How to Prevent Burn Out--dammit! You Need a Freakin Break!!

As requested by @TT and @AlexandraLouise
  1. Do you know the signs of burnout? When our bodies and minds are exposed to prolonged unrelenting stress, and we no longer feel much interest and joy and feel cynical and callous--in our chosen path--that is burnout--
    Any demanding role, career, parenting job, etc that requires your constant attention has potential for burnout--it doesn't matter how much you love your career, baby, patients, script, coding gig--excessive engagement can lead to disengagement or burnout. Then you JUST DONT CARE--you are a robot.
  2. If you feel constantly exhausted, if sleep does not refresh you, if your body is in pain, if you feel unappreciated and unmotivated, unable to meet demands of your life you may suffer from burnout (or depression--but that's a different list).
    Some people start using food, drugs, alcohol to try and compensate for the physical and emotional stress that they are experiencing--yeah, that creates more problems than it solves.
  3. Some factors that predispose you to burnout: certainly monotonous or high-pressure jobs where you have no sense of control and feel enslaved by your obligations
    Also intense expectations of high performance and constant pressure causes the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. Constant exposure to cortisol causes a big sugar dump in the body. Ongoing exposure to cortisol injures the brain as well as other internal organs. We know the hippocampus which is the memory center of the brain is particularly vulnerable to cortisol. Burnout equals can't remember shit
  4. Internal vs external locus of control--most of us feel as if what we do changes our experience, we have an internal locus of control. In certain stressful situations, Control is taken away from us and becomes external.
    No longer having an internal sense of control absolutely predisposes one to burn out. When a baby constantly needs your presence--when your job isn't rewarding and doesn't provide for time off or when you have a PERFECTIONISTIC personality driving you mercilessly-burnout might be inevitable
  5. Okay so you are BURNED OUT!! what to do?
  6. The obvious: nourishing food, not junk food, exercise, sleep, time off, and emotional support from friends and family.
    Again with the internal versus external locus of control. If you are a new mom or a physician on a demanding rotation, or a software engineer or writer under deadline, your time is not your own. you have to find a way to assert your needs and get them met no matter how hopeless that seems to you!!
  7. Meditation: if you are new to meditation let me recommend the headspace app--it is wonderful. Even five minutes twice a day of mindfulness meditation can help reset your brain. I know I sound like a broken record with this mindfulness stuff but seriously, it helps!!!!!
  8. Support--reach out to friends, family, coworkers, therapist, a spouse, a mentor--we humans need people to supported us, we cannot go it alone. Sometimes we need help to problem solve, other times simply venting provides relief
  9. Problem solving--how can you turn that external locus of control into an internal locus of control?
    Identify the problem--again is it internal or external? Are you putting unreasonable demands upon yourself or are others having unreasonable expectations of you? Confront that shit and change it!
  10. Finally--Attitude change--sometimes we have to consciously change our mindset and be less cynical, callous, or disengaged. "Fake it till you make it" sounds trite but is true. Change the narrative and you will change your mindset!
  11. Please add your strategies to deal with burnout!!
  12. Love, DocP
  13. Identify what it is that gives you joy in your chosen path, and talk about it -- to friends, family, yourself in the mirror.
    Try to convince all of those people (especially yourself) of how great it is. Eventually you will remember it.
    Suggested by   @sally
  14. The first step of attitude change: naming your feelings.
    Identify exactly what's going into creating your unique milieu of burnout -- frustration at superiors, anger at yourself for not meeting expectations, disappointment at patients or clients for behaving poorly, exhaustion with bureaucracy, stress at the uncertainty of future goals, feeling underappreciated or acknowledged...
    Suggested by   @sally
  15. Write.
    Anything. With abandon. Scribbles. A rant. A manifesto. A novel. An awful poem that just feels good to write. You don't have to show it to anyone, you don't even have to like it. Just start. One word.
    Suggested by   @lilydiamond
  16. Audit the demands on your time and get rid of what you can.
    We all take on more than we can realistically handle from time to time. Think about the demands on your time and whether there are any (even just 1) from which you can disengage. Bonus points if you can get rid of demands that don't provide you with enough (or any) satisfaction.
    Suggested by   @dball