How To Cure Burnout?Luke Coutinho
What comes to mind when we say burnout? Perhaps many of you reading this have faced this at some or other point in life or are struggling with it as you read this. Did you know even the World Health Organization changed its definition of burnout? From calling it a stress syndrome, it has now identified burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from unsuccessfully managed chronic workplace stress.”
Its symptoms include:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- increased mental distance from one’s job or negative feelings towards one’s career
- reduced professional productivity
What we need today is to break the stigma that surrounds it. Believe it or not, burnout is happening to people across the globe, right from children to teenagers, young adults, working adults, and even senior citizens. Our whole mentality has changed towards achieving and accumulating more, and while there is nothing wrong with it, achievement cannot come at the expense of your health and inner peace.
Unfortunately, one of the pain points when it comes to burnout is that people equate shame with needing help. Because today most of us are so obsessed with achieving more and more that even several workplace cultures frown upon the concept of slowing down. People with symptoms of burnout may feel that taking a sabbatical may make them appear weak and that the only way to deal with burnout is to push themselves even harder. But we need to understand that if left unaddressed, burnout can lead to anxiety and depression in the long run and affect one’s health and personal relationships too.
A majority of clients who come to us struggle with unhappiness at work, chronic diseases, and illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease is rising. And while we know sedentary lifestyles, excessive drinking and smoking, wrong food choices, lack of sleep, and chronic stress play a role, these can also be related to burnout. How can we deal with burnout?
The first step is to identify and address the stressor or cause of burnout in your life.
Is it your relationship, workplace, family, friends, social circles? How many hours of your day are you spending in this environment that is causing you stress and burnout? Many of us spend most of our time at work. It could be nine to eleven hours, even going up to 14 to 15 hours a day.
If you do not enjoy your work, identify what is stressing you out. What is causing you to lose your health, sleep, and self-confidence? You are spending half of your entire day in that environment. Now you have two choices.
- You have the choice to continue working there.
- You can choose to leave.
But let us remember that not everyone has the luxury to leave. Some of us need to continue to be in that space. We can’t just go around leaving job after job for financial and personal reasons.
To leave or not to leave, is the question
Can you imagine waking up in your happy and safe environment (for instance, your home) and then switching to a work environment for 14 to 15 hours stressed? That is chronic stress from the moment you enter your workplace until you leave. Many people even carry that work stress back home. What is the solution? Many people decide to take risks to give it up and follow their passions. Now, if you are not that kind of person you need to find a solution.
If quitting the job is not within your control, try adding love to what you do. YOU are the only person who can change your attitude and make the situation you are in better. It starts with acceptance. Tell yourself: I cannot change my job but what can I change about me? Can I stop complaining about what is going wrong, stopping the blame game, and making myself a victim?
Question: Is fear holding you back?
If you need to be happy, remember you need to stop feeling like a victim first. What makes it difficult for us to go ahead and give up the things that constantly hurt us? 7 out of 10 times, it is ourselves. Don’t get us wrong. We are not here to say that you will never have the perfect job.
Blessed are the few people who find their passion, take the risk, and tell themselves – I will not allow this environment or people to control my life. But a lot of times what holds most of us back from adopting change is our FEAR. The uncertainty of moving into an unchartered territory of work or passion. But once we adjust, we find that this was what we were meant to do.
So, the key takeaway here is that there will always be fear and doubt that hold us back whether it is giving up a continuous salary, not being able to be accepted in the new environment, or leaving our comfort zone. But that must not force us to continue to remain in environments that don’t serve us. You need to move out of your comfort zone to open new doors. If you continue to live in fear, you are going to burn out.
And if you are experiencing chronic burnout, it will take away your health sooner or later. No matter how many bonuses and promotions you get, if you lose your health, nothing else will matter. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to jump out of your job. There are ways to combat this.
Communicate, communicate and communicate
Most workplaces need transparency and clear communication. If you are an employee, communicate with the management about burnout. If it means sparking a revolution, then be it. The top management has to stop and recognize the importance of their employees’ emotional, mental, and physical health. Companies need to reassess if their employees have clean and hygienic food and a safe space at work. Beyond working hours, are they prioritizing rest time, encouraging employees to adopt healthy and consistent sleep time, physical activity, and so on?
We need to create healthy and holistic work environments where every person from the managing director to the bottom of the hierarchy is striking a balance. We know it is easier said than done.
