Categories for Burnout

The Expanded MBAI & Introducing the Senior Care Version

Identifying how each person wants to be shown appreciation is critical to be effective in encouraging and supporting one’s colleagues. Otherwise, team members wind up guessing or taking a shot in the dark, which can obviously lead to missing the mark. Over 285,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory which has helped them identify their Primary, Secondary and Least Valued Languages of Appreciation, along with the specific actions they value most within their Primary Language of Appreciation and from whom they desire those actions. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation of the... Continue reading...

Published by
September 13, 2021 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Practical Steps for Reducing the Stress of COVID-19

This blog is the second of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). In last week’s blog we discussed that stress is the result when perceived demands are greater than perceived resources. This week we want to focus on ways to cope with and reduce stress. Steps for reducing your stress Incorporating this model of stress is vital for successfully coping with the daily demands in your life and how you lead others. This model provides four different ways to reduce the stress we experience in our lives:... Continue reading...

Published by
August 30, 2021 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Navigating the Stress of the Long COVID-19 Journey

This blog is the first of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). Given the ongoing struggles with COVID-19, we are concerned about the health and well-being of all employees, and especially those who give direct care in difficult settings (medicine, schools, long-term care, etc.). To aid in this process we have created versions of our Motivating by Appreciation Inventory for these settings – most recently for those who serve in Senior Care. The action items for each language of appreciation are tailored for the unique circumstances and demands... Continue reading...

Published by
August 23, 2021 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

What do ‘mental health’ problems actually look like?

Frequent headlines in the news report “the level of mental health” among Americans is declining or “mental health issues are a primary concern” as a long-term consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what do mental health problems look like practically in our daily lives?  The issue may impact us personally, as well as our family members and/or our colleagues at work. Defining ‘Mental Health Problems’ As a psychologist, I often bristle at the use of generic terms in the mainstream media (and those who comment on the topics in social media) without really defining what the terms mean. One government... Continue reading...

Published by
February 22, 2021 8:59 am
Leave your thoughts

What is Most Concerning to Working From Home Employees: National Survey Results

Working from home (WFH) due to the COVID-19 pandemic has now moved past six months, and the longer term nature of this alternative approach to work is starting to show areas of “wear and tear” in many of our lives. While employees, employers and family members have settled into a number of adjustments in their daily lives, numerous stressors continue as a result of the interference of the pandemic: not being able to be with a family member who is in the hospital, significant adjustments to (or cancellation of) wedding ceremonies, the inability to visit extended family members in other... Continue reading...

Published by
September 21, 2020 9:00 am

Coping with Schooling at Home While Working From Home

  “How am I supposed to get my work done while I’m also expected to oversee my children’s schoolwork?” This critical question is one of the most common concerns raised by parents who are working from home. And with the schoolyear just beginning, this challenge, facing millions is both a very real and practical one. First, some context regarding my credibility. Prior to and during my work focused on work-based relationships and workplace culture, my professional focus included evaluating students with learning challenges, and consulting with parents and schools on the best ways to help their students learn. Additionally, we... Continue reading...

Published by
September 14, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Working From Home is Here to Stay: Simple Tips to Make Life Better

I often state that psychologists sometimes “discover the obvious.” Since I am a member of that prestigious group, let me make the self-evident conclusion clear: working from home (WFH) is here to stay. Working with (and leading) remote employees is a fact of life we need to accept and learn to manage. Two Key Perspectives To effectively deal with, and successfully adjust to working from home, we need to acknowledge that there are (at least) two quite different perspectives on the issue: the employees’ experience and the viewpoint from the organization’s leaders. Many articles and podcasts focus on one or... Continue reading...

Published by
August 24, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Are You Running Out of Gas? How to Avoid Burning Out

Have you ever run out of gas on a trip?  From personal experience, I can tell you it’s not a fun experience. (Fortunately, the last time this happened to me was several years ago!) Similarly, experiencing burnout in life or at work is painful, as well. The two experiences are quite similar and ones you want to avoid. When your car runs out of gas, the event itself isn’t that bad – the vehicle just stops and you can’t go anywhere, but you can’t get restarted. The consequences that follow are what creates the disruptions in your life.  First, you... Continue reading...

Published by
July 13, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Previously, changes had to be made in response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and they can take their toll on employees — which leads to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if... Continue reading...

Published by
May 18, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Feeling Overwhelmed? Stressed? Emotionally worn down? Here’s why (and some tactics to help)

Are you (like me) feeling overwhelmed? You are “tired of this.” You don’t know how to make decisions because you don’t know what information to believe? Are you sick of all the “newness” in your life, and the constant adjustments you have to make as a result? Welcome to life in the USA COVID-19 2020. Stressed. Emotionally drained. Feeling unsettled. All of these reactions are normal, given what is going on around us. But they still aren’t fun. What’s Going On Let’s take a quick look at the factors that have turned our lives upside down: 1.Unpredictability and instability. In... Continue reading...

