Note: The term burnout is applicable to many life situations. Here we address the phenomenon of burnout as it applies to helping professionals. Burnout issues are closely related to (if not the same as) co-dependence issues
Burnout is rampant among helping professionals. Physicians boast one of the highest death rates from drug abuse, suicide, alcoholism, and heart attack. The other helping professions follow close behind. Many of us are familiar with the feeling that we are carrying the burden of the world on our shoulders.
Indicators of burnout include:
- Chronic fatigue, frustration, and exhaustion. A deadening of the heart and giving way to resignation and despair.
- A sense of diminished effectiveness. A gnawing sense of futility about work, or about life in general.
- Unproductive feelings of anger and resentment toward the people we profess to be helping.
- An absence of inspiration and enthusiasm, joy and spontaneity.
The condition of burnout is not irreversible. Like any other symptom or dis-ease, burnout is an indicator of an energy imbalance in the life of the afflicted individual. It is a message of a need to make changes toward living in a more balanced and fulfilling manner. If the message is not heeded, the condition is likely to progress toward the cellular changes of organic disease (e.g., a gnawing feeling in the gut becomes an ulcer or bowel cancer).
The basic change required of those experiencing burnout is that they value themselves, that they honor their feelings and be more honest with themselves. These qualities are basic tenets of the Paradigm of Connection.