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  • Writer's pictureKhadija Owusu

I can't do this anymore! - 5 Signs and 5 Tips for Overcoming Burnout

Burnout is a huge problem amongst doctors.

Recently, an article was published last week in the Guardian stating this, with the risk of burnout currently being at its worst. This includes data on a global study on the experiences of >200,000 doctors which found that they 'were twice as likely' to be involved in patient safety incidents, be considered less professional and receive poor feedback from their patients.

This is not news to us and I’m sure we also know that burnout does not only exist amongst those working in the healthcare sector, it exists across all industries and even whilst pursuing an education. With many of us potentially being burnt out in this very moment, yet we may not even know it! It’s important to identify when we are reaching our limits or our breaking point so that we can apply the necessary measures to make sure we get through it whilst being okay.

Define Burnout

Recognised by WHO as an 'occupational phenomenon', burnout is defined in the ICD-11 as 'a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’


'A state of physical and emotional exhaustion' due to your occupation.

Several factors can cause burnout. For example work-life imbalance, increased pressures at work, lack of control, lack of social support, dysfunctional workplace dynamics including being treated unfairly and many more.

But how does it physically and mentally manifest?

  • Always or often feeling tired, exhausted and worn out

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Having a cynical and/or negative outlook towards your job

  • Self-doubt

  • Inability to perform your job to the best of your ability

Here are 5 tips to overcome burnout:

  1. Talk to others - Who are the key trusted individuals in your support network? Talk to them, share your thoughts and feelings. Additionally, there is no harm in seeking therapy from a professional too!

  2. Take breaks and sleep! - I cannot stress how important not only getting enough sleep is but also having good nights of sleep. Sometimes we see sleep as a hindrance to us accomplishing our tasks or even hitting our goals. We become obsessed with ensuring we smash our targets and complete everything on our to-do lists, forgetting that we are human; we are not robots. Our bodies require the 7-8 hours of sleep each night in order to healthily function. It is okay to not get everything done, at least you managed to do something. That is a step in the right direction, and certainly an improvement on the accomplishments made the previous day. Sleep, rejuvenate and go harder the next day.

  3. Establish a daily routine and create boundaries - This is ofcourse easier said than done. I'm still even trying to incorporate this into my life! Know when to tell yourself you’ve done enough for the day or for the time being and completely step away from the work and unwind. I particularly find this quite difficult because I am an avid multi-tasker.

  4. Do what you love to do! - By this I mean continue to do what makes you happy. Work can often become overwhelming to the extent of neglecting the things we used to do that in a way may have kept us sane. With the establishment of clear boundaries, do the things that you enjoy, whether that be spending time with friends and family or even working on e.g. your passion projects on the side.

  5. And finally, it is important that employers take accountability for the wellbeing of their employees. It is their responsibility to also provide a safe space and make more of an effort to foster communications regarding the support available, whilst ensuring the resources and tools to overcome this are in place and supplied for all.

Experiencing burnout is common. I hope these tips help and remember, you’re not the only one.

Share any of your thoughts and tips in the comments!

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