Health and Wellness

Burnout: The Modern-day Boogeyman and How to Outrun It

Feeling crispy at the edges? Has your energy diminished significantly? Could Burnout be lurking nearby?

What Is Burnout? 

Burnout can be described as work’s relentless adversary that doesn’t know its limits, bringing with it feelings of exhaustion that persist despite coffee consumption or brief power naps. Burnout is caused by prolonged stress that causes fatigue to set in; leading to decreased efficiency at work as a result and leading to feelings of helplessness about one’s job and an inability to focus on tasks at hand.


The Burnout Triad: Stages of Burnout

Stage 1: The Superman Syndrome 

We all remember Clark Kent transforming into Superman-doffing his glasses, loosening that tie, revealing the “S” on his chest and being ready to save the world from disaster after disaster. Burnout’s initial stage can feel similar: you feel invincible while taking on too much work at once without taking breaks or listening to any inner voices telling you “Hey even Superman needs a day off!”. Similarly, burnout’s initial stage often involves an unceasing desire to prove oneself; this often results in neglect of personal needs or health. Unfortunately unlike Superman though, your powers won’t get replenished by Earth’s yellow sun.


Stage 2: Putting on an “I’m Fine” Facade

So you’ve been getting through tasks successfully but now find yourself just powering through them with little gusto. Your superhero costume remains, though its “S” emblem begins to wear away with each passing day; yet you still say yes to everything but with less gusto. Your mind tells you you’re fine, yet cracks are beginning to show and anxiety levels have skyrocketed. The idea of taking a vacation seems foreign and faraway from your reach. Your sleep has become as unpredictable as a feline on caffeine, and you feel powerless to relax. Work is all-consuming;

keeping up with tasks feels like playing Whac-A-Mole in an endless loop. At this stage, physical symptoms include tiredness, forgetfulness, and a weakened immune system, in addition to feelings of pressure and urgency. Unfortunately, this stage may last a while with you stuck in denial – much like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff before falling.


Stage 3: Emotional Dead End

We now enter Stage 3, the emotional dead end. Your superhero cape has now turned into an overwhelming weight of exhaustion and burnout is real: feeling exhausted is now the norm and your energy reserves could easily be outpaced by even a sleeping sloth! Your motivation has dissipated, you feel chronic fatigued, and the simple tasks required of you feel like scaling Mount Everest without oxygen tanks. Work-life balance no longer seems relevant – or worse! Physical symptoms increase, including headaches, insomnia and digestive problems. Meanwhile, emotional symptoms manifest themselves more frequently; you feel detached and distant while also feeling cynical and your mood shifts more frequently than a pancake on Shrove Tuesday. You are at the end of your tether; at risk of falling over an edge dangling over precipice; like Wile E. Coyote but without an Acme parachute for safety!


Burnout Can Be Hazardous

Burnout is like a termite eating away at your health like an erosional process. It increases risk factors like heart disease and depression while impacting mental wellbeing, leading to anxiety and depression – not to mention what havoc it wreaks on professional lives and relationships.

Beating Burnout: Your Survival Guide

Recharge, Recalibrate, Reclaim: Your Three ‘R’s to Overcoming Burnout

Firstly, here’s your three-step dance move for busting out of burnout:

  • Recharge: Just like any vehicle needs the proper fuel to function at its best, so too should your body need proper rest, nutrition and downtime in order to run optimally. Make sleep a top priority, maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fiber-rich foods and take breaks when necessary – we are not machine-like energy machines! Don’t forget you are human too – take time out to do things you enjoy like running, reading a book or binge watching Netflix series that you have had your eye on – these activities will improve both body and mind alike! This practice is vitally necessary – don’t overlook its importance!
  • Recalibrate: Now is the time to reassess your workload and set healthy boundaries between work and personal life. Don’t let work interfere with downtime – keep them distinct!
  • Reclaim: Take charge and regain control over your life! Establish stress-management techniques – such as yoga, deep breathing or meditation. Seek professional assistance as necessary and seek what makes you feel alive, energized, and inspired – always remembering you’re the boss of your own life!

Burnout doesn’t have to be permanent; it’s simply a wake-up call that reminds us to slow down, take a breather and put ourselves first. Rethinking your relationship with work might seem intimidating at first, but doing so could be essential in creating a happier and healthier you. Therefore, attack burnout head-on while adhering to the mantra “Recharge, Recalibrate, Reclaim”.


Outpatient Rehab as Your Ally in Combating Burnout 

Sometimes even with all of our best attempts at self-help strategies in place, burnout can feel insurmountable. That’s when Real Deal outpatient rehab might step in as your ally in this struggle. Think of this program as an intensive and targeted bootcamp designed to protect you from burnout while meeting the daily challenges in life. Under guidance from professionals, you’ll learn to recognize stressors, develop coping strategies, and build resilience. At outpatient rehab, you’ll also have an opportunity to meet others navigating burnout, providing mutual support and understanding. Seeking help doesn’t signify weakness but strength – so put on your cape of courage and step into recovery’s dance! Recovery doesn’t mean being broken; rather it means growing stronger.

Burnout Isn’t an Inevitable Rite of Passage

Burnout shouldn’t be treated as inevitable; rather, it should be seen as a signal that something needs to change in your body or mind. Tune into what’s happening within yourself – your worth doesn’t lie solely within what productivity gains can do for you – take care to remember what matters: this too shall pass.

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