Combating Burnout in EHS: Personal, Organizational, and Systemic Strategies for Thriving Professionals
Safety Consultant with Sheldon Primus
Combating Burnout in EHS: Personal, Organizational, and Systemic Strategies for Thriving Professionals
October 9, 2023
"Combating Burnout in EHS: Personal, Organizational, and Systemic Strategies for Thriving Professionals" In this energetic episode of the Safety Consultant podcast, we delved deep into combating burnout for Environmental, Health, and Safety professionals. Highlighting personal strategies like self-care, setting boundaries, and continuous learning, we transitioned to organizational support mechanisms like adequate staffing and mental health resources. Capping it off, systemic changes such as fostering a positive safety culture and clear communication took center stage. Our takeaway? With the right tools and mindset, EHS pros can not only tackle burnout but thrive with passion and gusto!
Keywords: EHS, burnout, self-care, boundaries, continuous learning, organizational support, safety culture, communication.
 

[00:00:00.120] - Sheldon 

This episode is powered by Safety FM. Welcome to the Safety Consultant Podcast. I am your host, Sheldon Primus, the podcast where I teach you the business of being a safety consultant. We talk about OSHA compliance, we talk about a few other things, including how to take care of yourself. Yes, we talk about how to take care of yourself too, how to think about you. That's actually the topic for today too. Self-care, fighting some burnout. Yo, what? Yo. Just messing with you. Well, thank everyone for listening. It's so cool that you guys are with me today. It's been an awesome, awesome, awesome journey that we've been going through. I just want to thank you all for that one. Let's start by telling you guys, just letting you know who's listening, which is awesome for me. I just started the podcast several years ago and I was just thinking, Oh, let me help people become a safety consultant and to help out teach them a little bit about the E, H, and S and it took off. That's awesome. Us, I've got, let's see, you are number one, followed by Finland, Canada, France, Germany, Bahrain, Cambodia, Rwanda, Australia, and Korea. 
 

[00:01:50.250] - Sheldon 

You guys are top of the list in the top 10. If I were to scoop down a little bit more in the list to get you guys even further down, I've got Netherlands, China, Chesneya, and New Zealand, Italy, and the UK. On my chartable, that's the one that I use to track to see where I am on the charts, aka chartable, on the charts. That's one of the things that you would say. It's literally in the name. It is chartable in the charts. It is in the name. Yes, it is funny. It is in the name, I told you. All right, cut it out. In the US, under the government, I'm in that sector. I am out of the US chart. You guys in the US, you need to share me with some friends, listen to the podcast, and tell people, This dude, this cat is weird. He's all right. But you got to listen to him. So go ahead and share me with all your friends. Get me back on that chart, US. Come on. Saudi Arabia, I am 132 on your chart. South Africa, 34. Wow. Chile, I've moved up 42 spots to 23. 
 

[00:03:25.930] - Sheldon 

Wow, that is awesome. You guys are so cool. Thank you so much. Yes. My assistant told me that my sound effects have been too loud, so I cranked it down a little. Thank you, Cierra. All right, global reach, far out, so I'm not even going to tell you guys because that's not bragging at all. But here's the global government reach for chartable. 154. That's awesome. Oh, UAE. I am in your top 100. I am 100 for UAE. That is awesome. Wow. Well, cool. Well, thank you so much, everybody, for listening, for sharing the show. If you want to reach out to me, just go to sheldonprimus. Com, and you can see the website. But then also, it would probably be the best to go to the show. What you would do is safetyconsultantpodcast. Com. When you get on the show page, look right by my picture, you're going to see icons. Look for the microphone icon, hit that, and then I could hear you. That's even better than the email. But if you do want to do the email, you could do sheldon@sheldonprimus. Com. But if you want to be heard and get your voice, then go ahead and go to safetyconsultantpodcast. 
 

[00:04:59.840] - Sheldon 

Com and look for the microphone icon, leave me a message right there and I'll be glad to receive the message, help you out in any way I can. That's what I'm here for, man. I'm a solutions guy. Solutions, that's what we need, right? Yeah. We need solutions. All right, so let's get into where we're going to be right now. I'm going to take you guys into just working through burnout. Burnout is going to be the topic for what we're doing right now. Honestly, it's just for us in our E, H, and S field, environmental, health, and safety. We really try to take hopefully, try to sprinkle a little fun and dash excitement for everybody. But we know that overall we do get a little bit of burnout from time to time and there's many reasons for that. Here is some of the things that I'm going to do to help you, we'll give you the right tools. Burnout doesn't even stand that chance. We're just going to go ahead and we're going to finish him. That's burnout. We're going to finish him. All right. I love my board. I actually need to send it away. 
 

