Hello everyone! I believe I am in a place to start posting weekly again, although I think I jinxed it just now. Anyways, I started my new job this week and I wanted to talk about something that can occur in social work: burnout. It mainly occurs in jobs where you are serving others, but can occur in any and all types of work. In March, I highlighted vicarious trauma for Social Work Month, and burnout is another phenomenon that occurs in high-stress jobs/environments, or if you are struggling with work-life balance.
Burnout can be described as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” (source). The symptoms can negatively affect physical and mental health, and can lead to long-term consequences if they are not managed correctly. If you are exposed to chronic stress in any area of your life, you can be at higher risk of burning out.
- Feelings of cynicism towards one’s job
- Changes in sleep behaviors
- Issues with digestion and other related stomach issues
- Feelings of helplessness and loss of motivation
- Increased irritation with coworkers or significant people in your life
In my last year at my previous job, I realized I was experiencing burnout. I wasn’t motivated to take on new cases, I absolutely dreaded going to meetings, and I felt like my work meant nothing. Even though I was working from home, and I had a reasonable work-life balance, it wasn’t enough to prevent burnout. I think it was the ~pandemic~ along with the lack of support from supervisors (if you’re reading this, hello!). I think it’s important I realized what I was experiencing, and whether or not my current situation was worth feeling like a toilet, and made the necessary changes to help alleviate stress. I had a couple of days in-between jobs, and I felt absolutely relieved, like a weight had been lifted and thrown into the dumpster.
Is anyone else experiencing burnout/ experienced it in the past? What are some ways you cope??