Most of us take on the role of a caregiver either at home or as a profession. We usually start our role with high ideals to support, to make a difference, but along the road, over time, we become overwhelmed, and we begin to lose our enthusiasm and motivation to care. More recently, it has been pointed out, that "compassion fatigue" is actually a misnomer and that it should be renamed “empathy distress fatigue”.
One of the concerns with burnout is that it can go unnoticed for quite a while until it is too late. The burnout symptoms can increase gradually, amongst a great deal of denial, until it becomes very obvious and more difficult to resolve. Therefore, the earlier you can recognize the signs, the earlier you can begin to alleviate it.
Chronic stress puts a lot of pressure on us physically and mentally. Often, we can manage stress over a short period but when it becomes constant, it will begin to negatively impact our health. In this article, we will look at burnout, describing the signs and symptoms, the conditions where it is most likely to arise and why you should attend to it before it’s too entrenched.
As a professional, it can be difficult at times to maintain our enthusiasm and dedication for a higher standard of service delivery in the face of increasing demands and pressures in our work place. You probably have entered the profession with a passion for helping others, but years later your compassion may have faded a little, experiencing more fatigue. Sometimes, we may grow resentful at the inadequacies of the organizations. Burnout can present itself in various ways; maybe feeling less effective, questioning, doubting ourselves, becoming less tolerant of our colleagues, feeling isolated or dissatisfied.