[00:06:22.900] - Sheldon 

I got to get some stuff going on with it. Next episode may not be board-filled. Boo. I need that sound effect. All right, so here we go. I'm going to set the scene for you, all right? You're the EH and S Pro. You got a lot on your plate. You got high responsibilities from these never ending list of regulations. Guess what? You get burned out, right? That burnout right now is not going to stand a chance because we're going to do what we can to help you with that one. We are going to right now, as we're thinking about burnout and I want you guys to be with me, let's magically open our toolbox. Here's our toolbox. First, we're going to start with self-care. That's it. Do some self-care magic right now. That really is cool. Just when you're thinking about it, everybody loves a little pampering. Make sure you get that beauty sleep, get some good greens in your body, and then dance out your stress or something like that. Do something great, something fun. On Friday or Thursdays before my classes in my COS and COS-M classes, I always told them on Thursday, do something fun. 
 

[00:07:44.110] - Sheldon 

Number two, we're going to get some boundaries, right? Because you want to remember that it's okay to hit the off button, set that work-life boundaries, and stick to them. That's our boundaries. You get those calls late, late at night, but you want some boundaries, right? Your Netflix series, they'll thank you for it. You get to finish up all the shows. I just finished Virgin River. I finished a few other things. Feeling good. Yes, I am a Virgin River fan. I love that show. Yes, I do. Stop it. All right, so let's get some lifelines out there, too, to help us out with the burnout. Whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, throw out a lifeline, chat with some friends, colleagues, and or whatever you want to. Even if your pet, parrot, or dog is what your lifeline is, go for it. Pets are there for us. There's many of just truly amazing studies out there about how pets are there to help. I can honestly, there's this comfort dog. It's a comfort puppy in, I think, Illinois, I believe. Blue is his name and he's this lab and he's so cute. You just have to look at a canine blue on Instagram. 
 

[00:09:04.150] - Sheldon 

I think they spell it regular B-L-U-E. It is the cutest Instagram and that puppy is literally a support puppy, but he's also an officer with a badge. I mean, it is the true greatest thing that I've ever seen, and I am honestly just obsessed about it. I am. Don't laugh at me. I am so obsessed. They're always laughing at me. There you go. Get those lifelines out there so you could get yourself a little help. Don't forget that knowledge is power. You want to stay ahead of the game, make sure you take some online courses and keep yourself going because part of some stress could be an overwhelm. It could be that you just don't have enough education on a certain topic. The more you learn, the more you shine. That's the key. Get out there. I do have some training out in there, so you go to primus. Freshlearn. Com. Primus. Freshlearn. Com. That's my last name, P-R-I-M-U-S. Freshlearn. Com. I got some training to help you with some stuff that you could at least increase your knowledge so that you could stop some stress there. All right, so now we're going to talk about another thing that you can need. 
 

[00:10:30.230] - Sheldon 

You could be a time Ninja. Yes, it's a Ninja. That's the best I could do. Let's slap them. It's some time Ninjas. That's what we're going to do. We're all superheroes in our own way, but sometimes we need a little time management help to prioritize and delegate like the Ninja you are. Hold on, let's do a nice little… I need like nunchucks or something like that so I could get that sound effect for Ninjas. All right, lastly, on the personal front. Let's honestly think about what we could do to zen out. You've heard me talk about meditation a few times in a show I haven't. Most recently, I had an interview with Dr. Batha several years ago who is the person responsible for an app that is for helping you relax and get into meditation. You want to do that for yourself. Find your Zen. You can do some yoga, deep breathing. You're not even an interpretive dance, right? Whatever you got. It's your world. It's up to you, whatever you want to do. I am with it. I am just telling you, you just need to do your best, all right? That is the end of this section. 
 

