Tips to Identify and Avoid Burnout

By: Jennifer Peters

July 28, 2021

Categories: AAMI News, HTM Professionals

Burnout - Sq
“Burnout” has been a buzzword for several years, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the health technology community was challenged by new stresses both at work and at home. A recent survey by The Hartford found that 61 percent of those questioned identified as being burned out.

“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress,” said Michael Levitt, “chief burnout officer” at workplace culture consulting firm Breakfast Leadership, Inc., during a session at AAMI eXchange REWIRED. “It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

There are five key signs of burnout:

  1. Poor sleep

  2. Lack of motivation

  3. Increased mistakes and weakened memory

  4. Struggles making decisions

  5. Irritability

Levitt noted that you should be on the lookout for more than just a couple nights of insomnia or a case of the blahs. “It’s not just Monday morning lack of motivation… but everything,” he said.

Burnout, he explained, can feel like a treadmill that you can’t get off. In the past year, burnout has been enhanced by the lack of boundaries so many people now have between their work and home lives. While working remotely took away some stresses—like time spent commuting—it added even more.

Fear not, though! According to Leavitt, “You can actually stop burnout faster than you think.”

Leavitt recommended a few things that can help. First, he suggested setting boundaries to protect your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. One of the most important, he noted, is to set an alarm for when you’re going to end your workday and to stick to it.

As for lack of sleep, Leavitt said to start with your bedding: Is it really comfortable? Buy the best mattress, the best pillow, the best linens you can afford. The place people spend the most time in their homes is in bed, and a good night’s sleep helps repair the damage we do to our bodies all day.

He also strongly recommended finding joy in your everyday life. “For me, self-care is doing things in life you enjoy doing,” he said. Whether it’s hiking, reading, watching Netflix, or anything else, Leavitt implored attendees to set aside time a few times a week to do things you love.

Leavitt recommended a simple exercise to figure out what you need more of in life to help you enjoy your time more and combat burnout: Take a piece of paper and draw a line vertically down the middle. On the left-hand side, write down all the things you enjoy doing. On the right-hand side, jot down the last time you participated in each activity. Chances are, Leavitt said, you’ll be shocked by the amount of time you’ve let pass.

“There’s no shortage of things to be upset about in this world right now,” he explained, “but there’s a ton of things to be thankful for, to be optimistic about.”