Signs of Burnout?  How to Heal your Body and Mind

Burnout is a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, brought on by excessive and prolonged stress that can zap the joy out of you, your career, friendships, and family interactions.  Continual exposure to stressful situations, like caring for an ill family member, working long hours and/or in work that continually asks more than is realistic for the time allocated, or witnessing upsetting news including news related to politics, medical circumstance or school safety can lead to this stress condition.

Burnout can happen to anyone, in any industry, at any level of success. “In Canada, 47% of workers report feeling exhausted during a typical workday, compared with 39% global average.  This country’s stress levels are also higher than the global average, with more than 50% of Canadians workers reporting feeling stressed”. 

https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/nearly-half-of-canadian-workers-experience-daily-burnout-according-to-microsoft/444482 

Fortunately, there are ways to combat burnout through taking care of your body and mind, both during and after your experience of burnout.  Below are some signs of burnout, along with some treatments you can start using right away to improve the health of your body and mind so you can go back to being the productive person you’ve always been.

What are possible signs of burnout?

Don’t feel like yourself?  Although this is a very real feeling, it can be confusing to accurately identify where it’s coming from, and yet, it is one sure sign that something is wrong. If you suddenly find yourself upset, negative or irritable for no apparent reason, then it might be time to re-evaluate your life—and cut out certain activities and people, that may be negatively impacting your state of mind.

Sometimes, it can be hard to identify exactly what is causing the problem. Burnout, can creep up on you as stress adds up, and therefore is not always easy to identify.  Below is a guide to help you identify some signs of stressors that can lead to burnout:

  • Exhaustion: feeling physically and emotionally drained; trapped and defeated accompanied with loss of drive and motivation 
  • Isolation/Isolating: people with burnout tend to feel overwhelmed, detached, feeling alone in the world often with a sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Experiencing escape fantasies 
  • Noticing an increase in irritability and impatience
  • Frequent illnesses

Access this link for a fuller list of symptoms that can lead to burnout: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm   

What are some initial treatment tips?

When you’re experiencing burnout, it can be tempting to try every quick fix available. But initial treatment for burnout often starts with something as simple as eliminating excess stressors in your life that could potentially worsen your symptoms. Eliminating stressors themselves may not be as simple as identifying them.  Burnout does not improve if ignored and symptoms will worsen if stressors and lifestyle changes are not addressed. 

Consider addressing some of the following healthy lifestyle changes: 

  • Healthy eating is an essential part of treating all types of illnesses, including those related to burnout. Eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps you get more vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients your body needs to stay strong and fight off disease. 
  • Regular exercise also helps relieve stress by boosting your mood, increasing energy levels
  • One of best ways to reduce stress is by participating in enjoyable activities that help you de-stress, and plan for intentional distressing activities such as meditation, taking walks outside or practicing yoga.  Think about what makes you laugh and brings you joy, whether its funny movies, specific people or activities, plan for ways to include laughter in your life.
  • Affirmations, whether you’ve used affirmations or not, stress and burnout can affect one’s self esteem and affirmations are a simple yet powerful way to make a difference.  However to be affective affirmations must be repeated often.  A few examples are:

I am at peace with myself.

I am a valuable human being.

I appreciate who I am.

I value myself as a person.

My future is bright.

I deserve to relax.

I deserve to be happy.I find the best solutions for me

https://www.matherhospital.org/weight-loss-matters/self-esteem-affirmations-building-confidence-in-ones-own-worth/

For additional examples of affirmations:

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/50-self-esteem-affirmations-repeat-them-daily-to-build-self-worth/

Some initial tips to care of your mind and your body

  • Explore forms of meditation until you find one you like (e.g.yoga, mindfulness practices)
  • An internationally popular and simple form of meditative caring for your body and mind is “Tapping” – access the “Tapping Solution” app for a detailed explanation and guide. This can be used as a guided practice in which the app has a wide variety of  examples of stressors that can be addressed
  • Make enough time for restful sleep
  • Spend time with those you love and love you, without overdoing it – alone time is important too
  • Exercise is critical, plan some physical activity each day
  • Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated
  • Consult an experienced health food store supplement specialist regarding specific troublesome symptoms for relief such as sleeplessness, anxiety or depression.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm  for clarity to determine differences between stress and burnout

Know you are not alone, burnout is much more common than most people are aware.  Consult a counsellor who has experience in supporting people through burnout.

Recommended treatments

It’s important that you seek professional advice whenever you experience a medical condition. Make sure to consult a licensed physician if your symptoms are severe or particularly bothersome. However, there are many self-care treatments that may help alleviate symptoms until and while you can see a doctor. The most common recommended treatments include lifestyle changes such those listed above. People also find relief in seeing a counselor who specializes in burnout and chronic illness/injury recovery.

Relapse caution

You can feel like your old self again once you’ve taken care of your mind and body, but it is a good idea to watch out for relapse. Don’t let yourself fall into old habits that led to burn out by continuing to rely on quick fixes that make you more susceptible to stress. It’s better in the long run if you’re able to identify what caused burnout in the first place and avoid those problems in advance.  Often speaking up to set boundaries to care for oneself makes a significant difference.

 

Call Maggie from Sagebrush Therapy Kamloops or Email: sagebrushtherapy@shaw.ca

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