Burnout risk self-assessment

In our preceding newsletter we talked about preventing professional burnout.  We will explore further this subject by discussing self-diagnosis.

Should the result of your self-diagnosis be positive, we invite you to contact us in order to outline a customized action plan adapted to your needs.

Self-diagnosis: are you prone to burnout?

Researchers (see bibliography) have highlighted several factors as possible causes of professional burnout.

Ask yourself a few questions with the help of the chart hereunder…

Possible causes of burnout

Characteristics

Comments

Constant search for challenge o  You need to be permanently challenged

o  You are looking for challenges equal to your ambitions

o  …

You underestimate the effect of prolonged stress and intellectual overwork induced by challenges.  In order to avoid burnout, you must watch out for the physical consequences engendered by a permanent state of tension and restlessness.
High expectations, perfectionism o  You overwork, you work in a compulsive manner

o  You find it difficult to delegate and trust your colleagues

o  You have an overload of information

o  …

These extremely high expectations can turn against you, causing chronic impatience and dissatisfaction, extreme irritability, feelings of frustration with severe consequences on your physical well-being (sleeplessness, tension, …), leading to burnout.
Fear of failure o  You are afraid of not being equal to challenges

o  You imagine gloomy scenarios

o  You can no longer think of anything but your work

o  …

Fear of failure or of not being up to expectations, can engender latent anxiety or a deep anguish, even when such feelings are not justified by concrete elements.  There again, at risk of burnout, you must pay attention to your capacity to rest or do something other than work.
An urge to accomplish a mission

 

o  You feel invested with a mission

o  You put your body and soul into your project

o  You tend to think that people around you are not sufficiently concerned

o  …

This feeling, even though laudable to some extent, can lead a person to devote herself exclusively to her project and little by little increases the risk of burnout, as she loses interest in anything else in her life, such as health and a personal life.
Loneliness o  You take decisions on your own

o  You don’t trust your co-workers enough to help you

o  You keep your worries to yourself

o  …

Solitude derives directly from a power position and increases the risk of burnout. When a person carries alone the burden of responsibilities, he/she faces greater risks of taking the wrong decision or making mistakes in his/her choices, thus bringing about an added psychic load and increasing the fear of failure and the reluctance to ask for help.
Concern for your image o  You are always trying to make a good impression

o  You think you must always be up to the expectations of your co-workers

o  You don’t want to look vulnerable

o  …

Power positions can engender a real narcissistic pitfall: becoming captive to a delusion of infallibility or trying at all costs to appear strong in the eyes of people who have put their trust in us. This will induce the leader to mask his doubts and his questioning, and will magnify his loneliness with all the ensuing consequences, leading to a possible burnout.
Lack of balance between private and professional life o  You find it hard to draw the line between your personal and professional life

o  You are increasingly indifferent to anything but your work

o  …

This lack of balance is both a symptom and an aggravating factor because it will deprive you of precious personal resources.

The absence of divide between the two spheres and the tendency to keep going without stopping may lead to a personal crisis, which could be a warning sign of burnout if treated in time.

Positive result of the questionnaire: if you have ticked at least 6 boxes in this list, take time to talk to us.

Identifying the professional burnout symptoms: though they may differ from one person to another, some common features have been brought to light, mainly represented by three types of symptoms.

We suggest that you don’t take these symptoms lightly because in order to prevent burnout it is important to act at the first warning signals.

Physical symptoms Emotional symptoms Behavioral symptoms
o  Persistent fatigue

o  Sleep disorders

o  Migraines

o  Back pain

o  Digestive disorders

o  Skin problems

o  Nervous restlessness

o  Intolerance

o  …

o  Loss of energy

o  Discouragement

o  Rumination

o  Anxiety

o  Panic attacks

o  Feelings of insecurity

o  Frustration

o  Weariness

o  …

o  Susceptibility

o  Aggressiveness

o  Negative attitude

o  Cynicism

o  Difficulties in delegating

o  Isolation

o  Feeling of failure

o  Excessive demands

o  …

 

Bibliography

  • Freudenberger, H. (1987). L’épuisement professionnel :  La Brûlure interne.  Québec : Gaétan Morin Éditeur.
  • Épuisement professionnel :approches innovantes et pluridisciplinaires – Philippe Zawieja et Franck Guarnieri – Armand Collin Editeur- 2013
  • Le burn out ; Philippe Zawieja, PUF – Que sais-je ? – 2015
  • The Burnout companion to study and practice: a critical analysis (issues in occupational health) – W. Schaufeli et D. Enzmann ; CRC Press- Edition 1998
  • Questionnaire CBI (Copenhagen Burnout Inventory) https://www.therapiebreve.be/plus/tests/burnout-cbi#cadre-1
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