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Challenges and difficult situations are an integral part of our life. Stressful environments created by these situations have a great impact on a person and often lead to burnout. Burnouts are associated with numerous psychological consequences, like anxiety, depression, trauma reactions, and disorders related to substance use (Kothari, 2021). However, resilience is an effective mechanism that protects us and prevents the negative effect of burnout. Our resilience to burnout is greatly affected by the kind of life experiences we have faced. Burnouts are defined by WHO as a syndrome that results from stressful situations, which are generally associated with exhaustion of our energy or efforts, reduced effectiveness, and cynical or negative feelings (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017). However, it has been observed that people who have a higher level of resilience are generally more productive, healthier, have close relationships, and have a happier life (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017). This essay will reflect upon my learning about resilience and burnout and the factors that led to their development. The essay will also highlight a significant challenging life experience in my life and its effect on my personal and professional development.

Resilience is a person’s ability of an individual to endure, come back and rise after facing difficulties or challenging situations in life. A great example of this is the Covid-19 pandemic, which is often considered one of the most challenging situations we have faced in recent times. Thousands of people all over the world lost their jobs, faced financial problems, remained under lockdowns, and many lost their loved ones. However, the resilience of people helped them to withstand these challenges (Kothari, 2021). The resilience also helped people to bounce back as the cases dropped and the world started opening, and they gradually coped with the changed lifestyle and continued their work as normal. Hence, resilience can be considered as both the process as well as the result of getting successfully adapted to challenging or difficult experiences in life, through emotional, behavioral, and mental adjustments and flexibility to internal and external demands (Howard, R., Kirkley & Baylis, 2019).

Burnout is a type of psychological syndrome which generally arises as a continued response to stressful situations and difficult life experiences. This response has three major dimensions, which are a feeling of cynicism, overwhelming exhaustion, and a feeling of lack of accomplishment and ineffectiveness. Hence, it can be called a state of mental, emotional, and also physical exhaustion on most occasions, which generally results from repeated and prolonged stressful situations in life (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). Although burnout is generally considered to be resulting from work-related problems, it can also occur in numerous other fields of life, like caretaking, relationships, parenting, and so forth. This can be better understood from the example of an employee, who remains under continued job-related stress due to work-load or destroyed work-life balance (Tesema, 2020). When this stress continues for a prolonged period, he might have a feeling of irritability, anger, or cynicism. This type of physical and mental response is burnout. Often people who work in helping professions, such as doctors may observe their feeling of compassion towards the patients in their care is decreasing. In addition to this, if work stress results in an individual feeling that he cannot work any longer in that job, which is also a sign of burnout (Maslach & Leiter, 2016).

Burnout has been observed to be positively related to low resilience, increased traumatic stress, lower compassion satisfaction, and frequently using maladaptive coping mechanisms, like behavioral disengagement, self-blame, and substance use (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017). Resilience is often considered the opposite of burnout, as it is often linked to working with the best efforts and taking timely breaks, which helps sustain and restore our physical and mental well-being. However, burnout generally diminishes us, makes us see even manageable tasks as impossible, and leaves us feeling out of balance and mentally exhausted (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017).

There are also numerous factors that affect the development of resilience. A major factor is ‘enhanced emotional insight’. It is one of the most important attributes which helps us in effectively cope with daily life situations. It is our ability to better understand our as well as others’ emotions without judging them, this helps us make better and more responsible responses to life situations. Another important factor is our ability to learn and reflect upon our life experiences (Kothari, 2021). When we look back at life experiences and reflect upon our emotions and responses to those experiences, we get a better insight into our behavior and our emotions. This improved understanding of oneself can help an individual to better deal with such situations in the future. Another important factor that helps us in developing our resilience is the maintenance of a positive attitude, which includes happiness and positive emotions (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017). An optimistic approach is crucial in dealing with the difficulties of life. It helps us in looking for positives in even the worst situation. This optimistic attitude keeps us calm and helps us in making better decisions and responses during challenging times (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017).

There are numerous traits that help in the development of resilience are a person’s psychological hardiness, his coping strategies, the manner in which he regulates negative feelings and emotions, the personal and professional relationships that he nurtures, and his work-life balance, self-confidence, curiosity, and resourcefulness. Moreover, there are four personality traits that are also strongly related to resilience. First is self-directedness, a trait in which people take responsibility for the mistakes they have committed, learn, and move on (Howard, Kirkley & Baylis, 2019). The second one is cooperativeness, a trait that makes people more tolerant and accepting of wide-ranging behavior and viewpoints. This helps in reducing frustration and possible sources of stress. The third trait is harm avoidance, this trait helps people to be more decisive and reduce anxiousness so that they can easily take risks, accept uncertainty, and remain confident while making decisions. The fourth trait that helps in developing resilience is persistence, which is the trait of a person to persevere with life challenges, set realistic goals, and excel in life (Hlubocky, Rose & Epstein, 2017).

