Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! I am especially thrilled to write about this month’s blog topic because I am a passionate mental health advocate.
BMG Advisors sponsored the 2022 Mental Health KC Conference. The focus is to bring mental health awareness and education to businesses, professionals, and citizens in the Kansas City area. Coordinated by the Metropolitan Council of Community Behavioral Health Centers (“Metro Council”), this annual event features dozens of speakers on multiple topics related to mental health and wellness. One of the keynote speakers, Dr. Susan Biali Haas, our first keynote speaker, presented an issue that many hardworking professionals face today - burnout.
Burnout consists of three components:
Emotional exhaustion - the continual feeling of being drained, which other underlying health problems like depression can exacerbate
Cynicism - depersonalizing those around us. For example, clients or colleagues, or letting the small things become significant challenges.
Reduced efficacy - doubting oneself and questioning whether you are in the “right place.”
Several factors can contribute to professional burnout. Heavy workloads or being overworked are common in today’s society. Insufficient rewards or recognition combined with a lack of workplace support can contribute to burnout. There are resources and practices that professionals can use to identify burnout and overcome and prevent burnout.
To mitigate burnout, Dr. Susan suggests creating a solid personal structure. As Dr. Susan said, structure creates a “buffer against chaos” and suggested thinking about the people in your life that have expectations for you. It’s best to accommodate and be grateful versus resentful for these expectations that your loved ones have.
Structure starts with a strong sense of personal identity. Once that is established, we need to identify the rights and responsibilities of those around us in order to align our expectations and set boundaries. Think about the people you are responsible for, and remember that the people depending on you make you more resilient. Another resource is fostering intimate and sustainable relationships (including the relationship with yourself). Self-love is key! It is also essential to have a sense of belonging and support from those around us.
Burnout is unfortunately common in our society. We have to be diligent to prevent becoming burned out by being cognisant of our mental health. It is vital to stay positive and stick to the structures in our lives that bring us belonging and support.