Burnout (as a way of life) in Health Professionals

Burnout creeps up on us. We’ve been “on” for years, doing what we do to help. But health professionals face an all-time high risk of burnout right now. Why? Given the past two-and-a-half years of pandemic and political upheaval, anybody working as a therapist or helper of any kind deals with the after-effects of those long months of heightened fear and stress all around. Our patients, clients, and students (and kids and partners and friends) have more severe anxiety and depression than ever, making it harder for them to learn, grow, and thrive.

Burnout = A Suppressed Lifestyle

This situation tires us in a way we’ve perhaps never experienced before. We live in heightened arousal, on guard, yet receptive to the pain of others. It feels like being stuck in a forced posture and smile while having family pictures taken. A Just hold still that lasts for months at a time.

What does burnout look like on you?

Like knee-socks, everyone wears burnout differently. It looks like depression on some people, like agitation on others. Maybe you notice boredom or hopelessness . . . or even free-floating anxiety or body aches.

My friend and co-host, Tracy Maxfield, speaks of burnout as “loss of vitality,” and I think this is what all the forms of burnout share in common. You function, but you feel very little excitement or satisfaction. You do what you have to do, but the work feels repetitive, empty. You live for the weekend or the upcoming vacation.

See if any of these fit your experience

  1. Chronic pain (a message from your body)
  2. Irritation in traffic, with your dog, your kids, your partner
  3. Envy of someone else’s life
  4. Sunday evening dread (bemoaning the loss of the weekend)
  5. Chronically rushing around; running behind
  6. Having accidents (even small ones, like bonking into chairs)
  7. Low energy, social and physical
  8. Boredom or listlessness at work
  9. Trouble sleeping or waking up
  10. Temper Outbursts or Blaming Yourself/Others for an Unsatisfying Life

ReConceive podcast addresses each aspect of the burnout experience: depletion of energy, disconnection from others (and oneself), signs of distress in the body, and lack of vitality for life. We co-create a three-pronged approach to reversing this corrosive process through self-care for helpers.

  1. Body awareness and mindful movement
  2. ReConnection (to self and other)
  3. Art & Beauty

Want to know more about how these elements can reverse your burnout and restore vitality to your work and life? Listen to ReConceive, on this website, or anywhere you get your podcasts.


Write to us at reconceivetherapy@gmail.com.

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