Let’s Talk About Job Burnout

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Burnout is not a condition that appears overnight. It is the long-term sum of exhaustion, mixed with being overwhelmed, stress, lack of focus, and being overworked. Despite burnout being associated with work, it can happen at home as well. So how do we temper burnout and keep it from happening?

This content is also available in Spanish.

Audience Questions

With a focus on our professional lives, Dr. Lisa Coyne answers audience questions about burnout including:

  • What is burnout?
  • Is there a difference between being worn out and burnout? How do you know what the tipping point is between the two?
  • What happens when you’re not at a high level in your job and don’t feel like you have the authority to take a step back and say “I feel overwhelmed?” I’ve felt concerned bringing burnout up at my job, like I’ll be looked down on or that I can’t handle my job. How can I deal with this?
  • If you’re a boss or managing multiple people, how do you advise breaking the ice with your team to acknowledge stress and burnout? How can you help break a cycle of burnout from those around you?
  • Have you found that working in mental health makes it easier to identify or empathize with burnout more than working in another field or industry?
  • How do we motivate ourselves to get psychological flexibility to fight off stress when it’s happening and ward off burnout?
  • What do you do when you love the work you’re currently doing, but your rapport with your supervisor has declined over a disagreement over job pay? I’m working to the best of my ability, but I’m still overwhelmed. Would this be burnout?
  • Is there a way to separate what’s happening around us environmentally (e.g., the pandemic) versus feeling burned out because the job isn’t a good fit for me?
  • What happens when you have a really demanding job, and you’re a caregiver? If you’re caring for either a parent or child, but are also trying to juggle work/work-from-home, how can you help avoid burnout?
  • Even when you’ve acknowledged you’re burned out, how do you rediscover joy and meaning in your life?
  • What is an effective way to recover from burnout?
  • How do mindfulness and resiliency relate to burnout? Does burnout result from having a lack of resiliency?
  • Do you have any advice to reduce stress in the moment?
  • In terms of what you’re thinking and feeling, what happens when we have troublesome thoughts and feelings? How can we manage these when relating to burnout?
  • I’m irritable, angry, and critical all the time. How much of this may relate to being newly sober and in recovery, and how much of this is attributable to burnout?
  • My doctor’s note to continue working from home was rejected by my company and I had to return to the office. I’ve teetered back and forth between doing what I’m told versus speaking up for what is good for both my physical and mental health. Do you have suggestions for someone who’s experiencing workplace burnout but also frustration due to problems like this one?
  • What’s the most crucial piece of advice or help on how to mitigate burnout that I can bring back to my university?
  • Can we effectively recover from burnout? How can we recognize ourselves as being “recovered from burnout”?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

Additional Resources

You may also find these resources helpful:

About Dr. Coyne

Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and is a senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.) at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Coyne has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting. She is the author of “The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years,” a book for parents of young children.

Recent books by Dr. Coyne:

Learn more about Dr. Coyne.

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