Open your eyes and ears: The Frontline Burnout (My 5 signs)…

Hello Fellow Frontliners:

You wake up for another day of work and you might be mumbling under your breathe, you might be wishing you had another weekend, or you might be wishing it is the end of the week.

Its normal, we are human that might experience these emotions in the morning. However, when does it become a hinder to your frontline practice?

These are my personal 5 signs that a fellow frontline might begin to “burn out.”


Burnout? What do you mean the frontline field is finding it difficult to go to work? Don’t you all just play and talk to people all day? ( Words from my brother).

No, burn out exists when you are giving out all your energy and personal resources to the point you are having ill feelings about your career and even your other life domains.

Going back- these are my 5 signs that a frontline might be experiencing burnout:

1. Increase use of passive negative language towards the children, youth, and families you are supporting. Negative language often refers to a frontline acting careless about a young person, “Whatever, it is not like him/ her will ever be reunited with their mother anyways,” or ” Let them deal with it on their own, they need to learn to tough it up.” The frontliner does not appear to be sympathetic, compassionate, nor genuine in their practice.

2. Does not participate in hobbies and interests that make them happy. After work, the frontline feels they are too drained to continue to live their own passions and projects.

3. Emotional Breakdowns or a feeling of Meh. Periods of crying at random times or feeling numb to events that are going around you. Nothing seems to make you happy, excited, sad, or mad. You carry this one emotion of “you know it is going okay.”

4. Always Tired.  Even with the right amount of hours of sleep, you seem to always feel slow and worn out throughout the day. It is hard to get your energy back to where you want it.

5. Increase of aggression towards co-workers, friends, and family.  You snap easier and you feel that your loved ones around you are not helping you but bothering you instead.

These are 5 that I have encountered with other frontliners in the last 6 years in the field. Now, there are some important considerations when it comes to understanding burnout.

This concept is all RELATIVE!

It means, the experience of burnout can happen depending on the frontline’s type of workplace (Does he/she work in an environment that involves absorbing a lot of trauma? or is the environment not supportive or respectful to the frontline’s personal well being).  Burnout can be a built up of past unresolved experiences that the frontline has not been able to debrief about themselves or their trusted co workers. Burnout can happen earlier on in a frontline career or 20 years down the line.

All this being said, it is important to label and recognize burnout. You have a co worker who might exhibit their own burnout, talk to them and encourage them to seek some help. Do not let it fester- as we all know it may lead to poor mental health. If they do not want to talk to you, support them in finding some resources.

To my fellow frontliners: please reflect and practise self-care– as you all can see, I write. It helps me reflect on my interactions within the past week.

Thanks for reading- One love!



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