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Self Care Doesn't Cure Burnout

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

Burnout is something we caregiving professionals know about. Most of us have experienced, many of us several times in our careers. What I have found in working with a multitude of helpers and healers is that Self Care alone--in the basic form--is ineffective to help burnout.


Burnout is multi-factorial. It is less about what you do and instead more about your systems in place.

Systemic Resiliency is a term I use when I teach helpers and healers about how to prevent burnout. We must look at the systems we have around us--mind, body and spirit-wise, that sustain us and our vocation.

Time boundaries

Do I set clear and defined work hours? How often do I work "overtime"? What time off do I give myself, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? When I'm off, am I truly "off"?


Do I have healthy relationships in my life and work? Do I have safe people I can go to who will be respectful if I have a complaint or issue? Do I have the supports I need and want? Do I have friendships outside of my career where I can "let loose"?

Equitable and fair treatment and pay

Do I have compensation for the work--on and off the clock--that I do? Am I treated fairly in my work environment and is it free of abuse and undue pressure? Do I feel valuable and validated in my work from those I help? Where do I get feedback about how I help? Is that feedback helpful to me in helping me grow and thrive?

Enriching leisure time

Do I have time off that is not "zoning out" but rather enriching my life? Do I have fun and engaging hobbies? Do I get a chance to reconnect with friends and family?

Notice these issues are more complex than the usual self care--sleeping well, eating properly, getting exercise. Of course those things matter--they are essential to our mental and emotional wellness!--but I argue that first we must check in with those wider, essential systemic factors so that our work can be sustained and supported and we can be the resilient helpers and healers we can be.

In Wellness,


PS Want some help getting there? Reach out and we'll chat.

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