Thirteen years ago, with a well-paying corporate job, a stylish home and an adorable newborn, Siobhán Murray, then 37, seemed to negotiate her life with the ease of a hamster train. In fact, she was so devastated that she could barely sleep, think or swallow food. At noon he left the office, came home and lay down on the kitchen floor. "Okay. Okay," she whispered. - I'll just pull myself together.
Currently a psychotherapist and author of a bookSolving combustion problems, Murray describes burnout as "the culmination of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by emotionally demanding situations, both work-related and personal."
The irony was that she loved her job as communications manager for McDonald's restaurants in Ireland. But on her first day back at work in Dublin after maternity leave, Murray was sent to London for an appointment. "I was wondering who will pick up my child from kindergarten?
Murray quickly realized that she could not deliver what he expected from her. But “when you're in it, you just keep going. There was an absolute dread of walking through the front door of that office every morning. Every decision - phone call or e-mail? Tea or coffee? it paralyzed her. - I had terrible chest pains, such butterflies in my stomach that I couldn't eat.
She spent every day huddled over her desk, her head throbbing and her jaw aching from the exertion, to the point where she drank two bottles of wine a night to relax. “It relieves the pain. It relaxes the muscles, it relaxes the mind." He fell asleep and woke up two hours later. She was preparing her son for kindergarten "just for the fire." It took her two months to realize that "I have to get out of this."
Burnout was first recognized as a concept in the 1970s, but our crazy, always-connected modern lives have given it new meaning. Last year,World Health Organizationdescribed burnout in the manual of the International Classification of Diseases as an "occupational syndrome" resulting from ineffective treatmentchronic stress at the workplacewhich permanently exhausts the person, makes him feel disconnected, cynical and unable to do his job.
But burnout is very different for everyone who suffers from it, and as Murray notes, "it's all-encompassing." She missed the relationship. "It can be a feeling of disconnection with work, with family. I was cut off from my son. There was no joy."
The pressure of the workload and the lack of support created an epidemic
Burning is increasingly being described as an epidemic. The Health and Safety Executive reports that 602,000 British workers suffered from work-related stress, according to the Labor Force Survey,depression or anxietyin 2018-19. Companies in public service sectors such as education, health and social welfare, and public administration and defense were particularly vulnerable. Workload pressures such as short deadlines, excessive responsibility and lack of management support were cited as the main reasons.
People are slowly starting to see the magnitude of the problem. Research shows that burnout not only worsens mental health, but also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as dementia andtype 2 diabetes. In 2017, the American Journal of Cardiology published an analysis of 17 studies that concluded that burnout was "significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events," as well as stroke and all-cause death.
A study was published in the journal last monthEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiologyfound that over a 25-year period, people were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (a common type of abnormal heart rhythm) when they scored high on "life exhaustion" symptoms.
How does stress affect the body?
Vital exhaustion, characterized by "fatigue, irritability and frustration," was measured using the Maastricht Questionnaire, which includes striking questions such as "Do you sometimes feel like crying? Have you recently experienced a feeling of hopelessness? Do you sometimes wish you were dead? Study author Dr. .Parveen Garg, bUniversity of Southern Californiasays: "This questionnaire found that exhausted people were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke over time."
The theory is that if your fight-or-flight response is constantly activated by chronic stress, the levels of stress hormones in your blood are constantly elevated. Constant intense stress makes you hyperactiveimmune systeminduction of inflammation - and chronic mild inflammation is a common factor in many diseases, from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
dr. Garg focused on cardiovascular health and says that when there are high levels of inflammation and elevated levels of stress hormones in the blood over a long period of time, “there are studies that suggest that this can damage heart tissue over time. When you have damaged tissue in your heart, it can affect the way electrical impulses are conducted, and if this is disrupted, you can develop an abnormal rhythm.
He adds: "We found that participants who were at the highest level of exhaustion had a 20 percent higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia [abnormal heart rhythm] in the world."
She is grateful that burnout is finally getting the attention it deserves. "I think we're going to develop strategies, not just for doctors to find ways to deal with it, but to see the general population learn more about it, recognize what to look out for.
«the concept of exhaustionit's not new. What is new is that we are beginning to understand that this is a big problem, that it affects many people, most people may not even know they have it, and the consequences are not negligible."
Therefore, solving burnout requires more than just sending your team to a stress management course. While self-care and workload management are important, "we think the idea of training people to be resilient to prevent burnout is not the answer," says Dr. Laura Vincent, a medical consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, who recently conducted a study on burnout in intensive care staff.
The social media prankster describes resilience training as "expected to work in impossible conditions without adequate resources, without complaint."
