Chapter 2: Stressors and challenges

Beware of burnout

What the grief expert says
Dr. Chris MacKinnon, psychologist, explains burnout. (3:22)Video transcript

"I'll just put grief in the garage and worry about it later. I keep adding another layer each day. I dread the day I have to actually clean it out.” - Oncology nurse

To varying degrees, all people working in healthcare are regularly exposed to workplace stress.  During the pandemic, we may find ourselves with increased exposure to intensely stressful working conditions. This can  lead to burnout.  Being in a state of burnout can negatively impact our response to grief and make managing stress more difficult. It may even lead to clinical depression.

Depression can be a normal mood state; but clinical depression is a medical illness in which a person’s feeling of well-being is severely affected over a period of time. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you suspect you are experiencing depression or clinical depression. 

Signs of burnout

Click on the arrows to view some of the signs.

Burnout is not a sign of personal failure. It is important to acknowledge that COVID-19 makes the workplace far more difficult. 


Consider taking a proactive approach to stress. This might involve exploring ways to reset your work-life balance or taking time away from work to reflect on and explore what is happening for you.

See also:For more information on strategies for dealing with burnout, see Recovering from burnout in Workplace Strategies for Mental Health – Burnout Response.