As part of our You Care Corporate Wellness Programs, we find it amazing to notice that more companies and managers are opening up to the concept of wellness today and willing to do the work it takes for the betterment of their team members. We ought to remember that the heart of any business are the people who help run it.
But what if you are in a space where top management doesn’t care about your health? Then you need to accept that you are nothing but a money-making machine for them. Period. You can choose to be a money-making machine, some people may feel excited doing that. But for everyone else, remove the layers of lies and deceit that happen in corporate organizations and question: Am I getting the basics to maintain my health, relationships, and happiness? Is the environment I am in helping me be the best I can be?
Remember, burnout is real. And when it affects your health to a degree where you become a liability, your company will not need you anymore. This is the bitter ugly truth that most of us need to accept. So, it is crucial to wake up and smell the coffee to prevent yourself from reaching that stage.
Lack of clarity can also lead to burnout
Most people reach burnout today because they do not know what they want in life. Many settle for work environments and hefty paychecks and move in a single direction without prioritizing what we want in life. Sometimes, your 5-year plans don’t matter. What matters is your life goal. Most people are working jobs that will never contribute to their life goals. It is why they feel an inner void and emptiness regardless of doing well.
Yes, you are getting a salary, be grateful to your company. But if you still feel unfulfilled and unhappy with what you are doing, you need to reassess your life goals. It is unfortunate but true that most problems stem from how we base our mindset on what we see on TV, in movies, magazines, and in the virtual world. We see things through rose-colored glasses that are untrue.
These glorify and glamourize the hustle hard culture without paying attention to one’s health. And this needs to change. Finding out what true calling will give you the strength to move on, open a new door, and chase your life goals.
Check your company. Who are you surrounding yourself with?
Try to be truthful and transparent while communicating with your colleagues and bosses. If you’re not happy in your job and are in the company of equally miserable people, burnout can be even tougher to handle. The people you surround yourself with influence who you are, who you want to be, your opinions, and your choices. Energies can be contagious.
A negative company where people constantly complain, blame and make themselves victims does not change you, your situation, your boss, or anything. You are wasting the energy that you could direct towards yourself, your health, and planning a change.
On the other hand, if you keep the company of colleagues and friends who are supportive, willing to extend help, and guide you to adopt a change, treasure them.
Can lifestyle help you cope with burnout?
Yes, it certainly can. Here are a few powerful tools that you can adopt to cope with burnout.
Our learnings from our consults
Those who are unhappy in their jobs and continue to accept and live with it show symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, unexplained pain in the hip, legs, back, and neck. In our experience, these symptoms show up when they are in their workplace. Once you move them out of that environment, the symptoms disappear. When they know they have to get back into that environment, the symptoms start surfacing again.
So if you are not in a place to quit your job, add love and find things in your current situation that make you happy. If you can make that change, drop the job if it does not tie into your life goals. It takes courage, but faith is the key. You need to trust that you will find something that suits you. Most people who take that risk and find their goal, look back thinking the risk was worth everything.
Today many of us are becoming our own reasons for burnout because we fail to set boundaries, organize our day and time better, mindless doom scrolling and aspiring to live the filtered lives we see on social media. So self work, mindfulness, discipline and consistency is also key to preventing burnout.
Remember, we are living in times where burnout has moved from outside the realm of the workplace and is also affecting many young kids. Let’s dive into this further.
Is your child experiencing burnout?
Kids today are enrolled into language, tuition, music, art, public speaking, dance, and sports, among other classes crammed into one day. Making them attend five classes a day will burn them out at some point. It may throw their hormones out of sync and often cause their emotional health to deteriorate due to the constant pressure.
Your child is a child. Allow them to grow at their own pace. Even an adult cannot manage as many extracurriculars as most children manage today.
Take a step back, pause and introspect. You will realize that dealing with burnout also comes down to two words that are easy to say but extremely difficult to practice. Acceptance and letting go. The strength to do it can only come from within you. No motivational videos or self-help books can help. Spend time in silence and write down what is within your control and what isn’t. The path to handling the rest will automatically make itself clear to you. Meditate and pray for that strength and see how your life begins to change.
If you continue to struggle with your life goals, get in touch with our holistic life coaches to receive the guidance you need. If you are an employer who aims to create a conducive work environment for your team members, enroll in our You Care Corporate Wellness Program or set up talks and webinars to find the way forward. Speak to our wellness consultants on call us 1800 102 0253 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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