When a Healer Burns Out

I empathize for those who suffer problems with co-workers, who feeling trapped in a work environment where they experience anger from co-workers, clients or patients.  Built up minor stress causes annoyance but long-term problems affect health, well being and can end careers if we can't change the way we interact with others. 
For those in the helping professions, healer burnout isn't easy to identify and resolve. Many valuable and fine people have already burned out and given up trying to find a cure. You might even be someone that is experiencing early signs of burnout yourself, or see it happening to a friend or a dear one.
What is the average career of a healer? I heard it was 3 years. This isn't very long by comparison to the amount of preparation and study that goes into that career.  
Many nurses are disappointed in their expectations of how their career as a caregiver was going to be. I gave a teaching called Utilizing Compassion in the Face of Anger discussing special issues facing nurses, such as passive aggressive behavior, and how hurtful these are in clinical settings.
What are signs of burnout?
· Irritability happens slowly, more and more things bug you, and you snap more. You start creating problems where there are not problems.
· Disoriented or just going through the motions
· Judgmental
· Physical system out of balance,
· Stomach problems
· Headaches
· Outright anger at anyone making demands. Part of being judgmental is an inability to tolerate anyone telling you to do anything, without feeling irritation or anger. I believe that someone has already turned the corner into burnout when it arrives at that point.
What would an early warning be?
Perhaps surprise. The first time you experience something that does not resonate regarding your work environment and feel surprised that something shifted just then. This would be an early warning sign accompanied perhaps by a feeling that something inside hurts and you don't know what or why. In the familiar environment of your work environment, suddenly you feel like it does not energetically support you.
Successful people who have not burned out are able to perceive early warning signs and work with them before they become confused and disappointed with healing others. Wherever you are in that progression, there is a potential for adding to that unhappy surprised feeling.
Many of you are healers. think about that and just simply hold your hands like this. Close your eyes think about your work. Feel whether your environment is energetically supporting you. If it is, it will feel like a cushion of density supporting you. Look at how high your hands are. Do you feel very good about your work?
We have a sense of where we do have energetic support, if we feel the hands drop down. In a way, your energetic system is saying something to you that you have programmed it to do.
Some other signs of burnout are
· Cynicism,
· Negativity and irritability,
· A sense of being overwhelmed or besieged.
· Frequent headaches or intestinal disturbances.
Meditators acknowledge that the navel center is a strong practice location. In the more yogic processes, of the various centers of meditation, the heart, and the navel centers are the most important. Recently, science research has identified that there seems to be a second brain or certain cells, which have a brain-cell-type configuration in the intestines. There seems to be a kind of intelligence associated with the intestines. Practice energies around the navel accumulate. When problems come up, intestinal distress manifest, as though you are thinking in a different way.
Other signs of burnout could be
· Weight loss or weight gain
· Sleepiness or inability to sleep
· Depression Part of burnout is anger, which is an energy arising. The other part is depression, which is the up and down between angry and depression where the person’s energy rises up as though there was no monitor on emotional cycles.
· Shortness of breath
· Suspiciousness. It is hard when burnout comes and the healer is unable to see that. No matter what you say to them, it does not make sense to them. They become suspicious and unhappy.
· Feelings of helplessness and self-criticism, blaming oneself for putting up with the demands of others. So, in addition to being angry with others, that person blames themselves for allowing that other person to put demands on them. What is wrong with them…? It is a difficult dilemma because whichever side you are on, it does not work!
· Exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential events
· Increased degree of risk-taking … pushing too ha when the system can't tolerate it can cause a plummet into depression. In order to continue working, some will take chances that they normally would not. 
 One certainly doesn't need all these symptoms to recognize a downward spiral. It is definitely time to seek change. And whatever they are doing is not working. There is something else that has to happen.
· Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very real possibility at a very serious level. People who have experienced serious burnout exhausted themselves and tried to pull themselves into a position where they can accomplish what they promised to do. Something happens inside where they literally faint inside. This happens in a deeper level of their being, which is the area I call the actual being. When the actual being faints, very often that person cannot get up out of bed. They fall into extreme exhaustion, feel physically run-down and unable to be diagnosed with any perceivable disorder.
Some businesses and hospitals encourage hyperactive work, which over stimulates the energy system and makes you susceptible to drops in your own energy due to stress.
What are some of the good reasons that people want to become healers?
Some say it is because they want to affirm the interconnectedness of beings so that not only are you supporting others, but also your good karma comes back at you and you yourself will be cared for.
Other healers want to help end suffering. With a powerful idealistic urge, which arises and due to your education and abilities, this emerges as a wish to be a healer. Some healers feel that there is something was wrong the way health services are done.
I have one student raised in an environment that not just encouraged but demanded that she follow in the footsteps of other family members who are healers and the expectations of that family tradition.
The one reason I would like to present, one of the best reasons for becoming a healer is that you have no other choice. You have no other choice. The commitment to heal is not dependent upon whether you can afford to be a healer, whether you have all of the educational modules in place, or support of your family. Your commitment to being a healer is because there is nothing else you feel like you are. In some ways, the best reason for being a healer is that you already are a healer.


