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The wheel of burnout

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Ingredients

1 Sheet of paper We suggest giving one A1 sheet of paper for each groups and one A4 sheet of paper for each person
Pen Enough for everyone

Nutritional information

Self-Awareness
Systems-Thinking
Compassion
Interconnectedness
Self-care

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The wheel of burnout

Burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle. — Gloria Steinem

  • 2 hours
  • Serves 12
  • Medium

Ingredients

Directions

Exploring to the root causes of burnout.

Very often we are aware of the symptoms of burnout, such as physical tiredness and mental exhaustion, pessimism and cynicism, emptiness and numbness, sense of isolation and alienation… but we are less aware of its causes and conditions. The following activity invites you to reflect first on the general causes and conditions of burnout, and second on the specific causes and conditions for your burnout. Without going beyond the symptoms, it will be difficult to find the root causes and key conditions that lead us towards burnout, and to identify the most effective ways to reverse their effect. You can also apply this exercise to your team, to see how your organisation responds to the pressures from the six categories identified below.

*Image © Greta Rossi
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Steps

1
Done
5'

Forming groups

Divide people into small groups of 3-5 people each. They will be together for the first 30 minutes of the activity. Give each group a big sheet of paper and a few markers or pens.

2
Done
5'

Drawing the wheel of burnout

Tell the group to draw a big circle and divide it into six different slices as follows:
- Wider social and environmental factors;
- Material needs;
- Emotional and psychological needs;
- Attitudes and beliefs;
- Personal behaviours; and
- Interpersonal and group relationships.

3
Done
30'

Discussing in small groups

Each group has 30 minutes to explore and discuss the main conditions and causes for burnout in each of the aforementioned categories. They are invited to write them down in the relevant slice of the wheel of burnout.

4
Done
20'

Sharing with the others

Using the world café format, where one person from the group stays with the wheel of burnout, invite everyone else to walk around, observe the other groups' wheels of burnout, and ask questions. Make sure each group takes it in turn to stay behind so that everyone gets the chance to walk around and ask questions.

5
Done
30'

Drawing your own wheel of burnout

At this point, invite people to redraw the wheel of burnout on an A4 sheet of paper and to complete with the causes and conditions of burnout that affect them individually. This part of the exercise is for individual reflection.

6
Done
30'

Sharing in pairs

Pair people up and invite them to share their wheel of burnout with their partner and swap.

Greta Rossi

Chief Empathy Officer at Akasha Innovation. Co-founder of ImpactAimers and Recipes for Wellbeing. Regional Coordinator for Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Youth coach and FRSA.

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The river of life
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Coping with the sense of urgency