Exhaustion is a defining quality of burnout. Despite lots of evidence of its damaging impact, exhaustion has eluded effective action. Many talk about it but few do anything about it.
From one perspective the problem is simple. There are a limited number of approaches:
1) Raise the overall level of energy. Increasing resiliency through a more sustainable lifestyle of rest, nutrition, exercise, and relationships. This approach would allow people to maintain a given level of exertion energetically.
2) Lower the level of demands. With fewer drains upon energy, people would avoid exhaustion.
3) Work smarter. Increasing resources, such as knowledge, tools, or team members, to address current demands would slow the drain of energy.
So what is so difficult?
There are many dimensions to that question. One is the culture of doing more with less. Not only have employers embraced this paradigm, but individuals have applied it as well to their personal lives. We aspire to so much!
The following posts will explore some of the consequences of approach to life and work.
Dear Dr. Leiter:
I agree in those dimensions you have mentioned, specially in culture of doing more with less. I would add in the Latinoamerican case, that the concept of “work” has pretty much with suffering and also, pretend to be stronger than others if I can support more workload(characteristic in “machismo”). Finally, more than 60% of latinoamerican people has two jobs (I have three) and our only goal is to have money enough to cover basic needs. Therefore our strategies to cope with Exhaustion need a special analysis.
Good to hear from you. You make an excellent point about the exceptional demands of 2 or 3 jobs. You not only have the additional time and effort involved, but there is the additional demand of shifting roles from one job to the next. And each job has relationships to maintain and organizational developments to track.
Sustaining one’s energy is an important challenge to balance in everyone’s life.