Recognizing the warning signs of burnout - Veterinary Healthcare
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Recognizing the warning signs of burnout

Student Advisor Articles

The most idealistic, sensitive, and empathetic caregivers tend to be most at risk for burnout. Watch for these warning signs:

• Chronic job dissatisfaction. A good day is one when you’re less dissatisfied rather than happy.

• A constant or frequent sense of urgency. You’re impatient and frustrated with anything that causes delays—even if there’s plenty of time. A few examples: hurrying other people by finishing their sentences; driving irritably; fidgeting, sighing, or looking at your watch while waiting in line; taking over a task when you think you can do it faster; thinking about the next task while doing the one at hand; constantly feeling competitive; or making life a numbers game by basing your self-worth on the money you earn, the number of cases you see each day, and so on.

• New compulsive behaviors or the worsening of mild ones. Done compulsively, even apparently healthy behaviors can be signs of stress or burnout; for example, dieting, exercising, working, or even reading can be compulsive. The more your anxiety increases if you don’t do something, the more compulsive you are about it.

• An escape mentality. This tendency toward absenteeism and inefficiency may show up as long lunches, leaving early, cutting back on work days, or recurrent conversations about changing professions or moving away.

• Tendency to dehumanize clients or easily lose patience with animals. Seeing clients and animals as problems is a red flag for burnout.

• Deep pessimism and self-doubt. You sense that you’re out of control or a victim of life circumstances. You’re possibly even contemplating suicide.

• Troubling physical symptoms, such as severe exhaustion, depression, sleep disorders, disturbed eating patterns, headaches, jaw clenching or teeth grinding, or sexual disinterest.

• Relationship problems, especially with your spouse or children.

• Emotional outbursts or withdrawal from others.

• Excessive drug or alcohol use.

• Repeated illness.

• Lack of interest. Do you rarely participate in activities you formerly considered fun and relaxing?

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Source: Student Advisor Articles,
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