What burn out looks like and how to manage it

Burn out can manifest as emotional, mental and or physical exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress.

It is important to recognise the signs of burnout and take preventative steps towards enhancing your self-care. It’s important that Early Childhood Educators are valued and appreciated for their efforts by their leaders and within the organisation they work in.  

Actively supporting our wellbeing is crucial to preventing and addressing burn-out.

Things to look out for:

  • feeling overwhelmed
  • feeling constantly drained
  • being unable to meet demands
  • feeling a sense of failure or self-doubt
  • feelings of helplessness, defeat, detachment, and aloneness
  • feeling unmotivated or that nothing you do makes a difference
  • physical symptoms like frequent headaches or muscle pain, lowered immunity, change in appetite or sleep habits
  • feeling exhausted all the time
  • feeling that every day is a bad day
  • withdrawing from responsibilities, isolating yourself from others
  • using food, drugs or alcohol to cope.

Managing burn out

Managing burn out requires the three ‘R’ approach, recognise, reverse, resilience.

Recognise – by watching for the warning signs of burnout
Reverse – by undoing the damage by seeking support and managing stress
Resilience – build your resilience by taking care of your physical and emotional health.

It is important to:

  • reach out to your close network of support
  • be more sociable with your co-workers
  • limit your contact with negative people
  • connect with a cause that is personally meaningful to you
  • reframe the way you look at work by finding some value in your work
  • find balance in your life by focusing on the parts of your life that bring you joy
  • set boundaries around what you can do
  • take a break from technology on a daily basis
  • exercise
  • have a healthy diet – this also helps to significantly reduce stress
  • nourish your creative side
  • set aside time for relaxation.

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