A more effective prevention strategy is to recognize that people need to be supported in different ways, says Dr Vincent. "You have to adjust your support." Job structure, work environment, expectations of you, emotional stress can all play a role.
"Relationships in the organization, leadership model, communication, how employees feel valued" are also key.
Dr Vincent adds: “These problems are not just about healthcare. Having dedicated, supportive and collaborative leadership is how you can get the best out of your team. You make people feel like you care about them."
Protect yourself from burnout - is the answer in personality traits?
Enough. Toxic bosses can damage our mental health like acid bites into metal. But as research shows, your personality—and your personal circumstances—play a big role in how, when, and why you experience burnout. How can we protect ourselves?
Siobhán Murray, whose breakdown was partly the result of the pressures of single parenthood, believes that for some people, burnout is caused by careers for which they are unsuitable or have become unsuitable. They consider it "toxicworking environmentbecause it's not the right environment for them."
After Murray quit her job, she took psychology classes and bought a baby sign language franchise. She taught, attended college and was convinced she wanted to graduate in psychotherapy. This includes only 50 hours of therapy. "You go back to basics and rebuild yourself."
That forced her to address personality traits and behaviors, "perfectionism, overachievement, all those things that contributed to my burnout."
Anxiety and stress coach Carl Vernon, author of Anxiety Rebalance, encourages his clients to ask themselves, "What am I doing here?" and accept some responsibility for their situation, even if it's just "realize you have a toxic influence and don't let it get to you as long as it does."
Similarly, Murray has learned that she must take care of herself if she is to recover and thrive after burnout. He stopped drinking and smoking. He even ran a marathon. He also realized that he was an introvert. "I have to spend a lot of time alone. This is how I replenish my energy. When I worked in a company, I was in this open office all the time, surrounded by people. It was exhausting.
Of course, not everyone can just give up and work alone. But self-awareness can make you do itmake small changes in lifestyleto save you from exhaustion. Maybe you need to learn to be calmly assertive when you say no or delegate.
Understand your own stressors: Adequate sleep, good nutrition and exercise are key. If you are prone to anxiety and destructive thoughts, CBT can help. Murray also advises getting rid of "clutter" - whether it's an unhealthy relationship or too much screen time to give yourself back space.
Ask yourself what can I do to protect my mental health? For Murray, that means jumping into the Irish Sea for a three-minute swim in the icy water. He also trains with weights. “I'm standing in the gym, deadlifting 80kg, at 5ft 4in, 50 years old, like, wow! come to me! I'm ready for anything.
"Exhaustion crept in, daily nagging, constant nagging until I couldn't take it anymore"
Carl Vernon, 38, anxiety and stress coach, author of The Anxiety Rebalance
I was an ambitious young man. At the age of 21, I started my own business in the recruitment industry, which is extremely competitive and stressful. After five years of success, the recession hit hard in 2008. I started losing money, going into debt... I hit a wall.
Although I suffered from anxiety growing up, I never let it stop me from being successful. However, in 2008 I felt physically and mentally unfit to act. I was dealing with panic attacks and obsessive thoughts on a daily basis.
I would wake up in the morning after a bad night's sleep feeling so depressed and out of energy that I just wanted to throw the covers over my head and wish the day was over before it started. It was as if my mind was saying, "I can't do it anymore."
I knew that if I continued with this attitude, I would end up on the street. I used that fear to find my motivation. I had to lay off all my staff and find a job to pay the bills. I got a job in an advertising agency that required me to train.
I stayed in a hotel and had a complete breakdown in the room. I had to call my wife to come pick me up. He opened the door and saw a monster with red eyes from sobbing. I don't think he's ever seen me cry.
The first honest conversation with my wife about what was going on was the catalyst for us to move forward. I couldn't hide it anymore. Collapsing in that hotel room was a huge wake-up call. Something must have changed.
I went to the doctor, I went to the clinic and I was on antidepressants for a while. Burnout crept in, daily nagging, constant nagging until I couldn't take it anymore. I was sick and tired of living like this. My quality of life was terrible. I knew I had to start taking better care of myself.
I took the time to discover myself. I'm studying. I took psychology classes. I was always driven by such great ambitions that I never found time to think about anything else. As long as I was buying the latest car and clothes and had a nice house, my life was definitely fine. It's not. I had to feel good inside.
When I understood what my burnout was on a psychological level, I began to share my observations. I wrote the book Anxiety Rebalance, which became number one on Amazon. I made progress in my burnout training. My clients are CEOs, sports professionals, business leaders.
