Addressing Burnout for Better Health
Are you always feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Feeling like you have an endless to-do list and hating Sundays because of the dread of the work week to come? You could be exhibiting signs of burn out. “Burn out” isn’t just something we say when we are tired and stressed, it has actually been deemed a diagnosis by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has classified this as a workplace phenomenon that results from chronic workplace stress resulting in exhaustion, listlessness and the inability to cope. Though the WHO links burnout directly to workplace stress, studies are starting to extended the definition of burnout to caregivers and the research continues to grow. Regardless of the cause, you are not the only person experiencing this, especially if you are a woman dealing with additional emotional labour at home.
In our go-go society that values productivity over self-care, burnout has become a big issue and it can dramatically impact a person’s health.
So, how do you recognize burnout? Here are 5 signs that it may be affecting you.
- Tired but cannot sleep
- You may be exhausted but when your head hits the pillow you just can’t seem to turn off that brain to get to sleep. Lack of sleep, either conscious or subconscious is one of the first signs of stress leading to burnout. This becomes a bigger problem over time because it continues to feed the problem
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- When overwhelm is at an all time high, even simple tasks seem hard. You are jumping from task to task, not finishing anything, distracted breaks are becoming more frequent, and things are just not getting done! You may simply be lacking the energy to be productive or are so overwhelmed that you just don’t know where to start.
- Getting sick constantly
- The more stressed that you get the more the body suppresses your immune system. This may make you feel like “I never get sick,” until you finally get a long weekend or vacation and end up sick! Once you take a break (even a small one) your cortisol drops and your immune system spikes, finally able to fight everything it was exposed to.
- Dreading going to work
- You used to love your job and now Sunday comes too fast and you can’t even enjoy it because you know what’s coming! You are checked out, the day drags and even the parts of your job you used to look forward to don’t bring you joy.
- Anxiety and overwhelm
- Everything seems too hard. You find yourself snappy and irritable. You are getting crushed by your to do list and are doubting yourself with every task.
These are just some signs. For some people they have a flood of physical symptoms including headaches, nausea, diarrhea and/or stomach pain without any apparent cause. Burnout can look different for different people but the solution is the same. SELF CARE IS KEY!
What can you do to start to address this?
Go to bed on time!
- Put the screens away and the to-do list before you climb into bed. Give yourself enough time to be in bed for at least 8 hours. WORK ON YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE! Because if you cannot sleep you cannot heal!
Say no to one thing a day
- You cannot add to your overwhelming to-do list when there already aren’t enough hours in a day. You don’t have to say yes every time someone asks you for something. Delegate some jobs around the house, hire a cleaner, say no the bake sale….if you aren’t excited about the idea then SAY NO!
- Make some time for some movement in your day. Take a walk on your lunch, go to that yoga class, stream a youtube workout! Whatever you choose put it in your schedule like an appointment. Research shows that exercise is a natural remedy for stress, anxiety and depression.
Eat well and stay hydrated
- When you are stressed and your cortisol is high, your brain will crave sugar (and sometimes alcohol) but this instant gratification stops there! If you aren’t feeding yourself well you will never be able to do it all! Don’t skip meals, get protein and vegetables, and don’t forget to bring your water bottle!
Do something YOU enjoy
- You need to rediscover your pleasure and passion. You need to have fun! If you have trouble identifying those things that you enjoy then check out Dr. Wiggins’ podcast “The Pleasure Principles with Dr. Jordin Wiggins” on Apple or Spotify.
Stress is a major health issue. When we are stressed we increase our risk of burnout. The longer we stay in this state, the more our health suffers! Let us help you take a big step out of burnout and into better health!
Book your free Alignment Call HERE to find out how you can work with us.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND