Leadership Lesson – July 2022: Time to Renew, Replenish and Recharge

July 6, 2022

Words of advice from leaders on the front lines.
This month’s leadership lesson is from Janice Hidalgo, Regional Lead of Chronic Disease Management Programs.

Time to Renew, Replenish and Recharge

Doctor Burnout

Summer is the perfect time to prioritize your well-being and work towards preventing burnout. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.

Anyone exposed to chronically stressful conditions can experience burnout. Still, workers in the health care industry, human services employees, first responders, and educational services are at higher risk.

As in 2020, American workers across the board saw heightened rates of burnout in 2021, and according to APA’s 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey of 1,501 U.S. adult workers, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. Nearly three in five employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and an astounding 44% reported physical fatigue—a 38% increase since 2019.

Vacation days don’t necessarily translate into a sense of relief. On the contrary, it can be stressful for some to return from vacation knowing that a pileup of emails is waiting for their attention. Employees often continue to check emails while on vacation, which may cause additional stress with family members competing for their attention.

So, what to do? Instead of waiting to go on vacation to relax, try to incorporate small changes in your routine that feel like bite-sized vacation activities even while you are working. My favorite one is committing to take at least one conference call a day to take outside while I walk my dogs. (This will not work if it’s your turn to take notes!)

Here are some tips from Becca at HalfHalfTravel.com:

Go for a walk. There’s something truly refreshing about seeing green trees, grass, flowers or landscapes, no matter where you live. (And if you live in a desert, maybe you’ll see sand and cacti — that’s okay, too!)

Take breaks. Stamp out work-from-home burnout before you get there by making sure you take breaks. It’s one of the best ways to set a schedule for yourself.

Make yourself a rewards system. For example, if I have 10 emails to work through, I tell myself that no matter how long it takes, I have to get through these emails, or I can’t do yoga or start dinner. Reward yourself with tacos from your favorite restaurant or an hour-long FaceTime with an old friend.