There are numerous factors that affect the development of burnout, and an important factor is our job. Increased workload often leaves us with a disrupted work-life balance and a reduced time for rest and sleep. This factor is also associated with minimal or no support at the job, a job that is challenging, having high expectations, hostile and unhealthy working conditions, a job with long shifts of working with no breaks, lack of feeling of contentment at work, unrewarding work, and jobs that are against our values (Tesema, 2020). However, it is not necessary that all burnouts result from issues at the job. Although our job can greatly contribute to burnout as we spend a major part of our waking time at work, stresses from difficulties and challenging situations in our overall life also greatly contribute to this (Weatherspoon & Raypole, 2021).

Resilience is very closely connected with mental and physical health. For this purpose, it is necessary for us to first recognize the signs of burnout, like difficulty in concentrating, forgetfulness, decreased pride in the work, difficulties in maintaining relationships, continued frustrations, etc. The next step is to identify the source of burnout, which could be due to increased workload, relationship issues, rigorous schedule, etc. After this, one must think about the immediate changes that he can make, like acceptance of reality, making a better schedule, etc. The next step that the individual needs to take is to talk to a person he trusts (Weatherspoon & Raypole, 2021). This can make us feel supported and reduce our feelings of loneliness and help in reducing our stress levels. Further, an individual can examine the options available to him, for example consulting a counselor, knowledge of alternate solutions, etc. This is followed by the individual’s actions to take back control of the situation, which can be done by making priorities, delegating our work, ensuring work-life balance, etc. Other techniques are to setting boundaries, practicing self-compassion, paying attention to our needs, and knowing what makes us happy in life (Weatherspoon & Raypole, 2021).

A significant challenging experience that I faced was that in 2020, I lost my job during the Covid-19 pandemic. My financial condition was so weak that I was unable to support my own expenses. I was also feeling ashamed of taking help from my family as they were also facing financial issues. I tried finding a new job, but it was difficult as most of the workplaces were either closed or working at very low strength. My repeated failures to get a job and the continued financial issues were proving to be deleterious for my mental well-being. I was getting a feeling of discontentment and worthless. This was a time when my self-esteem was at its lowest and I was getting thoughts that, rather than helping my family in these challenging times, I had become a financial burden on them. The incident resulted in a drastic change in my behavior, as I became more pessimistic and started getting annoyed by people in my social circles. This type of negative behavior continued for at least a year until I got another job. As I ponder upon this incident and assess the changes in my attitude. I feel that the issue was not as severe as I was perceiving it. The situation was aggravated by my lack of acceptance of the situation and the extremely high expectations that I kept from myself. Thousands of people around the world lost their jobs during the pandemic and faced financial issues. It was necessary for me to accept this changed reality of the world and adapt myself according to it. My changed behavior was not good for my personal or professional development, and it was adversely affecting my character, which could have cost me a lot. I believe that a better solution could have been to talk to my friends or family about this issue and find out a solution. Although this incident caused a lot of disruption in my life, I have learned a lot from this experience. I believe that this experience and the implementation of related learnings will increase my resilience to better handle difficult situations in the future. I have also learned that a positive attitude and happiness will ensure that I look into the positive aspects of any difficulty that I face. This will help me stay calm and make better decisions.

Altogether, it can be concluded that resilience is one of the most crucial aspects of our life, which helps us in navigating through difficulties in life. If difficulties and challenging situations are not handled properly, they often result in burnout. A close look at the situation, and keeping a positive and optimistic approach help us in forming a better response to these situations. Moreover, analyzing our behavioral and mental responses to these situations can help us identify our mistakes. Accepting these mistakes and learning from them and improving ourselves, helps us enhance our resilience. This increased resilience is crucial in better handling of the situation in the future.


Howard, R., Kirkley, C., & Baylis, N. (2019). Personal resilience in psychiatrists: systematic review. BJPsych bulletin, 43(5), 209-215.
Hlubocky, F. J., Rose, M., & Epstein, R. M. (2017). Mastering resilience in oncology: learn to thrive in the face of burnout. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book, 37, 771-781.
Kothari, A. (2021). Battling burnout: A conversation with resiliency expert Dr. Amit Sood. Retrieved 15 July 2022, from
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World psychiatry, 15(2), 103-111.
Tesema, M. (2020). If You're Experiencing 'Resilience Burnout,' Read This. Retrieved 15 July 2022, from,space%20for%20them%20is%20important.
Weatherspoon, D., & Raypole, C. (2021). Dealing with Burnout? These Tips and Strategies May Help. Retrieved 15 July 2022, from

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