The WHO (World Health Organization) is bringing to light a truth many of us may be familiar with: work-related stress can bring on burnout. The new definition defines burnout as a “syndrome” related to “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Currently it is not considered a medical condition but an “occupational phenomenon”.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout results in the following:
1) “Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion”
2) “Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job”
3) “Reduced professional efficacy”
Burnout was also previously included in an older version of WHO’s disease handbook, but with less detailed components. The current updated definition brings more light and nuance to a situation those in a variety of fields face. The new definition also brings more legitimacy and a step towards bringing greater access to help and support.
The new definition also requires mental health professionals to rule out anxiety, mood disorders, and other stress-related conditions. This distinction and specificity could lead to more targeted research and resources for both treatment and prevention of the condition. WHO plans to begin the development of evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being for the workplace.
The Indrani’s Light Team is excited to see how this new definition, through awareness, research, diagnosis, and support program development impacts the lives of domestic violence advocates. For more resources to combat work-related stress and burnout, check out ILF’s advocate resource page.
As part of our “Caring for the Caregivers” Program, our team travels to domestic violence-focused organizations and shelters to provide in person support and training around compassion fatigue and burnout. In March, our team was delighted to travel to Philadelphia to train over 50 Caregivers from multiple domestic violence organizations. Our founder, Indrani Goradia, was also able to attend one of the training days, providing more insight and care to our training participants.
Throughout the week we worked with staff in various arenas: medical advocates, hotline staff, legal advocates, administrators, therapists and housing advocates among others. We had lively discussions about the extraordinary situations staff encounter on a day-to-day basis and subsequently, how the pervasive stress leads to burnout and compassion-fatigue. Many of the staff shared that this stress has had an impact on their capacity to take care of the needs of their friends and family.
Our trainers actively listened and validated the Caregivers experience. We taught numerous tools designed to support staff with recognizing and setting boundaries, a fundamental practice of self-care. One staff person who has been in the field for two decades said of the boundary tools, “This has changed the way I look at everything.” We received consistent feedback that the visualization exercises were immensely helpful in preparing for having difficult conversations. An administrator commented “This exercise has helped me both personally and professionally.”
We take great joy in knowing our trainings are supporting Caregivers as they continue to do their work. For more information about our resources and support, visit ourCaregiver Resources. We’re looking forward to our next training!
Have you struggled with responding with compassion and love when an individual challenges your boundaries or your truth?
Listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast as Indrani and special guest, Mark Silver, share their wisdom and experience with addressing challenging responses and staying in your power when faced with challenge.
00:00 Intro 01:30 Indrani- Scenario and Introduction of Guest Speaker, Mark Silver 08:02 Mark- How to use training and practice for challenging responses 10:20 Discussion 14:16 Mark- saying No from a place of strength 18:25 Spiritual Power Discussion 25:20 Honoring the Physical Vessel 32:03 Summary and conclusion
In this episode Indrani and Dr. Anita Sands share their experiences and the tools they’ve used to manage fear with the adversities they’ve faced. Anita also shares her story of coping with changes in her professional life after becoming a mother.
00:09 Introduction 02:00 Welcome and Introduction of Dr. Sands 5:15 Article Discussion 14:45 Asking for Help 21:15 Advice on Priorities 23:30 How Fear Shows Up 34:00 From Scarcity to Abundance 37:00 Curiosity trumps Comparison 43:38 Wrap Up 46:09 Outtro
Your support will be used towards covering the costs of the free one-day or two-day, in-person training the ILF Team provides to the advocates at domestic violence organizations across the United States. Your support has already paid for training in Texas, Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Illinois.