picture of woman experiencing a burnout

Burnout happens to the best of us, but in the health and social sector, experiencing burnout is fairly common. 

A report published by Community Care, which surveyed 1,359 individuals who worked in the care sector, found that 73% scored in the highest category for emotional exhaustion, while a further 18% scored moderate levels of exhaustion. But the report also unveiled that 91% of respondents scored in the highest category for personal accomplishment.

Looking at these figures, it’s fair for me to say that the average care worker does enjoy what they do, but the nature of the role can cause many to feel emotionally drained.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Burnout?

Many of us will have days of feeling helpless, overloaded and under-appreciated. It’s both natural and a part of everyday life. But if you always feel like this, then you may be experiencing a burnout.

Burnout starts off very subtly. The signs and symptom are not clear at first, but it does get worst as time goes on. Failure to act on these early signs can induce a major break down.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of burnout:

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Feeling tired
  • Low immunity, feeling ill a lot of the time
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor sleep

Emotional Signs and Symptoms

  • Self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless
  • Loss of motivation

Behavioural Signs and Symptoms

  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating
  • Excessive consumption of food and alcohol
  • Venting out your emotions on others

Related Learning: Level 2 Diploma in Care (RQF)

How to Recover From a Burnout 

So what can one do when they experience burnout? This article shares the best-proven burnout recovery tips.

Look at Your Diet

First things first, take an honest look at your eating patterns. Further research by Community Care shows that 60% of care workers resort to emotional eating to cope with work-related stress, and 35% resort to alcohol.

These coping mechanisms only provide short-term relief and long-term damage to your body. Make an effort to switch to a more healthier diet. Numerous studies suggest that a healthy and balanced diet helps improve mood, makes you feel calmer, and makes you feel more relaxed.

Ensure You Get Enough Sleep

Numerous research suggests that we should aim to get around 8 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, many of us barely sleep for 8 hours at all. A lot of us are guilty of browsing the internet on our smartphones before we go to sleep, not realising this is damaging our natural sleeping patterns.

According to Sleep.org, our smartphones emit a blue light which associates with our body’s natural ability to wake up in the morning. Prolonged exposure to this blue light tricks our brain into waking up, hence making it difficult for us to get to sleep at night.

Try and get into the habit of placing the phone away from your bedside table, those notifications can wait till the morning.

Take Up Yoga or Meditation 

Both yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, the typical by-products of a burnout. These activities help to stimulate your body’s relaxation response, which is a state of restfulness that is opposite to stress response.

Take Time Off

Sometimes, completely removing yourself from the situation can aide with your burnout recovery. Make the most out of your annual leave, you are entitled to them after all. Either use your leave for a holiday or spent some time resting at home. It is understandable to feel guilty when you take time off, but your annual leave is there for a reason.

Related Learning: Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care (RQF)

Talk to Someone

Bottling up emotional baggage is not a good idea. Sure, you do need to abide by patient confidentiality, but when you constantly see people in desperate situations, it does get overwhelming, and it does help to speak someone about how you feel (but not about the patient). You can talk to a close family member or a trusted friend.

There are also plenty of talking therapies available on the NHS.

Practice Assertiveness

Assertiveness means being able to express yourself and stand up for your own perspective, while at the same time, respecting the rights and beliefs of others.

The MayoClinic writes that being assertive can boost your self-esteem and also help you cope with managing stress better.

Generally speaking, people who want to help others have a hard time saying no, and they end up with more responsibilities. By practising assertiveness, you get to establish boundaries and apply a bit of diplomacy in your conversations.

Do Something Creative

A 2010 study by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that doing an artistic activity, like drawing, painting or playing an instrument, is good for both your mental and physical health. It promotes positive emotions, reduces stress and helps to alleviate both anxiety and negative emotions.

Thanks for reading! Burnout is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. If you’ve experienced a period of burnout in the past, how did you manage to recover? Please let us know in the comments section below.