As a mentor, you’re giving your time, attention, and resources to develop someone else — and it can be exhausting. While you may have the best intentions, when you’re too depleted to deliver, the result is a disengaged relationship that’s no longer valuable to anyone. Here are some ways to identify and overcome mentor burnout. First, take time to reflect and identify when you’re reaching capacity. Pay attention to signals such as feeling chronically exhausted, being more cynical than usual, or showing signs of apathy. Ask trusted colleagues to speak up if they see a significant change in your behavior or emotional tone.
Next, look for ways to be more efficient with your mentorship. Don’t assume that high-quality mentoring relationships can only occur in the traditional one-on-one format. For example, consider creating cohorts of mentees who might meet with you monthly for informal conversations.
Finally, to rediscover joy, remind yourself why you wanted to be a mentor in the first place. Remember: This work should generate energy, not drain it.