Emotions and Burnout

“Emotions and Burnout”

    I’d like to talk about emotions and burnout. Let me tell you I think I went through the gamut of them and our clients go through the many different kinds of presentations, as far as burnout. Burnout really can be a chameleon it can present in a number of ways you can have outbursts of:

 

Anger

Some people are quiet

Sadness

Bad decision making

Risk taking behaviors

There may be substance abuse

There may be suicidal ideation or suicidal attempts or unfortunately successful suicide

 

So, there can be many many negative emotions that are manifested in those physical ways: anger, fear, frustration, depression, anxiety, despair, guilt, hopelessness, powerlessness. And again, suicidal ideation.

 Many times these emotions come as a result of being put into a situation maybe not of your own ideal design or creation, or even of your own choosing, and I know many physicians, more than 50% statistics are now employed. 

I do believe that loss of control and that loss of autonomy can really lead to or fuel a lot of burnout. You’re told how many patients to see and how long you can spend with a patient, how many RV uses you have to do to make X, Y or Z and somehow those calculations never seem to work out in your favor. But I think the key thing about emotion with burnout is obviously very impactful. It can be very damaging.

Emotions are also an indicator.

 

  I think emotions are trying to tell you something. That something is not right and I think, again, the first step in the 12 steps process is realizing that you have a problem. 

I think emotions are your signal flare.

 

  They’re telling you that there’s an issue. I think you should be very mindful of what your emotions are telling you, and what are the things that trigger you. Those emotional responses are probably the first things you want to work on from an emotional standpoint. I think if it’s humanly possible, you want to try to divorce your perception and your reaction of emotions from the emotion itself. 

It’s okay to be angry. 

 

  Because there could be some frustration. I think you need to determine what your response will be, so that is having more control and more insight into that number that you are in fact angry instead of just being a hot reactor like I have been previously. Also you want to determine what is the magnitude of the response that you’re gonna have to those emotions. I think you want to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do.

 

  This is really the start of untangling or deconstructing burnout for many people is finding what are the roots of those really frustrating emotional issues.

 

  Emotions help us, they guide us, they can be damaging to us but I think the better we understand them, the better we can maybe give some perspective and give some perspective on the reaction to emotions will be very real helpful and a good first step on your recovery from burnout.

Take that to heart, and please also get the help you need.

~Jeff Moody, MD

 

 

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