by Christa Rogers, Team Leader
I recently was given the opportunity to attend an interactive virtual webinar titled Managing the Madness: Self-Care for Human Service Professionals, led by Gregory A. Krausz, MA, CAADC, LPC. There was substantial information of value to take away from his presentation; in particular, an approach combating and overcoming professional burnout known as the Three R approach.
The first “R” stands for recognize. It is important to recognize and watch for the warning signs of professional burnout. Warning signs may individualize from professional to professional. However, some common indicators are noticeable when the boundary lines of life and work become blurred. Other warning signals include:
Fear of taking time away from activities/tasks
Habitual negative thinking
Overreacting to minor stressors
Dreading the day-to-day
Making more mistakes
Not getting enough sleep
Carrying over stress between work to home
Isolating from social commitments
The next “R” is reverse. After recognizing professional burnout, it is important to construct a plan to undo the damage. It is recommended first to evaluate the source and triggers of stress, then to assess a baseline of previously attempted stress-relieving strategies by comparing successes and failures. From there, a stress management plan, including effective recovery strategies, can be developed. The plan should be specified to the professional’s unique needs; but, a few general strategies include:
Slowing down and allowing time for self-care
Building a support system of friends, family, and co-workers to allow for development of resilience
Acknowledging failures and losses to allow for growth and progress
Re-evaluating goals and priorities to plan for the future
The last “R” is resilience. After reversing professional burnout, it is important to build resilience by taking care of physical and emotional health. Human service professionals should focus on building personal resiliency before attempting to build relational resiliency with connections, personal and professional, in their lives. Resiliency can be developed and strengthened with the Seven Cs of resilience.
Competence - Recognizing one’s capabilities. Take time to acknowledge and praise a job well done. Competence teaches how to recover after a fail.
Confidence - Believing in oneself to handle the task(s) at hand. Confidence teaches how to recover from challenges by thinking outside the box.
Connection - Relating with others. Connection teaches how to trust others and stand independently, by developing creative solutions.
Character - Having good morals. Character teaches commitment to integrity.
Contribution – One’s input to the well-being of others. Contribution teaches gratitude, which enforces the reliance on others, without negative interpersonal feelings.
Coping - Self-regulation during stressful situation. Coping teaches positive, healthy, long-term mechanisms in dealing with stress, rather than relying on quick, instant, temporary fixes.
Control - Understanding privilege and respect through delayed gratification, and showing responsibility. Control teaches how to make responsible choices and set long-term goals.