Burned Out? Create Change : Kate Murphy Therapy
Kate Murphy, LCSW specializes in working with people suffering from anxiety and depression, and provides couples therapy including premarital counseling in the Atlanta metro area of Norcross, GA at the Pathway Center for Psychotherapy.
premarital counseling, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger, control issues, career issues, stress, lack of balance, individual therapy, couples therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, Atlanta GA, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Norcross GA.
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Burned Out? Create Change

Burned out

Burned Out? Create Change

Burned out? Create change.

I am a therapist because of burnout. In my early 40’s, I quit my job. I left behind a career that I had cultivated for 20+ years. An intense workaholic who had feared being fired since I began work at age 14, I quit without a prospect in sight. The phrase, “Stick a fork in it, I’m done,” had never resonated so thoroughly.

Essentially, a toxic environment, grueling schedule, and work that had long become meaningless led to an extra crispy state of being. Burnout with a capital “B.”

Worn outBurnout:  (n.) physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others. It results from performing at a high level until stress and tension, especially from extreme and prolonged physical or mental exertion or an overburdening workload, take their toll.

-APA dictionary of Psychology


Burnout is not new, but the years of working during a global pandemic have taken a toll. I have observed higher levels of quitting, job changes, and leave of absences filed because mental and physical health is suffering. Personally, I am seeing more clients reporting emotional and physical symptoms of burnout.

Burnout Symptoms

  • Health care burnoutIrritability
  • Lethargy/Chronic fatigue
  • Lack of focus/Concentration
  • Reduced performance/Efficacy
  • Sense of alienation at work
  • Emotionally unavailable to family & friends
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Shortness of breath/Panic attacks
  • Intense cynicism about job & life
  • Hopelessness/Suicidal thoughts


Teachers are burned outNo surprise, teachers in grades K-12 report the highest levels of burnout. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, teachers reported that they felt burned out always or often 44% of the time. Employees from universities and colleges, professional services, retail, and healthcare settings followed in the 30% range.

In March 2020 – prior to the pandemic – a Gallup poll reported that 75% of employees reported feeling burned out sometimes. It is not just from overwork. In fact, people who feel engaged at work do not tend to report symptoms of burnout even if they work a lot of hours. Feeling tired from long hours can be alleviated by catching up on sleep during the weekend or by taking a vacation. This is not enough when you are truly burned out.

Top Factors Contributing to Burnout

      • Unfair treatment at work.
      • Unmanageable workload.
      • Unclear communication from managers.
      • Lack of manager support.
      • Unreasonable time pressure.
      • Work is not meaningful.
      • Misalignment between work and values.


Burnout is a serious condition that not only reduces life satisfaction, it can cause serious long-term health issues. Here are some ways to get yourself on the road to recovery.

Burnout Relief


Work Environment Changes:

      • Ask your manager, HR or union rep., or dept. chair to help with schedule, work responsibilities, or time management.
      • Set boundaries, delegate, and say “no” to extra tasks that are outside of your position.
      • Step down or change departments/role within the organization.
      • Hire a career or executive coach to support work style changes.
      • Investigate the possibility of a leave of absence or sabbatical.
      • Secure a comparable position at another organization.
      • Consider working part-time or a short-term contract to reduce stress/pressure and give yourself time to recover.
      • If financial resources allow, quit and take an extended break to recover and plan a career move.


Mental and Physical Health Changes:

      • Stay hydrated, eat enough.
      • Talk to friends and family; reduce isolation.
      • Movement 20-30 minutes a few days a week.
      • Limit or abstain from drugs and alcohol.
      • Practice deep breathing when feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
      • Journal your feelings and write about what you would like to see changed in your life.
      • Psychiatrist for medication management of depression, anxiety, and/or sleep issues.
      • Schedule a physical; blood tests can reveal vitamin or other deficiencies that could be impacting energy levels, mood, gastro, and heart.
      • Therapy to process feelings, learn coping skills, and determine what a meaningful career that aligns with personal values could look like for you.


Typically, it takes 3 to 6 months to recover from burnout once changes in your environment have taken place. Depending on the length and level of burnout experienced, it could take longer.

Changing careers was the best thing that could have happened to me. The meaning I find due to a bad experience has made all the difference. Remember, your life and relationships matter. Most of us need financial resources that come from a job to survive. However, when our job infringes on mental and physical health, it is not helping you survive, let alone thrive. You can create change.


Learn More: 

  • Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA:  https://www.burnoutbook.net/
  • The Burnout Epidemic by Jennifer Moss
  • THRIVing After Burnout: A Teacher’s Compassionate Guide by Jennifer Johnson, PhD 
  • Thriving After Burnout: A Compilation of Real Stories and Strategies to Reduce Female Physician Burnout by Sharon T. McLaughlin, MD FACS
  • Therapist Burnout: Your Guide to Recovery and a Joyful, Sustainable Private Practice by Kelly Higdon, LMFT & Miranda Palmer, LMFT
  • LinkedIn short classes on avoiding stress & burnout (free month trial option).



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