How To Recognise And Deal With Burnout


Most people who work in healthcare derive joy in work providing service to others who are experiencing ill health. We take up roles that cater to navigation, registration, direct patient care and managerial responsibilities to make patient care seamless. While performing these roles burnout could arise.

Apart from workplace demands, and toxic work environments, stressors might also be coming from home life. As we juggle these responsibilities, we often forget to prioritise our well-being, which can lead to burnout. In this article, we will explore the experience of burnout and a path to recovery. We will also uncover valuable learning points that can help you recognise burnout and support someone who is experiencing burnout to find a balance between work, health, and life.

Recognising the Signs of Burnout:

Having additional domestic caregiving responsibilities and financial stress while working in healthcare puts you at risk for burnout. You need the work to save up for huge expenditures like immigration fees, aspirations of first-time house purchase, home renovations, and holiday travel. Consequently, struggles of emotional instability buildup when taking care of sick family members or you when you have children with special needs. Passion and desire for work typically aren’t enough to fend off mental tiredness, which can set in given enough time. The first lesson here is to identify burnout warning indicators, such as loss of excitement, emotional depletion, fatigue, and apathy towards co-workers, before they become severe.

Body aches and headaches are possible physical signs. If these symptoms aren’t understood, leaving your team or organisation might seem like the only coping strategy before other options are investigated. The number of NHS staff who in 2022 quit their roles citing work-life balance stood at 27,546 higher than those who retired. How did their conversation about quitting take place?

Breaking Cultural and Professional Barriers to Asking for Support:

It’s essential to take the unusual step of reaching out for help, against the archaic cultural or professional norms that discourage admitting vulnerability. This is a crucial lesson – seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a strength. Communicating with supervisors and colleagues when facing burnout is essential, allowing for timely intervention and potential solutions.

“Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s one of the bravest things you can do. And it can save your life.”

Supervisor and Colleague Support during burnout:

An encouraging response from a listening supervisor or colleague is pivotal to fostering a supportive environment for an employee sharing an experience of burnout. Listen actively during conversations. Use labels prefixed with “it looks”, “it sounds”, and “it seems” to summarise what you hear. Reflect or mirror keywords usually the last few words in a conversation with an upward inflexion, like a curious question to encourage the flow of the expression from the colleague or employee. Ask relevant questions about workload, family life, and personal values.

It sounds like you’re ability to work is affected by how you are feeling? It seems important to you to take some time off? Is your spouse aware of how you are feeling? You need help?

These interactions emphasise the significance of empathetic and supportive colleagues or employers in promoting mental well-being in the workplace.

Solutions for burnout:

Solutions to burnout differ for every individual however, a sudden break allows a burnt-out colleague or employee to regain control over their health and appreciate their identity beyond work. There is great value in setting work boundaries and prioritising personal well-being, even in demanding professions. Share your ideas with your employer about tangible changes to work, especially if your stressors are predominantly work-related. This could change a decision from outright quitting, to changing teams, roles or temporary workload adjustment. However it’s perfectly ok to quit a work environment that is mismatched with your values.

During your leave, reflect on your struggles. The power of introspection during recovery can lead to new career interests and opportunities that can boost your wellbeing. Read our article on self help tips for your mental health. Recognising how work can impact physical and psychological well-being is crucial for reducing burnout and advocating for better workplace support. If there are moderate to severe mental health or physical symptoms. Its critical to seek professional help when possible.

Gallops research has found that teams who feel their organisation cares about their wellbeing achieve higher customer engagement, profitability and productivity, lower turnover, and fewer safety incidents.

Burnout can lead to loss of livelihood which can further affect your overall well-being. By encouraging employees or colleagues to recognise signs of burnout, break cultural or professional barriers to seeking support and foster a workplace that prioritises employees’ wellbeing, we can support staff autonomy and safeguard long-term productivity.

Remember, taking care of yourself enables you to better care for others.

5 thoughts on “How To Recognise And Deal With Burnout”

  1. If you’re local to UK southwest region there are resources, clinicians have benefitted from and they are available for you to explore if you need support.

    Check your local area for similar services.


    This service is really brilliant and I’ll highly recommend it. They provide excellent professional support for trainees.





  2. Tunde Kukoyi

    One key thing we healthcare workers need to learn is how to disconnect from work when we aren’t at work. It can be difficult but it is important for our wellbeing.
    Work would continue with or without us, so we need to learn maximise our time off and rest intentionally.
    Great article…keep it up!

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