Ellen Hunt and Melanie Sponholz on Avoiding Burnout [Podcast]

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Post By: Adam Turteltaub

The pandemic is both increasing burnout and making it harder to differentiate between needing a break and being, well, just completely done.

As Ellen Hunt of Spark Compliance and Melanie Sponholz, Chief Compliance Officer, Waud Capital Partners explain in this podcast (and will also share in their session at the HCCA Compliance Institute), common signs are fatigue (to the point of not wanting to get up and start work), feeling cynical or jaded, irritability, inability to concentrate, not feeling your usual self, and no sense of purpose. Another sign to watch out for: the inability to have a sense of accomplishment. If being able to cross something off of your list no longer brings with it any feeling of reward, it’s a telltale sign of burnout.

To avoid burnout they recommend building a separation between work and not working. That’s harder to do with so many of us working from home, but it’s necessary.

Try to focus on doing some things completely separate from work that make you happy. Anything involving movement – walking, running yoga – can help. Think about things that you used to do at home that filled your cup when you left work. It could be cooking a meal, reading a good book, or spending time with non-work friends (safely, of course).

At work, they recommend three specific behaviors:

  • Always assume positive intent. Don’t think that people are out to get you, even if their words may seem a bit hostile.
  • Practice the pause. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Are they really insulting me, trying or be rude, not understanding?” Ask people why they asked the question or made the decision that they did. It could have just come from a misunderstanding.
  • Ask yourself: Do I really care?  Is this something that is going to matter next week or year?

Finally, they advise making that effort to revive and build out your network. It will help you expand beyond the core people you normally interact with and find others than inspire you. It’s also beneficial to talk with others going through similar circumstances to be reminded that you are not alone.

So, schedule that 30-minute virtual coffee, or just send a note to someone you haven’t been in touch with to see how they are doing. Reach out to people you admire. Many will be surprisingly happy to hear of your support and be more than willing to talk.

You can even take the next step of creating something of a board of advisors for yourself.

Listen in to learn more, and then be sure to attend their session at the 2022 HCCA Compliance Institute, which takes place in Phoenix, March 28-31 and is also available online.