Burnout and Trauma Exposure: You Know When Something Isn’t Right

Remember that we’re nine months into a global pandemic. We are experiencing a form of collective trauma.

Not to mention political and racial unrest, a series of natural disasters, and a high rate of unemployment.

The days are getting shorter. This makes it harder to stay positive. Or make time to ever go outside. (Vitamin D supplements are your friend!)

When I’m on Zoom calls recently, everyone is exhausted.

You might have noticed that it doesn’t feel good to be at work right now.

But it might not be clear why.

Trust your instincts.

Trauma Exposure Response

Here are some possible signs that your workplace might be impacted by trauma exposure response:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do, and feeling like any contribution you make is only a drop in the bucket
  • The urge to keep longer hours, take fewer breaks, do overtime
  • The sense one is never doing “enough” no matter how hard or long you are working
  • Hyperfocusing on work, including not being able to “clock out” emotionally or mentally at the end of the day
  • Increase in gossip, cliques, divisiveness, “either/or” thinking
  • Attention is only paid to a problem when it has become a crisis – anyone complaining about something at non-crisis levels is seen as overreacting
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, more need for sick days
  • Making excuses to avoid work tasks and/or avoidance of or lack of interest in hobbies or interests during time off (i.e. zoning out in front of the TV and not actively watching)
  • Feeling mistreated or picked on, “us vs them”, increased conflict paired with lack of agency to solve problems
  • Feeling guilty for not feeling more grateful to even have a job, be able to work remotely, etc and telling yourself other people have it worse
  • Increase in cynicism, dark humor, etc
  • Overwork, need to constantly be busy
  • Increased use of alcohol, nicotine, recreational substances, abuse of prescription medications
  • Thoughts like “No one else can do what I do” or “They need me”
  • Feeling trapped

If any of this resonates, remember that being aware of the problem is the first step!

One possible resource is the book Trauma Stewardship

I created a self-paced course about trauma exposure response.

You can also contact me for a consultation.

We can work together to create a self care and stress management plan, while you consider your next steps.

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