What is burnout, how does it affect us and how do we recover?
According to a Harvard Business Review article, “Your burnout is unique. Your recovery will be, too.” (Heng & Schabram), the authors discuss how recovery from burnout can take many different paths. Each burnout recovery story is unique, but you can try to get ideas and support from what has been found to work in many cases.
It is important to understand what type of burnout you are dealing with in order to activate your own recovery.
The article references research that identifies burnout according to the Maslach burnout scale, which includes symptoms such as exhaustion (a depletion of mental or physical resources, loss of energy), cynicism (a depletion of social connectedness, loss of enthusiasm), and a reduced sense of efficacy (a loss of confidence or self-esteem).
The concrete advice from the research is to respond to your own fatigue by showing compassion for yourself; taking time to take care of yourself, doing things that bring you pleasure and are restorative. If you notice cynicism or loss of enthusiasm you should try to save yourself by looking for opportunities to show compassion to people around you; a listening ear, a compliment, and an encouraging word can empower both the giver and the receiver of empathy. By taking care of others, you are also taking care of yourself. If your professional efficacy has suffered, you can begin to repair your burnout by either helping others or achieving something on your own; either working towards something important to others or yourself can be restorative. Taking care of yourself and your own well-being is not selfish. And the best way to deal with burnout is, of course, to prevent it in the first place.
The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is a valuable tool in identifying potential areas of burnout in both your personal and professional life. By understanding the warning signs and taking proactive steps to address them, you can develop the skills necessary to stay motivated, positive and mindful. By being proactive in preventing burnout, you can ensure that you have the energy and focus to excel in all aspects of your life. To learn more about the Maslach Burnout Inventory and how it can help you identify and prevent burnout, click here