  1. I have been a nurse for 20 years. Madame you have asked for my comments and I give them on this subject to anyone who cares to hear.

    Two days ago I heard on the radio that someone acutally questioned if there was a nursing shortage. Since the reccession, Nurse who were not working are coming back to the profession because they are the ones in their families who can work. They left the work because they would not except the amout of work that was thrown at them. The Hospital administrators conjured up the idea of a nursing shortage to tell patients why they get such lousy service while paying HUGE amounts of money just to be in the same building in which the doctor is. The administrators know that people who become caregivers make a commitment to themselves as well as their patients. When a caregiver sees something that needs to be done for a patient, the commitment come up to the conscienceness. And my heavens, Buddah even Buddah--I'm probably mis quoting so help me--When making the chose of what work to do, one should do the work at hand. This means that if one sees a patient in need of a dressing change or an order that has been left undone, do not think of your family, do not think of youself, do what is at hand and fullfil your commitement. The administrators actually prey upon that. They want to have as few nurses as possible. THERE IS NOT A NURSING SHORTAGE. They just won't hire nurses in the numbers that allow nurses to do their work profesionally.
    I left hospital work. I work as a Home Health Nurse now. I have excellent bosses now. Home Health has its own problems but it seems that I can manage them better than working at a hospital.

    As for my idea about universal health care. There are people who are sick and need services. Free medical care is as bad for some sick people as free cocaine would be for others. Somehow we must not make sick people sicker by giving them free health care. They must take responsibility, to the extent they can, for their own good health.

    You were talking about burnout of caregivers. I remember when I was a nursing student and I was on clinicals, I was completely turned off by nurses because they were so jugdemental. Their hearts appeared to be made of grannite. God grant me a tender heart. Give me the luxury of a tender heart. Show me how to maintain a tender heart.

    BTW I like your last paragraph alot. Yes I was lucky enough to not have a choice. It is so funny that when the work gets to stacking up and one is working so hard to met patient's and Company's and Governments needs/demands, somebody finds out that one has used paper tape to secure a dressing when the order reads secure with a stockingnet and they say "you can have your license pulled for that". It sounded absure to me because I know I am a nurse, and will be a nurse till I can't be--I don't want to sound uppity here but, I am a nurse if I have a license or if I don't have a license. This is the point where I was set free from worring about my license,
    Let me make one more point. There are times when one is working hard, one's intention is focused and to discernment pure,one's moivation strong and one makes a mistake. There is no question. The action was wrong. It doesn't matter for the patient if the action was done with a loving heart or a hateful heart the consequences are the same. That is the most wreched place to be. One has to own the action that was wrong to be able to get better. You've got to take your medicine. No Fear.

    With hands in prayer mode, Deep Bow. Thank you for this opportunity to say this to one who cares.

  2. Honestly - I think that some of these things are subjective. I work with developmentally disabled adults as a caregiver...they will often tell me, ask me, and even try to manipulate myself and my co-workers into doing things for them that they are perfectly able but too lazy to do. This can be ok if it's a "one off" but for those who do this as a daily or even hourly thing - is actually quite destructive to them. "Good" in the short term as it gets stuff done for them faster, but in the long term steals their abilities and independence. Does this make me angry? Sure does, especially when my one co-worker buys into this "helplessness" and does it for them, but does that mean I am burned out? I don't know - fighting that particular fight is harder than "just" doing what they want in the first place but well worth it.
    there's other things that can be subjective too, but I think that the healer needs to be self aware enough to know the difference between burn out and the needed ability to step back and see what's really best for the client.


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