01st August 2023
Schools, senior leaders and teachers are under immense pressure. We are trying to teach children the knowledge and skills needed for a successful life and being asked to play a huge societal role in terms of supporting children’s social and emotional needs. In this blog, we will talk about what burnout is and how it can be avoided, with top tips from our team of primary professionals.
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Burnout was first described by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974. In his original 1974 article, Freudenberger describes the state of being burned out as ‘becoming exhausted by making excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources’ in the workplace (Freudenberger, 1974, p. 159). For Freudenberger, burnout occurs in workplaces that demand a significant amount of emotional work and empathy, personal involvement and intrinsic motivation: working conditions typical in the healthcare sector, social work and education.
In the UK and most other countries, burnout is not a classified medical condition in itself but is recognised as a factor contributing to stress-related disorders and physical illness. Sweden, on the other hand, classified burnout as the medical diagnosis of ‘stress-related exhaustion disorder’ in 2005. Whichever way we view it, burnout is real.
The best way to avoid burnout is to incorporate wellbeing practices into your routine. Give them the same level of priority as your work tasks, and set realistic goals that are simple to fit in.
Our Cornerstones team is a talented group that includes experienced primary professionals. We asked our team to share their advice for how to switch off from work over the holidays.
‘Try not to view your holiday as a time to catch up with work that needs doing. I always found it best to put aside a week at the beginning or end of the summer to do my work. It helped me define a clear work window and a definite time for switching off.’
Melanie Moore, Director
‘During the summer holiday, deactivate your email pop-ups and only check school emails at allocated times.’
Sandra Jones, Curriculum Adviser
‘Set any school WhatsApp groups to mute over the summer so you can concentrate on your family and friends. You can then check these messages in your own time.’
Janet Carroll, Senior Curriculum Adviser
‘Leave your work laptop at school and arrange to collect it on a certain date. That way, you are not tempted to work on the days you have set aside for a break.’
Al Ritchie, Curriculum Adviser
Here are some other ways to ensure you make wellbeing a priority over the summer holiday:
We would love to hear what works for you!
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