[00:11:48.180] - Sheldon 

Let's talk next about how you get some help. Sorry, let's get some people to help you out. Rally the troops. Maybe you could dive into some organization so you could stay on your groove. There's always some power and numbers, right? You want to see if there's more people that could help you out, such as learning teams. Do your best for that. More team members equals more awesomeness. That's my awesomeness. Every time you say awesome, you got to think about that rock guitar. Training is another one, right? Again, training, I told you guys in that the very first side, if you could get some training, you could really… When you get into some training and you start to really understand some of the aspects of whatever the topic is, it makes you feel a little bit more better, more confident, and then you honestly could level up. Yes, I set up everything so I could hit that sound effect. We're trying to have fun today, right? We're going to level up, get some training in there. We want to make sure that we understand the topic so that we don't get stressed out as much as we can. 
 

[00:13:11.920] - Sheldon 

Some of these things are novel like we did with COVID-19. That's novel to all of us at the time, so we had to figure out what to do for our workforce. Now we need to get a shout-out there for those mental health heroes because honestly, we all need some help. We need somebody to talk to. They're truly the real MVPs. They're the ones that are giving us support. There's a lot of systems and companies out there, even online. I'm a YouTube guy and every YouTuber I watch is being sponsored by BetterHelp. It's an awesome thing, right? Before me growing up, I'm in my early 50s, we didn't really think about health the way that they do now, so I'm really… I believe in it. I'm going to tell you truly, look out for some of those mental health heroes and see how you could get plugged in with one of them. My last tip for you, for yourself, is to honestly take a breather. Remember that you really want to take a break. It's okay from time to time, especially when somebody's trying to push your buttons. It's like, All right, coffee time. Time for me to walk the field. 
 

[00:14:22.410] - Sheldon 

Time for me to get out there and see what's happening in the field. Time for me to take my time at lunch. Those are the things that you really want to do. Truly, when you do something well, you want to make sure that you just commit to that too, because that's good. You want to bask in those glories at those times, meaning that you are going to feel the feeling of winning. That's the key, right? You want to feel that feeling. You want that feeling to come back. You want your crew to feel that feeling when you guys do something right. Just let that feeling go before you start thinking about the next thing, right? Those are some of the things that I'm adding there just to really help you out. That is the truth. You could do it with people, right? In a world fraught with confusion, one man will break his silence. All right, I'm going to break my silence right now. Yeah, I guess I set that one up too. All right, so let's talk about the last thing that we really need, right? The last thing that we really need is we want to make sure that in our system that we're going to end up just truly thinking about just the system as a whole. 
 

[00:15:50.920] - Sheldon 

Let's make safety as cool as possible for your organization so that your systematic approach to safety is going to include the organization and it's going to help you. It's going to fortify you. You're not doing this alone. You're going to make safety to your organization, to your clients that, man, Sheldon's here. Come, our consultant's here. Now, it's going to be a good day. Get them to be there with you. Clear and crystal is the next one. You want to be transparency because that is a way to win. You want to have some clear communication because if you do, that's going to equal some happy EHS pros and EHS professionals as well as the field. Everybody's going to be happy. Dream work. What do they say about teamwork? Teamwork is dream work. Therefore, as much as you can, you want to do some learning team activities. You could go back to one of my podcasts a long, long time ago. I talked to the learning team folks, and honestly, it is truly one of the things that you could use for your organization. If you're not familiar with what a learning team is, you can go back to that episode. 
 

[00:17:14.260] - Sheldon 

But what a learning team is, it is a way for you to truly make your learning something proactive for your organization. That is going to make it so that everybody is going to think about safety and think about problems, not only safety and health, but think about problems on one day, take a day to rest, then come back and think about solutions. First day problems, have a soak period, come back, and then solutions. Again, recognize when you do something right. You want to have everybody just really engaged, and yes, we did this. That's the key. That's it for me, man. That's it. I'm going to just leave you EH and S, rock stars alone. Together, we'll conquer burnout and keep EHS world spinning and energized excitement and keep you where you're not going to feel that burnout, right? Go get them. This episode has been powered by Safety FM. 
 

[00:18:29.740] - Announcer 

The views and opinions expressed on this podcast or broadcast are those of the host and its guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the company. Examples of analysis discussed within the past hour are only examples. They should not be utilized in the real world as the only solution available, as they are based on very limited and dated open-source information. Assumptions made within this analysis are not reflective of the position of the company. No part of this podcast or broadcast may be reproduced, stored within a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the creator of the podcast or broadcast, Sheldon Bremis.