‘Tis the Season… for Burnout


Isn’t it ironic that the time of year that is known for bringing the most joy also tends to bring the most stress?  Every year I find myself spiraling a bit starting in November… That may seem a bit excessive, but hear me out.   You see, I come from a long line of planners and my husband comes from a long line of impromptu-ers (that’s a word that I just made up), so I find myself planning for everyone in our household.

This year, inspired by Janiece’s efficiency of being ready for December before Thanksgiving even struck, I got a jump start on gifts and all things that come with hosting Christmas Day dinner (and the day after Christmas brunch).  Spoiler alert… despite all of this early planning, it didn’t really ease the burnout I was feeling – in fact it contributed to it.  Case in point, it isn’t even Christmas yet and I am already over it (Christmas, the parties, the anticipation, everything).

Professionally, I think that a lot of people, myself included, see December as a month to “catch-up” at work (especially when we look ahead to the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s). The things that we have been putting off for a while finally feel like there will be time to fit into the schedule.  But then, that professional list of responsibilities gets to be just as long as the personal list.  December, December, December… you are a very tricky and exhausting month!

Enough with my rambling.  I asked some of our DTA team members how they stay fresh and avoid burnout during the holiday season (or any time of year) in the hope that they might inspire me to do a better job moving forward.  Here’s what they had to say:

Janiece: My kids recently started referring to me as a “Gratitude Geek”.  I am all about gratitude!  I started writing in a gratitude journal twice a day about one year ago and I have noticed how it has infiltrated my life in other positive ways.  I even bought my kids gratitude journals for Thanksgiving.  Two out of three are actually using them!

Nicole: Nothing in particular. Buying presents for people used to stress me out so I stopped doing it. So maybe more generally saying “no” to things and not over committing.

Jen: I stick to my daily workout routine!

Nick:  I always felt getting together with friends and family, even if it’s briefly, always helped with the holiday burnout for me. Especially when we get together and eat far too much comfort food with a side of good conversation!

Kevin: It’s December already?!?

Burnout before, during or after the holidays is very real for most adults in America.  Whether burnout is generated from your personal life, professional life, of a combination of the two, there are lots of strategies to avoid burnout and reduce stress. Specific to the healthcare industry, it’s vital that we and our teams stay fresh to provide the best care to our patients and families.

How do I stay fresh especially during the holiday season? My response isn’t nearly as thoughtful as my colleagues (except Kevin) so I saved it for the end… I watch Bravo- anything on Bravo: Below Deck, Real Housewives of ANYWHERE, Pump Rules, and more…you name it, I’ve probably seen it. I find a way to make some space to chill out and watch a few of my favorite mindless shows to relax.

If you’re heading to the annual Beryl Institute Conference in Orlando in April, Janiece and I will be hosting a pre-conference session on the topic of “Avoiding Burnout and Building Resiliency”.  Sign up to hear Janiece and me speak when you register for the conference!


Pamela Hessler

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