Burned Out?

Are you sleepwalking through life full of apathy, lost your motivation for your work or other areas of your life?   Burnout is physical and psychological exhaustion, depletion, being worn out, strained etc., like compassion fatigue.  When you feel like you are going through the motions, that what you do makes no difference and you have nothing to give, you may be experiencing burnout. You may also be experiencing depression. If you’re not sure seek professional help to determine what it is so you can overcome it.

Causes of burnout:

1.  Doing the same type of work with little variety, especially if the work seems meaningless

2.  Giving a lot and getting little in return, such as appreciation or positive reinforcement/lack of rewards and recognition (Remember give to those who give back)

3.  Lacking a sense of accomplishment/meaning in work/purpose

4.  Pressure to perform certain duties or obligations

5. Working or interacting with difficult people

6.  Conflict and tension among staff at work, family at home, lack of support from co-workers, lack of teamwork and lack of social support outside of work

7.  Lack of trust between supervisors and staff or between friends and significant others

8.  Little opportunity to try new things, when initiative is discouraged

9.  Unrealistic demands on time and energy

10.  Having a job that is emotionally draining without opportunity for supervision, continued educational or in-service opportunities…

11.  Personal problems such as relationship and health problems that interfere with the ability to focus on work

12.  Lack of control or autonomy

13.  Incongruent work ethics, i.e., supervisors and employees have different values. Parents having different parenting styles

14.  Being the type of person who seeks constant approval from others, especially superiors/lovers

15.  Type A personalities who tend to bite off more than they can chew

How to combat burnout:

  • Know that burnout is common and treatable
  • Recognize when you might be experiencing some signs of burnout
  • We must take care of ourselves, that’s the point of this book
  • We must also take responsibility and not blame others for our feelings of burnout, when we accept our role in burnout, we are more capable and empowered to fix it.  For instance ask yourself, what can I do to change the situation to make it better for me?  Do you stay and find other ways to feel fulfilled and gain autonomy or do you move on?


Preventing burnout:

Evaluate goals, priorities and expectations to see if they are realistic and getting you what you want

Know that you are an active agent in your life

Find interests outside of work or if you don’t work, interests outside of your home life

Find ways to bring variety into your work and home life

Learn to monitor the impact of stress at work and home

Get enough sleep, exercise, relaxation/meditation and eat well

Develop/nurture relationships that balance giving and receiving: Give to those who give back

Ask for what you want, while knowing you may not always get it

Find internal rewards for yourself

Retain hope

Take time outs, also, when kids are given sit outs or are taken to time out, they are usually agitated or stressed, at those times ask yourself if you need your own time out (ex: smoke break, meditation break, take a walk, just closing the door to take a moment to breathe and regain your center)

Find meaning though play, travel and new experiences

Avoid doing other people’s work, for ex: if we are more concerned for a client/friend/lover/supervisor than they are for themselves, we might want to reconsider how we are investing our time

Get more education via classes, workshops or conferences

Change your schedule to reduce stress

Learn your limits and set them with others: Manage your time better

Form a support group with peers to share frustrations and find ways to cope better

Engage in hobbies that are pleasurable

Ask for help when needed

Seek counseling

Ask yourself on a regular basis, “Am I striving to do what I encourage  others to do?”

In sum: Try to balance giving/getting, stress/calm, work/home


Dr. Umfer is a licensed clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist in Tampa Florida. She specializes in weight loss and forensic evaluations, such as sex offender risk assessments, psychological evaluations for substance abuse, competency, fitness for duty, immigration etc. She has certifications in fitness and nutrition, clinical hypnotherapy and as a meditation instructor. She identifies herself as a Forensic Evaluator and Weight Liberator and strives to help clients become "Umferized" aka empowered and fulfilled.

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