Burnout is becoming a major health issue for millions of people.

Dr. Michelle Schwab is a clinical psychologist based in Portland, Maine. She specializes in health psychology and working with high-achieving professionals who are struggling with this issue.

And these days, who isn’t feeling at least a little exhausted?!

Michelle shares some of the red flags for burnout, which includes cynicism, a lack of empathy, and exhaustion.

From the APA (American Psychological Association) comes this:

“Burnout is more than just feeling worn out. According to psychologist Christina Maslach, PhD—a pioneering burnout researcher who developed what has become the gold standard for measuring burnout—the condition has three components: overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment (Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, fourth edition, 2016).

“People kind of switch to doing the bare minimum instead of doing their very best,” says Maslach, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-editor-in-chief of the journal Burnout Research.” https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/02/ce-corner

For health care workers and all caregivers, it’s important to remember that burnout is associated with compassion fatigue or secondary trauma, which can contribute to even more burnout.

The good news is that there are things that can be helpful to prevent or reduce symptoms, including making self-care a priority.

Having a trusted social support network, even if that’s one other person, can make a big difference.

Mindfulness is another practice that’s proven to be helpful. In order to deal with what’s happening, we need to be aware of how we’re feeling, right?

In the 2nd half of this episode, Michelle shares a lovely personal story of her work with a cancer patient 30 years ago, and how that helped her cope with 2020’s pandemic year.

This show is rich with personal insights, and current research data about burnout, stress, and anxiety as we all continue to learn how to navigate the uncharted waters of this era.

Dr. Michelle Schwab’s website here

Dr. Melanie Harth’s website here