Published by
May 11, 2020 9:00 am
13 Comments

How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During Difficult Times?

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. We are told “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and... Continue reading...

Published by
April 27, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Spring and the Importance of Newness in Our Lives

Spring is late in coming in my part of the country. The mornings have been cold; the days are often cloudy and dreary. And Spring – the vibrancy and newness of life – has been put on hold across the country due to shelter in place and social distancing policies. Being able to get out and about, get together with friends and family, and go “do something” has been essentially written out of our lives. As a result, many people feel stagnant. Bored. Unstimulated. All of which can lead to depression and irritability. These feelings, coupled with the underlying anxiety... Continue reading...

Published by
April 20, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Picking Up Cues that Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to be encouraged and feel appreciated, and you may not know it. Not everyone wears a sign that says, “I need to feel valued” or “Approaching burnout: encouragement needed,” (although some of us do wear ‘signs’ on our faces where others can easily tell when we are discouraged or weary). But many people are harder to read—they don’t say much and have rather non-expressive facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up clues sent out by others. Our colleagues may be clearly communicating their distress, but we... Continue reading...

Published by
September 30, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Revisiting the Meaning of Vacation

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and what it has come to mean in our culture. Vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities. We get a different perspective on life when we get away from our daily routines. Fortunately, the growing popularity of the stay-cation has allowed even those in a tight financial situation to enjoy the benefits of ‘getting away.’ Vacation implies that you aren’t working. You are taking a vacation from work. At times, I... Continue reading...

Published by
July 22, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Overcoming Busyness – Our Cultural Addiction*

Busyness seems to have risen to the level of addiction within our culture, and is even considered a badge of honor. When, for example, have you heard anyone report: “I’m doing great. I’ve got lots of extra time and energy to do what I want?” What is Busyness, Really? To reduce busyness in our lives, we have to first understand what “busyness” is. Is it a set of behaviors? Is it an attitude? Or a perspective on life? Most people respond: “All three.” At a foundational level, busyness is the experience of feeling like we have more to do than... Continue reading...

Published by
July 15, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Boost Employee Morale: 3 Simple Steps YOU Can Take

‘Low Staff Morale’ is one of the most common issues leaders report that they struggle with. “We need help,” one manager told me. “People are negative, complaining, and don’t feel like the management cares about anything but getting the work done. And, to be honest, that’s how they have been treated. We need to turn things around.” PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE Here are three action steps you can take to improve (your own and) others’ morale: #1: Conduct a Self-Assessment   Ask yourself: What am I doing that isn’t helpful in creating a positive workplace? This could include both actions (complaining about a... Continue reading...

Published by
February 11, 2019 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

How to Avoid Holiday Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress

“The holidays.”  Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotional reactions.  The Hannukah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, with them comes a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and a sense of tiredness (and I haven’t even done anything yet). Family gatherings, shopping, managing our finances, holiday parties and concerts to attend, traveling, and so forth — the Christmas season and New Year’s tend to create more stress for us. Practical advice and some you (probably) don’t usually hear. Stress is essentially the experience of having more demands... Continue reading...

Published by
December 17, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Are You Burned Out?

I see a lot of “burned out” (or “flaming out”) employees. People who are emotionally, relationally and physically worn down. Responsible individuals that have “given all they’ve got” (usually in multiple areas of their lives) and don’t have much, if anything, left to give. Being “burned out” doesn’t have much to do with what type of work you do. Burned out employees exist everywhere: medical settings, schools, law enforcement, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and hospices, financial institutions, mining companies, and intercity social service agencies just to name a few. How can I tell they’re worn out? Here are the... Continue reading...

Published by
October 29, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Do You Ever Get Discouraged?

You work hard, try your best, and still, things don’t work out as you hoped. You plan, prepare, think ahead — and yet, something unforeseen comes out of nowhere and creates another obstacle you have to overcome. Life, both at work and outside of work, is difficult (at times, at least.) What is discouragement, really?  Discouragement literally means, “without courage.” We lose that fighting edge to “go get ’em” and attack the challenges of the day. We lose heart. We are worn out. We wonder if “it” (our goals/our vision) is worth all of the time and effort we are... Continue reading...

Published by
September 10, 2018 8:39 am
Leave your thoughts

Combating the ‘My-Boss-Is-a-Jerk’ Blues

It’s still possible to find fulfillment at work when your supervisor is a moron. Two common mantras in our culture today are: “I hate my job” and “My boss is a jerk.” While both statements may be true, hating your job because your boss is a jerk isn’t going to lead anywhere good. According to Gallup, more than half of the U.S. workforce (or about 70 million employees) either are just enduring their job or actively hate where they work. With that level of dissatisfaction, it’s no surprise that we hear so many negative comments – either in personal conversations,... Continue reading...

