HEALTHY, HAPPY HUMANS: AKCELINA’S GUIDE TO PREVENTING ‘BURNOUT’
Burnout refers to the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion caused by chronic stress and insufficient downtime. It typically occurs after a period of excessive and prolonged stress without enough rest and recovery time. As a result, we start to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope mentally, emotionally and physically.
A burnout is a gradual process which manifests fully after an extended period of time. The main signs can be divided into three categories: physical, mental-emotional and behavioural. Among others, these include such factors as: lethargy; insomnia; a change in appetite; frequent headaches; impaired concentration; feelings of helplessness; a negative outlook; anxiety or depression; reduced productivity; increased frustration or anger; and turning to food, caffeine, alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms.
In addition to the main signs of burnout, there is a whole spectrum of other signs to look out for. Here is a list which might surprise you: Feeling alone in the world; empty; devoid of caring; worthless; bursting into tears suddenly; unable to meet deadlines; constantly behind with work load; isolating yourself; feeling overburdened; highly reactive and exhausted all the time irrespective of the amount of sleep or rest you get. Your life feels out of balance and out of control.
Statistically, women between the ages of 35 and 45 are most at risk of a burnout, although some women may experience such an onset earlier or later in life. This depends on a myriad of causative factors. The main causes can be divided into Health Factors (including adrenal issues, thyroid dysfunction and neurotransmitter imbalance), Personality Traits (such as high achievers, workaholics and perfectionists), Lifestyle Factors (insufficient sleep, poor diet, lack of digital detox) and Work Aspects (pressurised environments, lack of control and lack of recognition). Of course, these are just some of the main factors in these categories.
Burnout is a complex condition caused by multiple factors and, as such, it requires a multi-disciplined approach. The treatment involves several stages depending on the specific causative factors and is recommended accordingly. There are eight essential areas for a successful recovery. These include: testing (diagnostic tests of the endocrine and digestive system; dietary improvements, supplement advice, lifestyle recommendations, work-life balance, stress management and psychological support. An integrated wellbeing specialist has the necessary expertise to cover all the areas and create the best bespoke treatment.
Recognise that any of the above-mentioned signs are signals not to carry on pushing yourself harder but a call for greater self-care, shift in perception and smarter way of doing things. Here are ten steps to help you get your life back into balance and prevent burnout.
1. Talk to someone (By sharing your concerns you are taking a first step to recovery)
2. Manage stress (Learn how to change your response to stress and release it effectively)
3. Include daily physical activity (Even 10 minutes of exercise will make you feel better)
4. Eat a healthy diet (Include more protein and rainbow vegetables to boost stress resilience)
5. Get good quality sleep (Sleep around 10pm. Take time to recharge adequately for tasks ahead)
6. Include me-time (30 minutes a day of creativity, fun, pleasure will refresh you sufficiently)
7. Have social time (Enjoy face-to-face family and friends time for emotional wellness)
8. Work smart not hard (Re-prioritise, delegate, reframe your outlook on work and life)
9. Go for digital detox (You’ll have more mental space, time and productivity)
10. Seek professional help (Ditch alcohol and drugs for the real coping support)
Akcelina Cvijetic Dip NN Reg CCH MPNLP TFT Dx Wellbeing Specialist & Performance Coach
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