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Workplace Burnout: Bouncing Back with Resilience
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Instructor: Debra Westwood
Staff who work in public service positions, like libraries, face mental and emotional challenges in their daily work. Budget struggles, trying to make a difference in high need communities, changes in the library's role, concerns at home, local and national politics – it adds up! When that kind of pressure is coming at you from all directions, it can contribute to a gradual grinding down, loss of joy, a fading enthusiasm that we call burn out.
In this 4-week course, we will look at the physiology & psychology of burnout, as well as how it manifests itself physically, emotionally and behaviorally. By the end of this course learners will be able to:
- Describe the difference between stress and burnout
- Recognize signs and symptoms of burnout in themselves and others.
- Identify how different aspects of work, lifestyle and personality contribute to or exacerbate workplace burnout
- Identify habits and practices that contribute to building or restoring resiliency
- Select and put into practice 3-5 specific restorative practices to help restore resiliency and job satisfaction.
This course will be most beneficial to those who feel they or the people they supervise may be exhibiting signs of burnout. It includes information from a variety of disciplines, from the corporate world to Buddhism to Weight Watchers. The information and activities presented will not be therapy but they may be therapeutic, a kind of tonic for the crispy soul.
Course Description: Through readings, assignments and online discussion forums learners will learn the factors that contribute to burnout, how those might be altered and what can help. We will also spend time each week introducing one or more habits & practices that can help build or restore resilience and practice incorporating them into our lives.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: Defining and understanding burnout
- Prevalence in helping professions
- Difference between stress and burnout
- Signs and symptoms
- Week 2: Internal and external factors
- Week 3: Prevention and reduction of burnout risk
- Physical (linked to Lifestyle)
- Psychological (linked to Personality & Work)
- Social (linked to Personality & Lifestyle)
- Week 4: Restoration or Finding Your Way Back
- Identifying and adopting practices that will help re-frame trigger situations or interrupt unhelpful responses
- Mindfulness, Compartmentalizing, Reframing
- If you can't change the situation, change your reaction
- Positive intention
- Changing the story
- Creating your own safe space – unplugging, blocking and distracting
Pre-course Assignment: Before this course begins, it may be helpful for you to take a brief online burnout quiz at mindtools.com. While it is not a formal diagnostic device, it may be a worthwhile tool to assess one's own burnout exposure and it starts us on the road of describing signs and symptoms, in ourselves or others.
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2 ½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains a recorded presentation, readings and various options for assignments, discussions, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Library staff & supervisors working in areas of high public contact or in positions where high emotional investment is common.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: staff development, supervision and management