If you once loved what you do for a living, but have since become disillusioned, depressed, and detached, you may be suffering from burnout. It’s a serious condition that can have a detrimental effect on your physical health, relationships, and employment. Part 1 in this series discussed the definition, symptoms, prevalence, and dangers of burnout. This second part will consider the role and impact self-care can have in treating the condition.

You may have heard that self-care is the antidote to burnout. While adopting a self-care regimen can counteract symptoms, research shows that external factors play a large part in the underlying causes of burnout. In treating burnout, we have to acknowledge our work environment as well as our work style. In that respect, self-care is not the antidote. Treating burnout involves dealing with the big picture. Self-care will raise your threshold for coping with the stress in healthy ways that will result in a measure of relief and happiness.


Often the term “self-care” conjures up thoughts of pampering ourselves with bubble baths and retail therapy. It is more accurately described as health care that you prescribe for yourself. Before embarking on a self-care treatment plan, you should carefully consider whether to seek professional medical treatment. Burnout is not mere work-related stress. It can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and suicidal thoughts. This article does not attempt to diagnose and treat anyone in the absence of a medical evaluation.

Burnout may rear its head occasionally or present itself as a prolonged, chronic condition. Your self-care regimen should be consistent. You have probably adopted some behaviors that help you cope, but are not particularly healthy. These may be exacerbating the condition. You may not think you have the energy to add or change anything in your lifestyle, but starting with a small change can help dramatically. Here are the top five self-care activities to adopt and how The Library can be a helpful source for each:

  1. Exercise. Extensive research shows that adding regular and enjoyable exercise to your lifestyle has the most impact on burnout. Do it for fun, not as a chore. Use your library card to explore books, videos, and magazines on sports, hobbies, and other activities you are interested in. This can get you excited and energized to take a step toward incorporating exercise into your lifestyle.
  2. Social support. Support from an understanding human is critical. Find a friend, mentor, or counseling professional to regularly bounce your thoughts to. The Library has been called the “Living Room of the Community.” You are bound to bump into empathetic colleagues and friends when you visit. Just being around other people rather than isolating yourself can be effective. You might also consider joining a group or starting one where you can collaborate and support others in a community room at either branch library.
  3. Eat deliberately. New research is revealing the impact of nutrients on our gut biome, indicating a direct relationship to how our food makes us feel. Educate yourself about basic nutrition principles using physical and digital materials (books, videos, etc.) from branch libraries, the bookmobile, and the Digital Library page. Ask library staff to assist you.
  4. Go outside. Studies show that even 5 minutes outside each day during daylight hours has incredible health benefits. The Sandpoint and Clark Fork Libraries are located in the heart of our communities, making them easily walkable. Try a StoryWalk™ at the City Parks in Dover and Ponderay. Learn about them in the schedule below and at Facebook.com/BonnerStoryWalks.
  5. Quality sleep. This is a tough one for some, but don’t overthink it. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, particularly between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Doing the other 4 things on this list have been shown to contribute to the ability to fall and stay asleep. You can perform some potentially sleep-inducing research on sleep using the EBSCOhost research database in the Digital Library or search for nonfiction titles on “Sleep” in the library catalog.

burnout book stack

If you have been neglecting your health due to a lack of time, energy, or interest due to burnout, start backing your way out today. Learn more on this subject by doing your own research at The Library or using our online resources on the Digital Library page. Library staff are available to help guide you to materials related to your search. What has helped you to cope or overcome burnout? Share this post and your comment on social media and tag us.

Marcy Timblin, Public Relations and Marketing

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