Hello, I'm Kelly Carter, Emergency Physician, Burnout Coach, Wife and Mom.
Today I'll discuss five common myths about burnout.
Disclaimer: I do not diagnose, treat, or prescribe for medical or mental illness with my online content. My views are my own and are not associated or representative of my employer(s). This blog is for educational purposes only and not medical advice.
Myth 1: If you’re burned out it means you can’t handle your job
When you look at the personal factors that lead to burnout, you’ll find perfectionists, detail oriented people who like to be in control. This suggests that some of the most engaged people are the most likely to burn out. In no way does it mean they are weak or can’t handle stress. If these same employees are given high expectations, limited resources, lack of praise, and end the day with a feeling that they aren’t making a difference, it’s a recipe for burnout no matter how good their coping skills are.
Myth 2: A vacation or a day off will “cure” your burnout.
This one’s like my kids who were raised on ten acres in the country of southern Virginia and then moved to the suburbs. They still have a little twang and their stuffed animals all have southern accents. You can take the girls out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girls. Burnout is caused by prolonged exposure to the physical, emotional, and mental stressors. While recovery time or breaks help deal with the symptoms of burnout, taking a day off or a week at the beach doesn’t fix any of the problems contributing to your burnout. You may feel less stressed and get a little of your vigor back while you’re away, but research reports that your burnout will return within a week or two after returning to work.
Myth 3: Conquering burnout requires a major work or life change
If it can’t be fixed with a week at the beach, does it mean I have to quit my job, move to a hut on the beach and sell smoothies? Okay, I really want you to yes to this because that is my dream job, but the answer is no. Look back at the lifestyle and personal causes of burnout and you’ll see that you can stay in the same job, the same house, the same basketball carpool and still conquer your burnout. You can learn to let go of control, adjust your mindset, indulge in self care, form deep connections, set boundaries, and reconnect with why you love your job. I can help you build your resilience to stress and reclaim your time and energy, all while crafting the life and career you desire.
Myth 4: Once you conquer burnout it’s gone for good
Living your life in a way that reduces your burnout requires ongoing maintenance. It’s a little like dieting - once you lose the weight you can’t go back to your old lifestyle of sitting on the couch and eating Cheetos all day and expect to keep it off. That’s why crash dieting doesn’t work, and also why doing one week of yoga, meditation, and getting enough sleep isn’t going to end burnout. It’s a lifestyle change that keeps you fit and healthy and a lifestyle change that keeps burnout at bay.
Myth 5: You can conquer burnout on your own
As triumphant as it might sound when you read my story about burnout, I didn’t actually do it on my own. To start, the techniques I learned in Lean to create change in my life were accumulated over months of specialized training and years of mentorship and application. I had the support of several other physicians in different stages of their careers and I’ve also had several coaches of my own over the years. This isn’t a path to take solo. Think about professional athletes - they have coaches just as much for their physical skills as for the mental game. Sure, there’s plenty of information - my blog included - that give you ideas about how to conquer burnout, but the real change happens when you work with someone, get vulnerable and admit your shortcomings out loud, and are held accountable to make a change in your life.
Are you interested in coaching to help you with burnout? I have a program a program for you! I work side by side with other moms and healthcare professionals to help calm the chaos in their minds and lives to overcome the overwhelm and conquer burnout.
My program gives you an organized, step-by-step process, an accountability partner (me!), and lots of self-care tips and self-learning activities to help you change those feelings of overwhelm and stress into joyful and intentional living – with more time, energy, success, confidence, mindfulness, and overall well-being.
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