I treat stress and anxiety as a message from our subconscious - you need to work on it to make your life easier. When I analyzed why I was so deeply affected, it shocked me how much of my anxiety was related to worrying about what others thought of me and trying to live up to their expectations. This realization set me on a new path and now I feel that I am getting the most out of every moment.
"Exhaustion can make you think about a change of direction and help you discover who you really are"
Raina Beuckelaers, 47, suosnivačica Pure Circle Inner Wellness centra
I lived in the Belgian countryside and rode horses every morning on my way to work in the city. I often parked my car on the side of the road and went out into the field to be with the animals for five minutes. The ride back to the car was horrible. But I couldn't admit that something was wrong. I wanted to think I could handle it.
I have been working as a marketing consultant for 16 years. The last few years have not been satisfactory. I didn't like it, it was hard for me. But I kept walking, thinking, "I'll survive." But it made me so unhappy. I was constantly suffering from colds, flu, stomach problems. I didn't sleep and I cried a lot. This affected my relationship with my partner Mark – I would get disproportionately upset or upset over the smallest things.
One night a friend said, "I think you're in danger of burning out." I didn't want to admit it. I didn't want to disappoint my employer. But the next afternoon at work, I felt tears welling up in my eyes and thought, "I can't take it anymore."
I closed my laptop and left the building. It was such a relief.
I went to my doctor. He fired me from my job and I stayed at home for seven months. My burnout was a combination of being on top of my job and not feeling like I was myself anymore. But I rarely asked myself, “Does this make me happy? What would I be better suited for?'
The positive side of burnout is that it forces you to think about a change in direction and helps you discover who you are. If you can do that, everything turns around. It allows you to become much happier.
The family doctor suggested a visit to a psychotherapist. We thought about my values, why I am a perfectionist and whether I fit in this corporate world. She also referred me to a physical therapist to relearn how to breathe properly and calm my body. I saw a masseur and he was doing yoga. I didn't realize I was so tight and tense.
I realized that what makes me happy is being in the company of people and animals. I wanted to do something meaningful. I was interested in psychology and therapy with the participation of horses - that's why in the years 2012-2016. studied psychotherapy.
I couldn't start a new life right away. Financially it was not possible. But after seven months I quit my job and became a freelancer so I could study and travel. Mark and I adopted pets: we have four cats and last week we adopted a fourth dog from India. It helped me set a new purpose in life.
I thought it would be great if there was a center that offered everything you needed to recover from exhaustion, so you didn't have to run around in circles. We moved to the UK in January 2018 and opened Pure Circle Inner Wellness Center on the edge of the Cotswolds last summer.
We offer weekend concerts and short courses on stress and burnout, workshops to help people understand their values, as well as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and creative workshops to help people renew themselves mentally and physically.
My new life means I can grow - and give back.
How do you know if you are at risk of burning out?
Take this quiz from psychotherapist Siobhán Murray, author of The Burnout Solution. Here is the answer key: yes (T), somewhat (S), no (N)
1. Do you often feel physically and emotionally exhausted?
T – 2; S – 1; N – 0
2. Do you feel that the work you do is important?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
3. Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do every day?
T – 2; S – 1; N – 0
4. Do you feel you have a good support network of friends, family and loved ones?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
5. Do you feel you spend enough time with friends, family and community?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
6. Do you feel supported by your colleagues?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
7. Have you been on vacation in the last year?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
8. "The more I work, the more I achieve." Is this statement true for you?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
9. "I feel proud of what I have accomplished." Is this statement true for you?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
10. Do you feel that your superiors appreciate you at work?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
11. Do you feel that your work is in line with your values?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
12. Do you control the day-to-day minute operations related to your work?
Y – 0; S – 1; N – 2
13. Do you have sleep problems such as inability to sleep, sleep disturbances or do you still wake up tired?
T – 2; S – 1; N – 0
14. Do you find that you are more upset by events or situations that you used to be able to deal with more easily?
T – 2; S – 1; N – 0
If you get:
You seem to be taking care of yourself. Keep up the good work and remember what makes you feel good and fulfilled.
10-19 (display, other).
The risk of burning is mild to moderate. Consider what actions you can take to prevent these symptoms from getting worse. Sleep, good nutrition and exercise are investments in sustainable personal development.
20-28 (display, other).
You are at high risk of burnout and need to make changes now. Get help from someone who can support you and take care of your health and well-being. Sleep more. Your goal is to make lasting changes at work that will allow you to find balance and thrive in all areas of your life.
What did you get after taking our test? Share your rating in the comments below
- Sense of failure and self-doubt.
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated.
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world.
- Loss of motivation. Increasingly cynical and negative outlook.
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
- Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.
