Understanding Burnout: A Reflection

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“We can certainly learn how to be more efficient, how to be high-performance, how to make a bigger positive impact, and still have the energy to enjoy the fruits of our labor—and that is really important.”

– Ana Melikian

Have you checked in with yourself to see if you’re exhausted at work? Have you asked yourself recently what burnout is?

I’ve noticed that whenever I tell people I’ve been focusing on burnout—especially in the context of making a positive impact in the world while avoiding burnout—the immediate response I almost always get is “Oh, that’s important work,” or “We need that.” I am yet to find a person who asks me, “What is burnout?” I assume that most people have an intuitive feeling of what burnout is—which makes it more important to define. When we understand it and its nuances better, we can help people avoid its extremes.

In this episode, I share my reflections about burnout. I define burnout and outline its three dimensions according to the World Health Organization. I describe typical burnout profiles. I also discuss what we can learn from the “frog in a pot” myth, share my personal experience with burnout, and underscore how it’s possible to do good work and positively impact the world while preventing stress and burnout.

Ana Melikian

This week on The Mindset Zone:

  • What is burnout?
  • Current research on burnout
  • Seeing burnout through a systemic perspective
  • Energy depletion and exhaustion
  • Increased mental disconnect from one’s job and feelings of cynicism at work
  • Reducing professional efficacy
  • Measuring burnout and your burnout profile
  • How being deeply connected to our work can lead to overexertion and overwork
  • The burnout profile I personally have fallen into
  • Gradual stress and why we tend to burn out without realizing it
  • My experience with burnout and cancer
  • The impact of chronic stress on our health and well-being
  • Burnout red flags to watch out for
  • My mission to help us engage with our impact while avoiding burnout

Resources Mentioned:

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