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Which Burnout Are You?

I was interested to read recently that it may be too simplistic to assume that there’s only one form of burn out. The research into burnout continues to evolve and a recent study[1] has identified two categories:

  • Burned out and disengaged
  • Burned out and engaged

The Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence found that all burnout does not look the same and therefore should not be treated the same.  If we only think of those experiencing burnout in the way the World Health Organization (WHO) describes it:

  • exhausted
  • feeling distant from one’s job
  • not performing well

then we may fail to catch a great many number of people who perhaps experience something different but who can still be considered burned out.  The study, which also measured worker engagement, experiences, and outcomes found that only 2% were burned out and disengaged yet 25% were burned out and engaged.  So, 1 in 4 workers were able to still be productive despite exhaustion.  Many of this burned out and engaged group were described as having a love/hate relationship with their job and experience a lack of support or feel unappreciated.

I wonder how many of us might relate to this 25%?  On the one hand, loving many aspects of our job, yet on the other, finding it too demanding, or finding the work politics too complex and draining, feeling a bit alone amidst all the demands and not getting enough affirmation or guidance.

In a recent webinar that myself and Ruth Fordyce conducted titled Preventing Burnout[2] (now available on demand), we encouraged people with ways to develop overall resilience as one form of burnout prevention. The following points could well apply to someone who feels trapped in their work situation or perhaps is not in a position to change their current job.  It’s a case of radically accepting one’s circumstances and attending to ourselves and what we can change:

  • Regular human connection with significant others ie: feel supported and loved,  create moments to look forward to
  • Identify and connect personal strengths [3]
  • Reflect on what is working [4]

We all know that prevention is better than cure so why not try some of the above?


[1] Article from The Hill: https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/458906-the-truth-about-burnout-it-doesnt-look-how-we-expect-it-to?fbclid=IwAR1tZmei7GLHJenGBl6GMuTvqkswTz5X6qsOjJnZ8J83QW_iZ5kgjqkubAE

[2] https://www.theresiliencecentre.com.au/product/preventing-burn-out/

[3] The Resilience Doughnut model: https://www.theresiliencedoughnut.com.au/

[4] The Resilience Report: https://www.resiliencereport.com/

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