Burnout, Inspiring Messages & Work-Life Balance

It is possible to love what you do and still be stressed by it to the point of burning out.  Burnout happens sometimes without us even realizing that it is happening. It is a response that our body and mind have after being in a state of prolonged stress which has not been managed properly.  Experiencing burnout is not your fault.  We have so many things going on in our daily lives, both in our personal life as well as our work life, that sometimes it creeps up on us before we realize them. 

How do you know that you are experiencing burnout?

  • Feeling drained and tired all the time (even a good night’s sleep doesn’t help) 
  • Feeling detached or alone
  • Getting angry fast or for no reason
  • Second guessing yourself or having self-doubt
  • Constant feelings of being overwhelmed. 

Stress caused by work challenges can give us more energy to find solutions that help those we support to succeed, reach their goals and be happy with their lives. 

Work challenges can also be overwhelming if they are hard to solve, go on for too long or we lack the time to focus on them because of overwork. As we move toward burnout, we become tired and then emotionally and physically drained. We feel that we are not making a difference and stop trying. 

Burnout does not have to happen. There are things you can do to deal with stressful emotions so that you do not become drained. And you are not alone. There are people who can help you solve problems you face in disability work, so that you can be successful in making a difference in people’s lives (including your own).

Albertans Advocating for Change Together (AACT) is a network of people with developmental and other disabilities and their allies who were concerned about good support workers burning out and leaving. We need good supporters—not just for our own benefit—but because we want workers to have a good life, too. We developed this toolkit with ADWA to help workers manage their stress and have a good work-life balance. We hope that you will find ideas and information that you can use in your life because you are important.

You Make a Difference to Others!

Need a reminder? Watch one of these videos:

Work – Life Balance

The key to managing stress and avoiding burnout is to have a good balance between work and the rest of your life. When you “put all your eggs in one basket,” as the saying goes, you run the risk of over-reacting to the things that go wrong in life, even the ones that you couldn’t have done anything to prevent. 

As disability workers, your work has challenges, and some stress is to be expected. Having a good work-life balance helps you to meet those stresses, make good choices, and have a fulfilling life. Research on stress and burnout tells us that these things help.

Daily Balance

Life Balance

Cognitive Strategies

  • Try to be aware of your feelings and needs.
  • Monitor your feelings and reactions to those you support.
  • Be aware of triggers (things, obstacles and situations) that increase your stress.
  • Think ahead to  manage the challenges of your work responsibilties

Professional Support

Professional Development

  • Connect with ADWA.
  • Take part in work-related social and community events.
  • Find ways to stay current in your professional knowledge.
  • Maximize time in professional activities that you enjoy.

Adapted from APA Self-Care Guide and Dorociak, K. E., Rupert, P. A., Bryant, F. B., & Zahniser, E. (2017). Self-Care Assessment for Psychologists (SCAP) [Database record]. APA PsycTests. https://doi.org/10.1037/t59491-000