Since the World Health Organization announced Burnout as an official medical diagnosis earlier this year, it’s been all over the media. It’s not that the concept is new, researchers have been studying it since the 1970’s. In fact, it’s one of the most widely discussed mental health issues in today’s society. It’s only recently been made official because researches have finally agreed on a definition.
So what exactly is burnout?
Officially, it’s a condition whereas you exhibit feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance or negativity towards your job and reduced professional efficacy (lost motivation or feeling stuck). Procrastination is also a big indicator of burnout. And you’re not alone, as more than 50% of the working population experiences burnout at some point in their career.
If not addressed, burnout can bloom into anxiety, depression or other behavioral health problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and compulsive behaviors such as overspending and gambling. So what do you do if you think you’re already going down this road?
- Acknowledge it and recognize that it is NOT a weakness. It’s simply your mind and body telling you to slow down.
Stop saying yes to everything.
- Sleep. Lack of sleep escalates burnout. The more you can fit in, the better you’ll be able to handle the next day.
- Schedule time for yourself. If you’re living life based on your calendar, then schedule time off like you would any meeting. Put it on the calendar and give it the same weight as you would an important client.
- Calm your mind. Turn the committee off.
- Disconnect your self-worth from professional achievements.
- Get help. Sometimes we need guidance on revamping our schedules and work loads without sacrificing the goals we want to achieve.
- Take your MEDS (Mental Imagery, Exercise, Diet and Stress Management). Yoga Nidra is a great way to destress (Dr. Kathy offers monthly classes). Take a walk or go to the movies. Maybe even try knitting. Believe it or not, knitting or some other tactile project, can be very soothing.
Burnout is a real thing. You’re not being lazy or failing at your profession. You’re just over-tired, over-extended, and acting like a typical overachiever that has a hard time admitting to being human. Slow down. Re-align your thinking. And bring self-care into your daily routine. But most importantly, remember how awesome you truly are!
Dr. Kathy is well known in Jupiter Florida as the “go to expert” for her mindful approach to cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy). Combining evidence-based therapies from psychology, neuroscience, mental imagery, nutrition and exercise, her FUN™ program establishes mindbody balance to create immediate shifts in thinking. Dr. Kathy is also a Certified Addiction Professional, Yoga Therapist (E-IAYT), EMDR Practitioner and EMDR Consultant in Training. She is the co-author of Asthma Free in 21 Days and frequently publishes articles related to mental health.
Dr. Kathy offers EMDR consultation, supervision and mentoring services to guide practitioners through the technical aspects of EMDR, case integration, treatment plans, skill development and ongoing education.