Written by Natasha Tanic, a psychologist with more than seventeen years of experience in mental health, counseling, and education.
Burnout represents a state of severe stress that leads to emotional and physical exhaustion.
Burnout in veterinary medicine usually results from chronic strain at the workplace.
It can significantly impact your career, social interactions, health, and overall well-being.
Avoiding burnout in veterinary medicine can help protect your mental health, keep up job satisfaction and productivity, and maintain positive social interactions.
However, to avoid burnout, you need to recognize its symptoms and address them on time.
Working in veterinary medicine can cause a high level of occupational stress.
While it is normal to feel exhausted now and then, you should speak to your doctor if you feel like this most of the time.
Recognize Burnout Moments: Signs of Burnout
However, it is not always easy to identify burnout. Below are common signs that you may struggle with burnout related to your profession.
Loss of Energy and Exhaustion
If you constantly feel emotionally and physically drained, you may be experiencing entrepreneurial burnout.
As a result, you may struggle with feelings of lethargy, irritability, or sadness.
At the same time, your physical symptoms may include a weakened immune system, insomnia, appetite changes, and frequent pains and aches.
A Sense of Detachment and Isolation
One of the burnout signals may be an intense feeling of loneliness and isolation.
People who feel overwhelmed and exhausted often experience a desire to take a break from co-workers and other people in their life, finding it challenging to maintain healthy relationships.
You may emotionally withdraw and stop socializing with family, friends, and colleagues due to burnout.
Also you may start avoiding responsibilities or lose interest in a profession you once enjoyed.
Burnout can cause you to quickly lose your temper with co-workers, family members, friends, and even clients.
As a result, you may fly off the handle for very small things.
Or you may struggle to cope with day-to-day stressors such as meeting your clients, working prolonged work hours, or attending meetings at work.
Also, burnout can cause you to lose interest in work you previously enjoyed or develop a negative attitude toward clients.
Stress from work can spill over into your personal life.
Therefore, everyday situations like taking your kids to school or doing household chores can cause you to hit the roof, especially when things don’t run smoothly.
Mental Health Concerns
Burnout is closely linked with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
If you suffer from burnout in veterinary medicine, you may experience a sense of failure and self-doubt, self-critical thoughts, apprehension, and other signs of anxiety.
You may also experience a lack of life satisfaction or feel helpless and hopeless most of the time.
Burnout can also cause you to neglect your own needs and self-care, like rest, exercise, or eating healthy.
How to Recognize the Signs of Burnout in Everyday Situations
You have escape daydreams
Mind-wandering in the middle of your working day may sometimes be a sign of burnout.
More and more often, you catch yourself sitting in your office fantasizing about going on a vacation by yourself, escaping your work or family, or simply vanishing somewhere where no one will find you.
Burnout can cause you to experience social interactions and gatherings as a burden instead of enjoying them.
For example, when your friends invite you to movies or dinner, you find excuses to stay at home.
You experience constant self-doubt
You are never satisfied with yourself, constantly pushing yourself to work harder and thinking self-limiting thoughts about your worth, success, or abilities.
You have become aggressive
You snap at others for no reason and constantly argue with family, friends, and co-workers.
You deny responsibility and displace conflicts
Instead of accepting accountability for your own behavior, you blame others for your problems.
For example, you are mad at your boss or co-workers for passing on too much work instead of acknowledging that you are pushing yourself to the limit.
Or you accuse them of being bossy, lazy, or incompetent.
You have started abusing alcohol and substances
You may turn to alcohol and substance abuse to cope with anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
How to Manage Burnout in Veterinary Medicine
If you feel that the demands of your workplace are causing mental and physical fatigue, talk to your doctor or seek mental health counseling.
However, below are a few self-care strategies to improve your resilience and help you avoid burnout.
Research shows that mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective strategies to boost resilience and improve your occupational well-being.
Studies show that regular mindfulness exercise can reduce the activity of the amygdala in your brain, which is a kickoff of stress responses.
Mindfulness can be a powerful way to rewire your brain for greater cognitive flexibility.
Such change can help you adapt to new situations and conditions more efficiently, think creatively, and find new ways to solve problems.
In addition, mindfulness practice can improve your mood, help you overcome self-critical thoughts, and increase optimism.
Research has many times confirmed mental health benefits of exercise.
Regular physical activity can boost your energy levels, help release tension, and alleviate the symptoms related to anxiety and depression.
Also, exercise can help prevent burnout as it can improve your immune system, enhance your sleep patterns, and strengthen your stress coping mechanisms.
Mental Health Counseling and Psychotherapy
Talking to a mental health professional can help you learn stress management strategies, raise resilience, and help develop positive coping mechanisms.
Treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you overcome negative thinking patterns that trigger stress and anxiety.
You can learn how to replace negative thoughts with a positive mindset, teach you strategies to cope with stress better, and strengthen your ability to adapt to work and life demands better.
Burnout is an energy-depleting process that can severely affect work motivation and productivity, relationships, and well-being. Identifying its signs on time can help you avoid burnout and take steps to protect yourself from it.