Avoiding emotional burnout as an occupational therapist

Emotional burnout is often a reaction to a prolonged period of stress, with the key symptoms consisting of lack of motivation, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness. Unfortunately, burnout is particularly common in the healthcare sector where staff work long hours and are often subject to high-stress situations. 


So how can you avoid emotional burnout as an occupational therapist? We’ve put together a short list of suggestions which could help mitigate the chances of emotional burnout and help you put yourself first!


  1. Set boundaries


While compassion is a key quality of a great occupational therapist, it is easy to overstep the mark when it comes to caring too much. By this we mean putting all your energy into helping your clients, to the point where you are no longer putting your needs first. To mitigate this risk, make sure you have firm boundaries in place such as limiting self-disclosure and treating the client as a client, rather than a friend. By setting boundaries at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship, you are not only protecting yourself from burnout but also create a safe environment for the client. 


2. Recharge your batteries 


A change of scenery is always good when your mind is overwhelmed. Take all of your allocated holiday and maintain a healthy work/life balance by putting time aside to do something that makes you happy everyday. 


  1. It’s all about team spirit 


Burnout can be infectious so make an effort to boost team spirits wherever you can! Celebrate small wins, provide positive feedback and delicate time to discuss any issues your colleagues may be struggling with on a regular basis. If everyone feels supported and empowered in their role then team morale is only likely to improve. 


For further professional support resources check out our blog post here