Changes in healthcare systems have made physical therapy workers struggle through burnout at races that are rivaling the more traditionally known corporate workers known for having those same symptoms. With stress levels higher than ever, we’re feeling like we want to work faster yet are concerned more about making mistakes. Burnout is the result of this heavy duty weight on our shoulders. And, it is a weight that cannot be lifted easily.
Differentiating Between Simple Stress and Burnout
Engagement: When just suffering from stress, you’re typically over engaged with tasks. You might find yourself just flying around the room with so much to do that it’s nearly impossible to imagine completing everything. However, when you’re truly suffering from burnout, you’re so disengaged with everything that it’s hard to even care about getting it all done.
Emotions: During a period of high stress you will notice that your emotions are all over the place. Yet, adversely, when you’re struggling with burnout your emotions get numbed so much that they seem to not be there at all.
Productivity: When you’re struggling with super-levels of stress, you can expect yourself to constantly be on your toes and working with extremely crazy amounts of activity. Feeling like you need to go get things done in a wave of urgency that almost feels unnatural. That adrenaline and need to complete tasks takes over and you just are able to complete tasks like whiz. Unfortunately, when you’re suffering from burnout, motivation seems to be in short supply. Additionally, hope and ideals seem to dry up as well.
Mental frustration: You may notice when you’re someone who deals with stress in high levels, there’s a lot of anxious feelings. Naturally, this leads to anxiety disorders. When you’re bumming on a burnout, you tend to fall into depression and find yourself detached from others.
Damage done: Stress will cause physical wear and tear. The damage primarily will hit you emotionally when you’re dealing with burnout.
The kill: Stress may kill you early. But, burnout will make life feel not worth living.
Signs of Physical Therapist Burnout
- Expressing anger: A PT struggling with burnout might just just snap on his colleagues or patients. It’s not really their fault, but at times the stress may transpire into hostile actions that are out of character for them.
- Thinking everyday is a bad day: If you feel like everyday at work is the worst day of your life then you may just be suffering from some serious work-related burnout.
- Exhausted 100% of the time: Feeling like you’re absolutely famished all the time? It’s probably not because of lack of sleep or not enough coffee. It’s probably due to burnout.
- Caring about the PT practice seems useless: When you’re suffering from a serious case of burnout, you probably will start to feel as if your work is unappreciated or useless. Although you might secretly know that’s wrong, it’s nearly impossible to feel like you’re just floating.
The “Three R” Approach to Burnout
- Recognize: Be mindful and pay attention to the signs of possible burnout
- Reverse: Manage stress and find helpful support from others
- Resilience: Keep stress at bay by ensuring your care for your emotional and physical health