Why Am I So Tired?

​We can all relate to feeling tired. Whether you're a new parent, a clinician on night shift, or a staff member working 9 am – 5 pm, we all know how being tired can affect our personal and professional lives. However, knowing the difference between being tired and being burned out is critical to our well-being.

Emotional exhaustion is the first phase of work-related burnout. Someone can feel fatigued, irritable, frustrated, and overextended. In his original 1974 article, Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger described being burned out as, "becoming exhausted by making excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources" in the workplace.

In the 2022 VUMC Community Survey, 36% of faculty and staff reported that they don't feel energized. In addition, a majority of participants described feeling emotional exhausted.  So, how do we take the steps to combat burnout before it progresses?

Here are three ways that can help you regain your energy:

  1. Nurture your social support network. - A recent study of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) employees found that focusing on supporting their colleagues reduced the amount of burnout across the unit. This led to more effective coping strategies when dealing with stress. After going through a difficult and emotional event, such as the pandemic, many felt validated and healed. 
  2. Recharge through a favorite hobby. - Engage in activities that you enjoy to helps replenish your energy. Some activities might include painting, traveling, exercising, reading, or practicing mindfulness. Whatever it is, make time in your schedule to do it.
  3. Seek harmony between work and your personal life. - It can be challenging to be present at home when you have work on your mind. Practicing balance and prioritizing important things in your everyday life can help you reduce burnout. Even though we can't always eliminate things in our routine, we can try to add hobbies that refresh us and help us engage.

Don't bear the burden by yourself. Work/Life Connections-EAP provides in-person or virtual confidential counseling to all VUMC faculty and staff. Our certified counselors are here to help you with any issue you need resolved. Call 615-936-1327 to schedule an appointment and you will be directed to a specific counselor who specializes in the area(s) you need help with.