- Increased absenteeism.
- Higher sensitivity to feedback.
- Emergence of physical symptoms.
- Decreased productivity.
If you are experiencing burnout and are having difficulty finding your way out, or you suspect that you may also have a mental health condition such as depression, seek professional treatment. Talking to a mental health professional can help you discover the strategies you need to feel your best.What are the signs of burnout and how might burnout be treated or prevented? ›
Feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and isolating from friends and family members can be some of the signs. However, eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and getting a good night's sleep may prevent this stressed state.How can managers identify burnout? ›
- Elevated stress levels. Managers should acknowledge that this is a particularly stressful time and monitor their associates' ability to cope. ...
- Sleeping too much or too little. ...
- Irritability or hostility. ...
- Lower quality work.
- Hold Walking Meetings. ...
- Promote Work/Life Balance. ...
- Monitor Workloads & Scheduling. ...
- Encourage Employees to Use Vacation Time. ...
- Provide Work From Home Options. ...
- Prioritize Workplace Wellness. ...
- Offer Employee Assistance Programs.
- Compile a list of reasons you feel burned out and how they affect your job and career. ...
- Identify your goals. ...
- What changes do you want to see? ...
- Send your boss an email to request a meeting about your burnout concerns. ...
- Await their reply and gear up for the meeting.
Take care of your own wellbeing. While this may feel counterintuitive, managers need to take care of their own mental and physical wellbeing to help their employees through burnout. That way, you're setting a positive example for the rest of the team to prioritize their health at work.How do you treat a burnout yourself? ›
- Get some physical activity in. ...
- Engage in a mindfulness activity, such as journaling, deep breathing exercises or a daily gratitude practice. ...
- Brighten someone else's day by giving a note of appreciation, gifting a coffee or meal, or just asking how the day has been.
Burnout involves three distinct symptoms: energy depletion and exhaustion, depersonalization and cynicism, and reduced efficacy.
It's essential to replenish your physical and emotional energy, along with your capacity to focus, by prioritizing good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, social connection, and practices that promote equanimity and well-being, like meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.What is the most effective treatment for burnout? ›
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for people who are experiencing burnout [14,15]. It can be provided as a one-to-one therapy, in groups, or alongside other types of help like career counseling or working with employers.What is burnout and how do you recover? ›
Burnout is usually a slow and gradual process – one that tends to rob people of their passion, their motivation, and energy, leaving them instead with feelings of exhaustion, disillusionment, and frustration. But as overwhelming and infiltrating as burnout can feel, recovering is possible.What are the five stages of burnout? ›
- Stage 1: Excessive ambition.
- Stage 2: Working harder.
- Stage 3: Neglecting your needs.
- Stage 4: Displacing problems.
- Stage 5: Revision of values.
Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. If you are experiencing burnout, you may notice it is difficult to engage in activities you normally find meaningful. You may no longer care about the things that are important to you or experience an increasing sense of hopelessness.What are the 4 stages leading to burnout? ›
World Health Organization as a phenomenon caused by chronic stress at work, and cites four key indicating signs: Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; mental distancing from a job; feeling of negativity or cynicism towards professional duties; and a decrease in work efficacy.How managers can prevent their team from burning out? ›
Give employees ongoing access to advice and best practices. Organizations should develop a network of wellbeing "coaches," and managers should encourage their team members to use the available resources. Help your team manage stress, anxiety and burnout by encouraging them to keep their wellbeing top of mind.How do you motivate someone with burnout? ›
- #1 Open up a conversation. ...
- #2 Don't assume what they need. ...
- #3 Ask how you can help. ...
- #4 Encourage them to see a health professional. ...
- #5 Ensure they have support outside of work. ...
- #6 Explore the route to recovery. ...
- #7 Check-in regularly.
- Practice Excellent Physical Self-Care. ...
- Practice Emotional Self Care. ...
- Leave Work at Work. ...
- Eat Mindfully. ...
- Tap Into Hobbies & Passions. ...
- Connect With Peers for Support. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Make Time for Family & Friends.
Burnout keeps you from being productive. It reduces your energy, making you feel hopeless, cynical, and resentful. The effects of burnout can hurt your home, work, and social life. Long- term burnout can make you more vulnerable to colds and flu.
- Reframe Your Mindset. Consider the role you're burned out from and remind yourself why you started, Thornton suggests. ...
- Make Time for Self-Care. ...
- Ask for Help. ...
- Maintain Your Social Life. ...
- Set Boundaries.
