Most of us, especially in modern American culture, have experienced some degree of burnout. Since Burnout can lead to health problems, and even premature death, it seems appropriate that we take some time in this space to address this sociologic epidemic.
First, a definition: Burnout is a sense of exhaustion - physical, emotional or mental. It is felt to be caused by prolonged, excessive stress. Toxic family or workplace relationships can lead to chronic stress, as do abusive environments leading to a sense of helplessness.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet the constant demands of your life, you may be experiencing burnout. If left untreated, burnout may lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, cynicism, depression and resentment. Eventually, drug and alcohol abuse, binge eating and other risky behaviors may take hold leading to health and life threatening results.
The most important way to handle burnout is to recognize it. The symptoms do not happen all at once, they may sneak up on you. If you find yourself feeling dread, lack of energy and decreasing productivity, you should begin to address the possible causes before health problems present themselves.
It turns out the most effective treatment for all stages of burnout involves one on one therapy - basically talking to someone who is not a family member or co-worker with whom you feel stressed or overly vulnerable. The goal of therapy, primarily, is to put a name on the chronic fatigue you are feeling. Then, through insightful therapeutic exploration, try to identify stressful triggers, then come up with mitigating strategies. Treating burnout involves a spectrum of solutions, from relaxation strategies all the way to a complete change of life circumstances.
A therapist or health/lifestyle coach can ask the right questions which lead to self-discovery and give important clues as to how stress in your life can be reduced.
We are often tempted to ignore stress or burnout in our lives. Hard driving corporate types my feel to identify burnout is to be “weak” or lacking competitiveness. Don’t make the mistake I did. I was unwilling or unable to identify deep levels of burnout until it led to quintuple coronary bypass surgery in my mid fifties!
We are all human, and burnout is a natural result of unmanaged excessive stress in our lives.. If you are feeling overwhelmed, unhealthy or a-motivational, call us at MONACO Wellness. We can help!
Dr. John Monaco