One of the biggest risks facing healthcare workers in today’s high-stress industry may surprise you. It’s not the possibility of illness or injury on the job. Nor is it the risk of losing their job due to malpractice or accident. The most damaging force working against today’s frontline workers is burnout – the mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that comes with endless pouring out of oneself for the benefit of others.
While many around the world are heralding healthcare workers as superheroes, none are impervious to the effects of workplace burnout. The long shifts and physically exhausting work – combined with ongoing traumatic experiences with patients – can cause physicians to reach a breaking point. At it’s best, burnout can result in physical exhaustion akin to illness. At worst, the toxic effects of burnout can lead physicians to dark places that lead to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Signs You May Be Nearing The Burnout Breaking Point
Burnout is nothing new, nor is it novel. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has developed a list of the signs of burnout, so individuals can get an idea as to whether or not they may be reaching a breaking point. Their list includes specific questions to ask yourself, including:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
By closely monitoring your physical and mental well-being on a daily basis, you can begin to take note of the symptoms common to experiences of burnout. If you don’t feel the above feelings, it is a good idea to put in place practices to prevent burnout from rearing its ugly head before its too late.
Tips For Preventing & Treating Physician Burnout
If knowledge is the best medicine for treating burnout, it is important to begin building a toolkit for helping yourself fight burnout at its source. Here are some tips for how you can prevent burnout as well as handle the symptoms should they arise:
- Begin each day with a time of reflection on the previous day, and write out a detailed schedule for the day ahead. A sense of control of your day can bring relief to a sense of workplace burnout.
- Schedule time throughout your day to escape the office and spend time outside or doing your favorite activity. Physical exercise – even a short walk – can help increase burnout-fighting endorphins.
- Seek the help of a community that is dedicated to serving healthcare professionals experiencing high levels of stress or burnout. This may include individual or group therapy or counseling sessions to serve your physical and mental wellbeing.
- Develop a personal mission statement for your work and establish boundaries for your personal work-life balance. Decide when and how you will enact actions to stop working for the day so that you can focus on your own needs.
- Prioritize time with friends and family – anyone who pours their time and efforts into serving your needs. As a physician, you cannot pour yourself out into others if you have nothing inside yourself to offer.
Find & Fight Burnout With The Apollo Community
At Apollo, we understand the extreme stress and emotional toll that comes from serving others on the frontlines. That is why we have developed an online community where healthcare professionals can come together to connect, share their experiences, and grow together.
If you are experiencing the burnout that comes from being in the wrong position or field, Apollo is here to help. A job change may be just what you need to get back on your feet. At Apollo, we help connect the most qualified healthcare workers with hospitals and medical facilities in need.
Follow Apollo online for more helpful content on how to care for yourself and others better by taking the right steps to ensure everyone has access to the healthcare they need to be their best.