Published by
August 30, 2018 6:02 pm
Leave your thoughts

Out of the Rut

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut or experiencing a particularly low point in your life? It’s times like these when we feel down, hopeless and stuck. This can run the spectrum of significance, such as being bored at work to grieving the death of a family member or friend, but the symptoms are the same. We become disengaged and cannot fully focus or show up with our best selves. The key to getting out of a rut is self-care, even when that feels like your lowest priority and the last thing you have time for. But... Continue reading...

Published by
August 13, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Busyness & The Lack of Margin in Our Lives

One of the most common maladies in the 21st century is living lives that feel stressed and chronically overwhelmed. We are busy, tired, and we feel stretched – there always seems to be more to do than we have time or energy. When demands appear to be greater than our resources, the result in our lives is stress. We feel stressed in different areas of life: time, physical and emotional energy, relational demands and finances. Stress then displays itself in our lives in a variety of ways: irritability, anxiety, not eating well, poor sleep habits, not exercising regularly, making hasty... Continue reading...

Published by
May 21, 2018 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

PRACTICAL STEPS FOR REDUCING YOUR STRESS AT WORK

Part of my job as a psychologist is to observe – observe patterns of behavior, be attune to my own thoughts and feelings, and to derive some potentially helpful information from patterns I see.   I have observed some factors in life that really wear people down – they are not really hidden but are often subtle. Sometimes they are obvious and plain, but people (both the person experiencing the aspect of life as well as those around them) tend to minimize the impact the issue has on their life.   So let me share some of my observations (remember,... Continue reading...

Published by
October 2, 2017 3:49 pm
Leave your thoughts

Trump’s First 100 Days: How Arbitrary Deadlines Create Stress

Much of the news this past week has been focused on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and what accomplishments have been made in that time frame.  On the one hand, setting a deadline to review progress made on goals seems appropriate; on the other hand, this process is a great example of how setting arbitrary deadlines create unnecessary stress in the workplace. For the President (Trump or otherwise), is there anything magical about 100 days?  Not really.  The time period could be 90 days, 3 months, or 101 days — the length of time is not directly related... Continue reading...

Published by
April 28, 2017 5:09 pm
Leave your thoughts

Are You Burned Out? Symptoms & Steps to Take

I see a lot of “burned out” (or “flaming out”) employees.  People who are emotionally, relationally, and physically worn down.  Responsible individuals (usually in multiple areas of their lives) that have “given all they’ve got” and don’t have much, if anything, left to give. Being “burned out” doesn’t have much to do with what type of work you do.  I have the opportunity to work with a variety of work settings and lots of different types of businesses and burned out employees exist everywhere:  medical settings, schools, law enforcement, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and hospices, financial institutions, mining companies,... Continue reading...

Published by
March 7, 2017 3:02 pm
Leave your thoughts

Don’t Love Your Work? Relax, You’re Normal

    Do you love your work? In some circles, this is the expectation—that you should love your work and if you don’t, there is something wrong (with you or your job). But I’m here to proclaim: If you don’t love your work, relax. You are normal. This is true not only for the present developed world, but also for the vast majority of the workers across the world today, and especially when you consider the human experience over history. It is a privilege and a blessing to enjoy your work—but being enthralled with what you do is not normative;... Continue reading...

Published by
February 9, 2017 12:37 pm
Leave your thoughts

Why Cynicism is Good for The Workplace

It seems counterintuitive, but cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How? When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment. Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said,... Continue reading...

Published by
August 22, 2016 12:16 pm
Leave your thoughts

Revisiting the Meaning of “Vacation”

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and often what it has come to mean in our culture. First, vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities.  As my wife has commented, she gets a different perspective on life when she gets away from the daily routine.  Even if you are in a tight financial situation, getting away for a few days to a cheap cabin close-by can be sufficient. Next, vacation implies that you aren’t working.  You... Continue reading...

Published by
August 7, 2016 3:42 pm
Leave your thoughts

Cutting Through Cynicism With Authentic Appreciation – Part I

  “Are you kidding me? They don’t care about us.” “They don’t give a rip about me. It’s all about my performance. If I meet my performance goals, they’re happy. If I don’t, I’m gone.”   As I’ve worked with more facilities across the country, I’ve become aware that a large number of employees have a very cynical reaction to any discussion of positive communication from their supervisors, and sometimes, even their co-workers. The lack of genuineness in communicating appreciation may be the single biggest barrier to positive workplace relationships. One of the contributing factors to these underlying attitudes of cynicism... Continue reading...

Published by
March 31, 2016 11:04 am
Leave your thoughts

Years of Service Award Leads to $30,000 Fine

You may or may not know that the #1 reason employees are recognized is for their length of service with their organization. Individuals routinely receive recognition and some tangible reward (a certificate, a watch, bonus check) for being employed for 1 year, 5 years, etc. [By the way, I use the term “being employed” deliberately, as opposed to “working” for reasons to become evident.] Recently, an employee was found to be receiving his annual salary even though he had not shown up to work for at least six years!  Ironically, he may have gone undetected for longer except that his... Continue reading...

Published by
March 2, 2016 7:00 am
Leave your thoughts