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Burnout and the Mobilisation of Energy by Annamaria Garden


It seems that increasingly there is an expectation that we must be seen to be under pressure in our lives. This is particularly the case with our work lives. If work isn’t ‘so busy’ then it must be struggling - which causes its own stresses. With this increase in pressure of any sort comes the increase in Burnout.


This new book by Annamaria Garden is a gem in this regard. It explores, in great depth, exactly what ‘Burnout’ is and how it can be recognised and responded to. Split into three parts - The Individual, The Job; and The Organisation - Garden deftly defines the signals to look for, and the symptoms that can already be present in our lives as a way of diagnosing Burnout. There are short questionnaires along the way to help with the identification of this growing issue.


It is a wake up call. A reminder of things that we have lost in the great aim for being ‘busy’ in life. Garden, herself a sufferer of Burnout in the past, isn’t all doom and gloom in her wonderful mix of cutting edge science and narrative storytelling. Instead, she looks at possible solutions for any and all people in their aim for better work life balance. Throughout the text she looks at a couple of industries (including nursing) to illustrate the points she is making as ways to recognise Burnout, and then ways to deal with Burnout.


One particularly enjoyable aspect discussed was the problematic ‘in between’ stage. That area where one recognises that there is a problem, and one realises where they should be - but unsure on how to bridge the gap between the two. It is here that Garden is effective in laying out the best approach to take to restore a sense of equilibrium. This resonated strongly.


On the flipside of the emotional and physiological torment of Burnout are the steps and attributes of mobilising energy sources within us. Garden doesn’t paint a rosy picture of the burnout episode itself, but does provide significant insight and hope as to how to access these energy reserves through structures and considerations.


In an age where pressure is rewarded rather than quality time rewarded, it is imperative that individuals take it upon themselves to set boundaries and create an environment that works for them as individuals. It is a sobering reminder that we all have limits, and a limited time frame. A wholly recommended approach to alleviating some of the external expectations of organisations and individuals.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Austin Macauley Publishers