Among divorce professionals, burnout is a very real thing.
Lisa Morgillo cites the following in her list of key points for Family Court Review:
- Burnout is a serious problem for family law attorneys.
- The unique nature of family law, centered on relationships and emotions, puts family law attorneys at a higher risk for experiencing the effects of secondary trauma than other areas of law.
The American Bar Association also has published many articles on the topic of burnout. In one such article, burnout is defined as “an emotional, cognitive, and physical reaction to a prolonged negative stress. Where stress might make you feel worried, burnout makes you feel defeated or depressed.” And this is not limited to attorneys. This includes any advisor or counsellor/therapist with the daily involvement with individuals and couples in the divorce process.
Here are five questions to ask yourself, each offering two different paths you can take to banish burnout from your life. These are adapted from both the ABA article and the Forbes article “Five Ways to Overcome Burnout”
Test the Waters – Are you the only one here who is experiencing burnout? Are you frustrated that there is no desire among others to do something to make it better?
YES Move on – Find a community whose members want to make a difference not only in their own lives but also by supporting others.
NO Collaborate with your family/friends/colleagues to institute changes to make the environment healthier for yourself and others.
Be intentional about shifting your focus periodically. Can you take a break to clear your head and regenerate your enthusiasm?
YES Set your timer to change your scenery. Take a walk, Go outside, find something to be curious about. Be sure to take your vacation days and don’t work on holidays. Create or request a more flexible work schedule.
NO If you find that your environment frowns on “goofing office” and insists that you “keep your nose to the grindstone”, create some boundaries to protect yourself from burnout and find some rewarding activities to engage in that stimulate another part of your brain on the outside.
Take a Time-Out from your desk. Are you too busy to take time to build good habits to keep you healthy?
YES If you feel busy now, most likely there will be other things in your life to make you feel busy in the future, too. Take care of you, focus on your strengths, your values and create practices which allow you to be your best.
NO Congratulations. Your family must love that you can create boundaries and recognize that family time is as important as work time. Having a balance in your life between several activities which challenge your brain in different ways is a great start to having that work-life balance.
Look for the Meaning in your work. Can you find something fulfilling to spend more time on?
YES Talk with others to see how you can spend more time doing the things that are both meaningful to you and also to the community or organization.
NO Find a better place to spend your time and energy. Be sure to find something which helps you to generate more energy than you use up so you always have some reserved for resiliency.
Have you tried everything you can to get beyond burnout?
YES Sometimes the nature of the work is just plan stressful, overwhelming, and difficult. All paths seem to lead to burnout. The better option may be to explore a new venue or different profession in which to apply your experience and your strengths. Where would someone value your experience but not subject you to the part of your job you find so grueling?
NO Then start again at the top of this list of questions. Get a coach to help you create experiments which can help you shift your perspective so you can see different options to pursue to get your work-life balance back in balance!
Putting all these practices in place will probably do wonders to help you circumvent burnout. But I believe the most important is to zero in on something which has meaning for you. To quote a Forbes article by Margie Warrell “Do You Know Your ‘Why?’ 4 Questions To Find Your Purpose”:
“German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
If you are experiencing even the slightest hit of burnout, we encourage you to explore OUR WHY: To change the experience of divorce for individuals and families by becoming a certified divorce coach.
Leveraging Your Expertise to Become a Divorce Coach
You are welcome to join us for a mini-training session about divorce coaching – what it is, why clients value it, and how it can impact decision making during divorce. This is a way to leverage your experience to make a bigger difference for those going through divorce. Come and explore with us. Register for your preferred Friday at 12 noon ET:
If you prefer to set up a one-on-one call with one of the co-founders to ask any questions on your mind about divorce coaching or the divorce coaching certification, click here to access our online calendar to make your best day/date choice:
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