things you can do to prevent burnout from developing or tightening its hold.

  • Consult with your physician regularly.
  • Improve your emotional and social support system. A network of supportive friends and family can act as a buffer and prevent the burnout cycle from occurring. Develop new friendships based on mutual giving and receiving.
  • Take the initiative at work to start new projects that have personal meaning. Look for creative ways to bring variety to otherwise boring or routine tasks.
  • Develop sources of enjoyment and reward other than your career or occupation. Hobbies, sports activities, recreation, and community events can all be a tremendous source of variety, and stimulation.
  • Be good to your body. Exercising regularly, eating a proper diet, and getting adequate sleep can all help manage physical symptoms of burnout.
  • Pay attention to early warning signs that may signal difficulties and early symptoms of burnout. Don't attribute fatigue, irritability, and signs of depression as being just tired or moody, and dismiss these warning indicators.
  • Be realistic about goals and expectations of yourself and others. You may need to re-evaluate your priorities, set more manageable goals, or take a break and come back with a fresh perspective.
  • Learn how to ask for the things you need, and how to respond to others when your needs are not being met.
  • Look for internal rewards and gratification, rather than looking to others for personal validation.
  • Examine personal projects and decide where your time and energy is going to be best used, or bring you the greatest return on investment.
  • Avoid taking on responsibility for others. Set up strong boundaries and allow others to do things they can do for themselves.

Recovering from Burnout – If you are already into the burnout cycle, there are some ways you can improve your situation:

  • Accept negative feelings of anger, confusion, depression, anxiety, and failure as reality. Acceptance of the situation is the first step towards taking corrective action.
  • Take Your Time. There is usually a powerful sense of loss present during the burnout cycle. Whether identity, idealism, moral values, or a lost dream, something has gone. Allow yourself time to recover.
  • Get Support. Acknowledging the pain and difficulty is not a sign of weakness, but a step of growth. Talking with a therapist, friends, or family about your concerns and frustrations generally relieves emotional pain and brings a sense of relief.
  • Adjust Expectations. When recovering from burnout it is reasonable to expect that you will not be able to perform at the same energy level until you are fully recovered. Adjust your expectations so that you will not repeat the burnout cycle again by rushing to make changes that are not well thought out or appropriately planned.
  • Learn to Relax. After burnout has already occurred, you will likely have to work harder at relaxing. Relaxation, visualization, and imagery techniques, along with physical exercise, will help relax your mind and body.
  • Balance your Life. If you are burning out in your career, focus more time and energy on personal and social relationships.
  • Review Your Goals. If you feel like you are lost in the "forest" of crises, unfinished projects, and emotional exhaustion, "step back" periodically from your situation. Review where you have been, and decide where you really want to go. Set realistic goals that will help you realize your true dreams and desires.
  • Get Help. Recovery from burnout is accomplished much more quickly with the help of a well-trained and experienced counsellor. Therapy will assist you in regaining an objective perspective, and will put you in a position of strength where the burnout cycle can be broken.
  • When people become stressed, anxious and burnt out, patterns of self-destructive behaviour often become major challenges. These patterns are sometimes difficult to understand. In the face of too much well-meaning advice and self-help, programs a counsellor can often sort contradictory thoughts and feelings.
  • Clinical Counselling involves using a human partnership approach to improving your important relationships. Building a trusting and comfortable relationship between client(s) and counsellor is a primary part of the counselling program. We welcome your questions and comments at any time.
  • Specialized Therapeutic Solutions operates our counselling practice upholding the standards and ethics of Registered Clinical Counsellors (BC Association of Clinical Counsellors).
  • The decision to attend a counselling session may be based on a wide range of considerations and dissatisfactions. Whatever the reasons for your decisions, we are listening and ready to assist.