Recognising Burnout in the Helping Professions

By: Rinet Van Lill

As people in helping professions, we have the privilege to serve and support others. This includes healthcare providers, teachers, spiritual leaders, and others who dedicate themselves to serving people.

We are the ones who bring light into people’s lives and ignite flames in their hearts. On good days, our candles may feel like blazing fires, spreading warmth and brightness to all around us. But what happens when our candles begin to flicker and dim? When the demands of our roles leave us feeling depleted and overwhelmed?

Recognising Burnout

Burnout is a common problem among those in the helping industry, where the emotional toll of dealing with complex and challenging situations can leave individuals feeling exhausted, cynical, and unaccomplished.

If you find yourself experiencing these feelings, you may be suffering from burnout. Burnout can lead to a host of physical and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and headaches. If left unaddressed, burnout can have negative consequences on your personal relationships, work performance, and overall quality of life. It’s essential to recognise the signs of burnout and take steps to address it before it worsens.

Restoring Your Passion After Burnout

If you’re feeling like you’re running on empty and struggling to find the passion you once had, it might be time to restore your fire. While self-care is often recommended as a solution to burnout, we can’t forget the importance of other-care. As helpers, we’re part of a global community, and our peers and mentors can be an invaluable source of support when we need it most. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who understands the challenges you’re facing. But let’s not stop there. Let’s also make a conscious effort to pay attention to our fellow light bearers and offer them the support they need to shine. We need to create a culture where it’s okay not to be okay and where seeking help is just as important as giving it. Together, we can reignite our flames and continue to bring light into the lives of those we serve.

While self-care and seeking support from peers are important steps in restoring our fire, sometimes we need a more structured and professional approach to address burnout. A psychologist can help you identify the underlying causes of your burnout, develop coping strategies, and provide support as you work towards recovery.


Article supplied with thanks to The Centre for Effective Living.

Feature image: Photo by Prateek Gautam on Unsplash 

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