Chapter 3: When more help is needed

Is it burnout?

The grief expert says
Dr. Chris MacKinnon explains the signs of burnout and poses the question: Where am undermining my own best interest?(3:22)Video transcript

Remember that burnout is not the same thing as compassion fatigue or work-related grief distress. However, if you don't address these experiences, you may find yourself feeling "burnt out". Also, rather than representing a personal failure, burnout can be the result of a conflict between your needs or values and those of your workplace. 

While it's not helpful to blame yourself if you feel burnt out, it's still up to you to decide what to do about it. Careful and honest evaluation will help you to assess which changes you need to make. Whether it's a change in workplace or to your own habits and activities, the earlier you take action, the better.

Factors leading to burnout 

PowerlessnessFeeling things are out of your control:     Feeling you have no say in your work can contribute to burnout.
Values differ

Your values don’t align with that of the organization: Every organization has values even if they’re unstated. If you feel your values don’t match those of your workplace, this can add to stress.

Work/life imbalance

An imbalance between work and personal life: Long shifts or staggered shifts can be taxing on relationships and family life. 


A lack of recovery time between shifts; extended periods between vacations, poor sleep; no physical exercise; and poor diet can all contribute to burnout.

Lack of support

Isolation from peers and an inadequate support network outside of work can contribute to burnout.    

Work lacks meaningIt can be difficult to keep going when you don’t feel your work is making a difference and helping people.
Job no longer fits

A career can run its course; it may no longer meet your expectations or be aligned with who you are.

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If you're experiencing any of these, seek out support from your peer support group, Employee Assistance Program, faith leader or family doctor.