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Burnout Tracking: Learn From Your Symptoms

As a therapist with over 10 years of experience working directly with clients, I've spent hours hearing and witnessing the struggles and triumphs of those who dedicate their lives to others. Whether you're a nurse, social worker, therapist, teacher, physical therapist, or take care of family members, your work is undoubtedly demanding, emotionally and physically draining, and often thankless. Add in the effects of COVID, and it's no wonder so many healers and helpers are suffering with Burnout.

Burnout is a pervasive issue among caring, compassionate people, especially when you are expected to offer your care and compassion all day long. Despite how common Burnout is, it is often overlooked, dismissed as inevitable, or viewed as evidence that you are doing something wrong. However, when stop avoiding Burnout we can actually learn from it and continue caring for others for longer.

So, why is it so important to track your Burnout? Firstly, because awareness is the first step towards change. By monitoring your physical, emotional, and mental well-being regularly, you can identify patterns and warning signs of burnout before it escalates into a full-blown wig-out. When you listen, your Burnout will tell you what is missing in your life so you can make the necessary changes.

Secondly, tracking Burnout allows you to learn from your experiences. Every symptom of Burnout carries valuable lessons about your limits, boundaries, current needs, and old wounds. By reflecting on what activates your Burnout and how it shows up for you, you can gain insights into the areas of your life that require your attention and adjustment. Maybe you ignore your nutritional needs by working through lunch, struggle to set boundaries with coworkers, or bring work home and lose sleep. Whatever the case may be, tracking Burnout enables you to turn your struggles into lessons by implementing change that promotes greater balance and well-being.

Furthermore, acknowledging and addressing burnout is an important part of maintaining your integrity in your caregiving, teaching, or healing. When we're experiencing Burnout, we are less able to focus, connect, and empathize and may feel irritable, resentful, or numb. We may be able to keep it together at work but snap at our loved ones. You may have chronic pain in your hips, shoulders, stomach, and head, and might be isolating from friends. Remember, Burnout doesn't always look the same for everyone.

It's also critically important to recognize that Burnout is not a sign of weakness or incompetence, but rather signs that we need to shift our boundaries. When I was a new therapist I was taught that experiencing Burnout means you are allowing yourself to be used to keep quality care from the people who need it the most. Hello, Guilt and Shame!

As a healer or caregiver, you give so much of yourself to others, often at the expense of your own needs. However, self-sacrifice is not sustainable in the long-run and ultimately serves systems of oppression like White Supremacy, Patriarchy, and Toxic Capitalism.

In conclusion, tracking burnout is a vital practice for healers and caregivers who are committed to their own well-being and the well-being of those they serve. By cultivating self-awareness, learning from your experiences, and prioritizing self-care, you can mitigate the impact of Burnout and create a healthier, more sustainable approach to your work.

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