Coined by the psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s, burnout describes a severe stress condition that leads to severe physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.
Much worse than ordinary fatigue, burnout makes it challenging for people to cope with stress and handle day-to-day responsibilities.
People experiencing burnout often feel like they have nothing left to give and may dread getting out of bed each morning. They may even adopt a pessimistic outlook toward life and feel hopeless.
Burnout doesn’t go away on its own and, if left untreated, it can lead to serious physical and psychological illnesses like depression, heart disease and diabetes.
Who can get Burnout?
Along with career-induced burnout, people caring for children can also have this type of extreme exhaustion. A recent study found that, just like doctors and business executives, mothers and fathers can also burn out.
More simply put, if you feel exhausted, start to hate your job, and begin to feel less capable, you are showing signs of burnout
Personality characteristics like needing to be in control, perfectionism, and being “Type A” can also increase your risk of burnout.
Signs of Burnout
Burnout, however, isn’t always easy to spot. Here are some of the most common signs of burnout:
- Exhaustion. A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent. Physical symptoms may include headaches, stomach-aches, loss of appetite or sleeping changes.
- Lack of motivation. When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for your work, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing burnout.
- Isolation. People with burnout tend to feel overwhelmed. As a result, they may stop socializing and confiding in friends, family members, and co-workers.
- Irritability, Frustration & Cynicism. You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to. While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to know when these are becoming unusual for you. Burnout can cause people to lose their cool with friends, co-workers, and family members more easily. Coping with normal stressors like preparing for a work meeting, driving kids to school, and tending to household tasks also may start to feel insurmountable, especially when things don’t go as planned.
- Frequent illnesses. Burnout, like other long-term stress, can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and insomnia. Burnout can also lead to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.
Is Stress the same as Burnout?
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and mentally. However, stressed people can still imagine that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you’re drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.
How to Avoid Burnout
Whether you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout or you’re already past the breaking point, trying to push through the exhaustion and continuing as you have been will only cause further emotional and physical damage. Now is the time to pause and change direction by learning how you can help yourself overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again.
1. Book yourself in for a getaway or a Retreat every quarter.
Travel is one of the best ways to reconnect you with the magic of life and open your eyes to a much wider view of the world. Experiencing new places, having your breath taken away by new sights, and challenging yourself to try new things. Giving yourself a break from every day routine and responsibilities is true soul medicine. You deserve it and you are worthy of it.
A Retreat enables you an entire week to check back in with yourself. You have the freedom to do as you please, when you please! Activities such as yoga and meditation invite you to dive deeper into your heart and soul. The space and tranquility can feel strange at first, but soon, you will embrace the chance to just be you, to follow your own needs, and to fall in love with all that you are again.
Having your cup full and feeling truly rejuvenated and alive gives you so much more energy to really be the best version of yourself. When we run on empty all the time, it can be hard to feel grateful for the little things.
Life feels hard when we don’t have energy or time on our side. A Retreat enables you to be a better person, a better parent, a better partner, friend, sister, brother, colleague.
2. Meditation –
A great way to avoid burnout is with a daily meditation practice. There’s so much science on the benefits of meditation.
Meditation can help you with the following:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
If you don’t have a daily meditation practice, now is the time to start. Start with doing it once in the morning and again before bed, and feel the shift through your entire being.
Here are some suggestions for mindfulness & meditation apps to try:
- Insight Timer has over 25,000 free guided meditations, from 1 to 90+ minutes. Try searching by a topic that interests you (e.g. stress, learning to meditate, sleep).
- Calm is a go to mindfulness app with more than 50 million downloads and a 4.8 star rating. It takes a relaxed approach for users to ease into meditative practices at their own pace, with auditory bedtime stories as well as relaxing audio to help establish mental guided imagery to help users remove themselves from their current surroundings.
- If meditation isn’t for you, try doing an everyday activity in a mindful way – in other words, put aside distractions and focus fully on one small task. For example, while you’re having a cup of tea, pay attention to your senses (the smell of the tea, the warmth of the cup in your hand, the taste…).
3. Do any form of movement, every single day.
Movement is hugely beneficial for your mind, body and soul. Most importantly it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and wellbeing. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. It can also serve to help break you out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Find something you like and do it daily, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Try yoga, pilates, dancing, body weight exercises, stretching, walking, swimming, whatever you like. There are so many free exercise/movement videos online. We recommend the app Down Dog as you can customize your preferences and do a new yoga flow each morning for 15 minutes.
4. Spend time in nature every day.
Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whatever you want to call it — forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, green time or the wilderness cure — humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain benefits from a journey back to nature. For extra mind, body and soul nourishment, take your meditation or movement outside and soak up as much of those negative ions as possible.
5. Get into bed early and get 8 hours of deep sleep.
There are so many benefits of getting good quality sleep — including boosting your mood and avoiding burn out, being more focused and ‘sharp’, having a healthier heart, steadying your blood sugar, boosting your immune system and balancing your weight! Get into bed early, even as early as 8 pm or 9 pm. Make sleep a priority. Get into bed, read, connect with your partner and take time to wind down.
Left unchecked, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and job performance. By understanding what causes burnout, how it manifests itself in our daily lives, and how you can prevent, counteract, and recover from it, you can commit to a happier and healthier life at work and at home.
If you are looking for a private space with non judgmental ethos, the Shanti-Som Wellness Retreat is the perfect haven to rejuvenate and recover from burnout. Our specially curated Relaxation Retreat is for those looking for rest and relaxation with spa treatments, light movement and expert guidance in personal goals, tackling roadblocks, burnout, depression or simply finding connection.
A unique and key benefit at Shanti-Som is our Retreat Guidance. Whilst at Shanti -Som our guests have access to our specialised life coaches who are there to help identify strengths, develop them and focus on ways to achieve personal and professional goals. We believe given the right atmosphere, personal connection, exercise, and healthy eating, we can build on our emotions and let them flourish to create a positive and meaningful life. Contact our friendly staff for more information on our Relaxation Retreat Program.