When we hear about someone experiencing “burnout” we usually think of a person working too many hours on one or more jobs, sometimes with little pay. It is true that 25% of workers show symptoms of burnout… But burnout can occur in any situation where output is more than what you receive in return. Burnout is a state of fatigue or frustration brought about by a commitment to a cause, a way of life, or a relationship that fails to produce the expected result or reward. Burnout can occur when you put too much pressure on yourself to succeed, do too much by yourself, have conflicting responsibilities, and when what you do isn’t enjoyable anymore.
Such was the case with Jane, a 49-year-old woman who came to see me for an intuitive consult because she felt stuck. She was told that she had a hormonal imbalance. She worked as an ER nurse and did what she was supposed to do and more, following correct medical procedures and being helpful with patients in distress. But she felt that she no longer had the energy to care about them as she used to. Jane’s symptoms included herpes outbreaks, irregular bleeding, sleeping difficulties, lack of concentration, fatigue, crying for no reason, a feeling of isolation, and lowered productivity at work.
During the intuitive consult it was clear that Jane was on the verge of a burnout. She grew up in an abusive household and had no sense of self-worth and not knowing how to say NO. It took some times giving her homework and doing follow-up consult over the phone but eventually her symptoms subsided and she is enjoying a good life. Whenever she starts to experience any of the symptoms, she knows that she is going back to her old patterns and have to get back on track.
Some of the homework that Jane and many women like her I have worked with had to do:
- Learn to say NO. Stop over-nurturing. Learn to value your time as much as you value others. There is a tendency for women to put themselves last on their priority list. This is also a problem for men, as they have a tendency not to talk about their problems and ignore signals that something is distressing them. Learn to say no if you are asked to do something that “doesn’t feel right.” This is part of honoring yourself. At first it can be difficult, but with practice, it becomes easier and easier.
- Examine and diminish intensity and conflict in other areas in your life that are causing stress.
- Pace yourself: Evaluate the demands placed on you and see how they fit with your goals. If you are over-involved, reduce the commitments.
- Stay away from those people who demand too much emotional energy. Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends.
- If you have too much responsibility, delegate, find or hire help.
- Consider looking for another job, regardless of how important you feel this job is.
- Learn stress management skills.
- Get more sleep and rest whenever you feel you need to, in order to maintain your energy level.
- Make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet.
- Stay physically active and get adequate regular aerobic exercise. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress.
- Develop alternative activities such as a relaxing hobby. Having a hobby – and I mean a healthy one – is enriching and keeps your mind and your life balanced. Take a class, learn to play an instrument, just do whatever it is that you’ve “put on the back burner until later when blah, blah, blah….”
- Don’t take life too seriously. Very few people suffer burnout when they’re having fun and laugh often.