How Do Keep Moving When You’re Just Not Feeling It?


One of the biggest issues in emergency work is the long hours and constant interaction with hurting people who drain the responder’s passion and desire to keep going. The unfortunate truth is, you have to keep going because people are counting on you to get the job done. We need to get them back to some form of normal. How do you move from a place where you are burnt-out, to one where you are refreshed and ready to keep working? There are many strategies to regain your passion for the work, but I encourage people to do a few of the steps below.

Take Time Away from the Event.

While it seems counterintuitive, stepping away for a time can actually raise your efficiency in an emergency event. Too much time in a challenging situation can drive you to a complete burnout, but taking just a few minutes to focus on other things can be revitalizing.

Remember Why You Are Doing This Work

One of my favorite strategies is to stop and remember why I do this work. When things begin to get rough and I start asking myself why I am not doing something a little easier, I remember my desire to serve those oftentimes experiencing the worst parts of their lives. The remembering of passion can re-harness the passion deep inside you.

Focus on “Small” Victories

We need to remember that this is a marathon not a sprint, and forgetting to focus on the individual, sometimes seemingly small accomplishments can be a problem. If we look at a victory as getting, an entire community back up and running, we might be waiting a while. If we focus on getting a single household operational, we are likely to experience success much earlier.

The issues surrounding burnout are not going away anytime soon. We work in a field that has us “bumping into” individuals who are hurting and traumatized. There is no getting away from this, but there are techniques and strategies that can help get us through it.

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