What is Burnout and How to Avoid It
We’ve all been there before. We start out with the best of intentions, eager and excited to tackle a new project or venture. We’re passionate about what we’re doing and we want to be great at it.
But then, somewhere along the way, things start to go wrong. The obstacles and roadblocks seem insurmountable. The emotional investment we made starts to feel like a weight around our necks. And before we know it, we’re consumed by feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.
This, my friends, is burnout.
Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when we feel overwhelmed or unable to meet the demands placed on us. Burnout can happen in any area of our lives, from our careers to our relationships to our hobbies. And it can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health.
But there is hope! There are strategies we can use to prevent burnout or recover from it. So let’s take a closer look at what burnout is and how we can avoid it.
"And the thing about burnout is it doesn’t stay in school. It’s not like in a nice little box, I’m only burnt out when I’m at work and then I come home and everything’s perfect, right? It does start to impact every aspect of our life."
Dr. Kevin Leichtman
How Burnout Begins
Burnout begins with a passionate commitment to something we care about. It could be our job, our hobbies, our relationships, or anything else that’s important to us. We want to be great at it and we’re willing to put in the work necessary to achieve our goals. This emotional investment can lead us down a path of excessive stress and eventually burnout.
There are several factors that contribute to burnout. One is the feeling of being out of control or unable to cope with the demands placed on us. This can happen when we’re trying to do too much or when we’re facing obstacles that seem insurmountable. Another factor is a lack of social support. This can happen when we don’t have anyone to rely on for help or encouragement. Finally, burnout can be caused by an unrealistic view of what’s possible. This happens when we set unrealistic goals for ourselves or when we compare ourselves to others who are more successful than we are.
The Impact of Burnout
Burnout doesn’t just affect us emotionally; it can also have a serious impact on our physical and mental health. When we’re in a state of burnout, we’re more susceptible to illness and injury due to the physical effects of stress on the body. We may also experience difficulty concentrating, sleeping, or eating properly. Additionally, burnout can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors. So it’s important that we recognize the signs of burnout and take steps to prevent it from taking over our lives.
"The people that are most likely to burn out are teachers in the first five years, that’s what the research shows time and time again."
Dr. Kevin Leichtman
Strategies for Preventing Burnout
- Set realistic goals for yourself and don’t compare your progress to others. One of the leading causes of burnout is setting unrealistic goals for yourself and then beating yourself up when you don’t meet them. It’s important to remember that we are all on our own journey and we all progress at our own pace. Set realistic goals for yourself and don’t compare your progress to others.
- Make time for relaxation and hobbies that you enjoy outside of work or school. Another common cause of burnout is not making time for relaxation and hobbies that you enjoy. It’s important to have a healthy balance in your life between work/school and play. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do things that you enjoy outside of work or school.
- Find a support system of family and friends who you can rely on. When we’re dealing with a lot of stress, it’s important to have a support system of family and friends who we can rely on. These are the people who will be there for us when we need to vent or just need someone to talk to. If you don’t have a support system, now is the time to start building one.
- Learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. There are healthy ways to deal with stress and unhealthy ways. Some people cope with stress by turning to drugs or alcohol, but this is obviously not a healthy way to deal with stress. There are many healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, etc. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Burnout is a very real phenomenon that can happen to anyone who cares passionately about something in their life. It’s characterized by feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical exhaustion.
If left unchecked, burnout can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health. But there is hope. By recognizing the signs of burnout and taking steps to prevent it, we can protect ourselves from its negative effects.
Check out the full conversation with Dr. Leichtman at www.myedtech.life/burnout
You can support our mission, vision, and passion for connecting educators by buying us a cup of coffee or visiting our merch store!