While burnout is not a mental health disorder, it is closely tied to a few. Burnout can be a cause of a mental health disorder, but mental health conditions can also cause burnout. According to a study conducted by the University of Macedonia, burnout has an interconnected relationship with both depression and anxiety.How long is burnout supposed to last? ›
How Long Does Burnout Last? It takes an average time of three months to a year to recover from burnout. How long your burnout lasts will depend on your level of emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue, as well as if you experience any relapses or periods of stagnant recovery.Can burnout change your personality? ›
Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by chronic stress at work or in other areas of life. Burnout can affect your personality traits, which are the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that make you unique.What does a burnout breakdown look like? ›
feel isolated — disinterested in the company of family and friends, or withdrawing from usual daily activities. feel overwhelmed — unable to concentrate or make decisions. be moody — feeling low or depression; feeling burnt out; emotional outbursts of uncontrollable anger, fear, helplessness or crying.What are the symptoms of overload burnout? ›
Symptoms include exhaustion, reduced productivity, and cynicism, according to the World Health Organization. It can also lead to mental and physical exhaustion, a loss of identity, and feeling a lack of accomplishment, the Mayo Clinic says. Experts believe that burnout can lead to depression.What happens when burnout is ignored? ›
Consequences of job burnout
Ignored or unaddressed job burnout can have significant consequences, including: Excessive stress. Fatigue.
These include impaired executive functioning, attention control, and working memory; emotional exhaustion and dysregulation; and irritability, anxiousness, and physical fatigue.What is the psychological response to burnout? ›
The scale evaluates burnout based on three key stress responses: an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, and a sense of professional ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.How do you recover from a serious burnout? ›
- Keep Track of Your Stress Levels. You may be aware that you're stressed. ...
- Try Journaling. ...
- Move Your Body. ...
- Try Stress Management Techniques. ...
- Set Boundaries. ...
- Be Compassionate… ...
- Reset Your Sleep Schedule. ...
- Nourish Your Body.
You may be able to address burnout on your own with the support of friends, colleagues, and loved ones. However, if the burnout you are experiencing is leading to absenteeism, fractured relationships in your work or professional life, physical impairment or suicidal thoughts you should seek professional help.Can you recover from burnout on your own? ›
Burnout doesn't go away on its own; rather, it will get worse unless you address the underlying issues causing it. If you ignore burnout, it will only cause you further harm down the line, so it's important that you begin recovery as soon as possible.What are the 7 ways to avoid burnout? ›
- Set boundaries.
- Learn to say no.
- Manage your time well.
- Switch up your work environment.
- Practise self-care.
- Seek support.
- Find ways to reduce stress. Share the love.
- practice self-care activities.
- take regular breaks to avoid overwhelming yourself.
- engage in activities that improve the happiness chemicals.
- journaling about both positive and negative thoughts/emotions.
- reward yourself to keep you motivated.
- use positive self-talk.
- Involve others – Whatever you're working, on get others' ideas in addition to your own. ...
- Incorporate relaxation into your daily routine – Whatever that means for you, whether it's taking a coffee break outside, throwing a ball for your dog, or watching a tv show.
Burnout can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and sleeping difficulties. It is important to recognize and treat burnout early, and with psychological counseling and support, most people begin to feel better and recover quickly.What are the three main symptoms of burnout? ›
Its 3 main areas of symptoms include lack of energy and exhaustion, feeling detached, negative or cynical about one's job, and reduced work performance.What are the characteristics of burnout? ›
Burnout is a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.How do you know if you reached burnout? ›
For teachers this may include both emotional and physical exhaustion. Evidence of this may be frustration and irritability, mood swings, impaired concentration, chronic fatigue and insomnia as well as physical symptoms such as increased illness, palpitations, gastrointestinal pain, headaches and dizziness.What are seven symptoms that a body is on its way to burnout? ›
- Insomnia. It's a cruel reality that sometimes, the more worn out you are, the harder it is to sleep. ...
- Apathy. Another sign of burnout could be a change in your enthusiasm levels. ...
- Exhaustion. Perhaps the most telling sign of burnout is exhaustion. ...
- Regular sickness. ...
- Irritability. ...
- Poor performance. ...
Neuroticism. Neuroticism is one of the “big five” higher-order personality traits in the study of psychology. If you dig into the definition, it makes sense that this trait correlates to higher rates of burnout.Does burnout change personality? ›
Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by chronic stress at work or in other areas of life. Burnout can affect your personality traits, which are the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that make you unique.Which personality type is prone to burnout? ›
Being a "Type A" personality (or even just working closely with someone who is) can cause chronic stress, which increases your risk for burnout. If you find yourself being impatient with people and life's minor hassles and having trouble keeping from lashing out at people, you might be a "Type A" personality.