Exhaustion and Burn Out

Every GP in our Practice, having spent 18 months going the distance EVERY SINGLE DAY feels burnt out; exhausted.
What helps?

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The demands faced by GPs must be immense. I wonder if people resort to their own wellbeing tactics or if they have sought help from talking therapies? Would be nice to hear from a GP about how they are coping with their work pressures.

I think one of the challenges is that when we are exhausted, we tend to do less, whereas it’s often the case (but not always) that when we do something more active, we feel better, more energised. When GPs feel so exhausted, it is hard to ask them to do something more, even though it might help.

Still, with winter ahead, I guess many are just preparing for what is to come.

I’ve heard when people are burnt out and exhausted it can be really helpful to have a work buddy. So having someone who might be experiencing the same demands at work that you can turn to and talk about what’s going on and what could help.

That’s a great idea. They can also give you ideas about whether you’ve been doing more than you need to, and whether that might be affecting how you feel.

Yes, exactly! You are going through it together as a team so nice to be able to share the burden.

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Interesting @Sophie. I’ve posted on another thread on our community about a programme the Mental Health Foundation run along these lines. Everyone has a buddy they can reach out to at times of being overwhelmed.

It sounds like it’s been very effective for them

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One of the things that keeps crossing my mind is that for people who were not health, care or other key workers, they often talk now as if there wasn’t a pandemic? Almost like they can’t see any reason for burn out?

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Yes, agreed @RDG! Life outside work does seem to have an air of normality about it these days, but work can be a stark reminder of the reality we still face. I’m not surprised people are feeling burned out. That feeling is almost made worse because everyone else thinks we the healthcare sector should be okay now

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I was talking to someone yesterday @Sophie, who suggested that because COVID was so traumatic for so many, they just had to block it out. I wonder if, at the right time, we need to do some remembrance activities, so we can kind of say ‘goodbye’ to those times, and then move forward to a better normal? COVID has also opened the door to some changes that we must nurture, to make our world more equal.

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That’s interesting @Sophie and @RDG.

I feel there is definitely a COVID legacy or hangover that many still feel (I know I do at times) and I guess because it’s never totally gone away, it can be hard to draw lines even if we know many things can be

Yes, I agree. The covid hangover can feel very real at times! I think, as @RDG mentioned, processing what has happened to us is really important in allowing ourselves to let go. It might resurface tough memories but I think working through that is important in allowing ourselves to move on and get some proper rest.

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I wonder how many of us are tired because the ‘threat’ has not gone away, as we see in Austria and Germany, so you are still living like the athlete on the starting block, ready to react in an instant? That is not only stressful, it is exhausting.

I learnt that good sleep is essential and worth making a priority, but it seems there is more we can do.

I like this article on The Seven Types of Rest. Some great suggestions in here.