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Facing Burnout as a Mental Healthcare Worker

By Lifestance Health on February 15, 2022

After countless hours of listening and coaching your patients through their mental health conditions, it is only natural for it to take a toll on the coach, or in this case, the healthcare worker. Below we will take a look at what the signs of burnout are and what you can do to avoid it all together.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a condition that is the result of being overworked and overstressed over time when caring for your mental healthcare patients. It is beyond being tired. After prolonged periods of sustained stress, mental healthcare workers may find themselves experiencing physical side effects and symptoms from overdoing it at work. Some people’s burnout may manifest through insomnia, episodes of frequent crying and even feelings of overall detachment from both their patients and people in their close personal circles. It is not surprising that mental healthcare workers experience burnout. Especially when contextualized and compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. With a job dedicated to tending to the well being of your patients 24 hrs. a day, it can be very easy to lose sight of your own well-being. Below we will review a few checks and balances that you do to can help you navigate burnout while managing the stress of a job in today’s turbulent world of mental health. 

What Does Burnout Look Like?

Many people who experience burnout experience physical effects. Take a quick body scan and assess what your body feels like and what your state of mind is. If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms in this list, you could be suffering from burnout.

  • Dreading Going to Work
  • Sleeping Disturbances
  • Overall Fatigue
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Becoming Short-Tempered
  • Crying Easily

How Can You Prevent Burnout?

Burnout is something all healthcare workers have experienced at some point in their careers. It is not something to feel embarrassed about. But it is something to take seriously. Check out our tips below on what you can do to take control of the burnout your experiencing.

1. Make Your Own Wellness a Priority 

Keeping your own health and wellness a priority is imperative. Whether it is taking time during the work day to meditate for 5 minutes, going outside for a 30 minute walk during your lunch break, or waking up a little earlier to get in some exercise, find a way to keep yourself feeling good in light of the stressful day you know you have ahead of you.

2. Be Transparent About Your Burnout

Your job is demanding, both physically and mentally. Do not feel bad about telling your employer about how you are feeling. Remember, you cannot help others if you are not in a good place yourself.

3. Support Others In Their Burnout

When peers are burnt out, offer to help and cover shifts. They will remember your act of kindness and do the same for you when you need something in return.

4. Consider Mental Health Support

Just because you are a mental healthcare worker does not mean you cannot benefit from mental healthcare yourself. Seeking help is as important as being a service of help.

5. Create Boundaries

When your job gets to be too much, speak up. You are no good to anyone if you fall flat as a result of taking on too much.

6. Lean on Friends, Don’t Self Isolate

Many times when people feel overloaded they want to be alone. However, calling on family and friends during times of exhaustion is a great way to reset and reenergize when you are on the verge of burnout.

7. Know When to Take a Break

Lastly, if you find yourself feeling burnt out all the time, know when it’s time to take a break. Taking vacations or even ‘staycactions’ when you stay home but aren’t working are important to keep stress at a manageable level.

Burnout is a very real condition and a condition that many experience on the daily. But it is something that can be managed and reversed with some personal attention and self-care. Try out some of our tips and let us know if they work for you. If you still find yourself struggling and unable to cope, do not hesitate to reach out to our amazing and qualified team. Our professional group of physicians is dedicated and ready to help you get back to feeling more like yourself.