9 ways to tell if you're a law enforcement burnout

As we explain in our article 6 ways to beat burnout in a police officer, the pressures and demands of being a law enforcement officer can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing and quality of life. This can lead to burnout — a depletion of oneself by exhausting physical and mental resources, excessively working toward unrealistic expectations that are self-imposed or societally expected. 

But how do you know if you’re getting burned out? Take this simple quiz (adapted from MayoClinic.com):

1.)    Have you become cynical or critical at work?
2.)    Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
3.)    Have you become irritable or impatient with coworkers, customers (citizens) or family?
4.)    Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
5.)    Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
6.)    Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
7.)    Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
8.)    Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
9.)    Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?

“If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing job burnout,” says the staff at the Mayo Clinic. “Be sure to consult your doctor or a mental health provider, however. Some of these symptoms can also indicate certain health conditions, such as a thyroid disorder or depression.”

About the author

Althea Olson, LCSW, and Mike Wasilewski, MSW, have been married since 1994. Mike works full time as a police officer for a large suburban Chicago agency while Althea is a social worker in private practice at Fox Bend Counseling in Oswego (Illinois). They write on a wide range of topics to include officer wellness, relationships, mental health, morale, and ethics. Their writing led to them developing More Than A Cop, and they have traveled the country as police trainers teaching “survival skills off the street.”

Contact Althea Olson and Mike Wasilewski

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