When we are stressed, it’s important to pay attention to our own needs and feelings early on as we begin to feel stressed. The following is a 5-stage model for recognizing and dealing with stress within burnout. When you hear yourself “blaming and complaining” about “others” often, check yourself. You have more power to control your feelings than you can imagine!
1. Super Motivation
A person in this stage is beginning to overextend themselves. They may have constant thoughts about what is being worried about.
Solution: re-evaluate expectations and begin a more healthy set of behaviors.
2. Stress Not Dealt With
A person in this stage may have difficulty taking any criticism. They may have a tendency to work harder at the expense of working smarter. During this stage, it’s as if the motor doesn’t stop running.
Solution: Form and implement organizational skills and seek support.
3. Vicarious Trauma
Miscommunication is common in this stage. The person in this stage may be on the defensive and interpret many actions and gestures as hostile, long before there is evidence to support the perception.
Solution: Develop improved coping skills to address emotional and physical symptoms (and avoid unhealthy coping habits).
4. Compassion Fatigue
A person in this stage has become fatigued, tired, indifferent and resigned. Energy is missing and motivation are absent in many areas of life.
Solution: This person needs rest, relaxation, and a restoration of energy. Mindfulness meditation can be a great asset.
A person in this stage is rigid and immovable. They have difficulty seeing “good” in any situation and bad feelings are projected out onto others.
Solution: STOP. Every move at this stage is damaging to others as well as themselves. Stopping all activity is the crucial step for the damaged person here.
Based on “The Mystery of “Stress” Untangled And a 5 Step Model To Protect Yourself,” by Joseph Noecker, MA, LMHC, published in Vision Magazine.