Should I seek help for burnout?
Burnout is very topical at the moment and rightly so: research suggests about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout due to stressful jobs and It has also been reported that burnout is beginning to be considered as a genuine medical condition. In fact, burnout now appears in the World Health Organization’s handbook (that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases) and according to the International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, should be diagnosed if sufferers are experiencing high levels of exhaustion, loss of concentration and anxiety. Although more work needs to be done in classifying and diagnosing symptoms of burnout, it is a significant breakthrough for people struggling to balance their work-life balance without a significant impact on their mental health.
So what are the risk factors associated with burnout and how do you know when you should seek help for them?
Most people assume burnout is the result of working too hard in a high pressured environment, and whilst it is true busy workloads make people more susceptible to burnout, it isn’t the only cause. Several factors can lead people to feel out of their depth, alienated and emotional at work (all common symptoms of burnout.) Take communication as an example. Those who don’t feel supported in their roles, who aren’t able to speak up or have unrealistic expectations placed upon them are more likely to experience burnout as they don’t have the support in place to ask when they need help. Similarly, it can be exhausting just having to manage expectations, handle a role and deal with difficult colleagues before you even take into account the requirements of the job role. Those experiencing burnout often report feeling overwhelmed and feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Time pressure is a huge factor and is why careers such as doctors and paramedics, which have regular long shift patterns, are more likely to experience it: they simply don’t have the time to switch off and unwind.
When should you seek help?
First, try these small changes to your daily routine and see if they help your symptoms. Simple steps such as doing something you enjoy outside of work can help- it could be going for a coffee with a friend you need to catch up with, or going for a half-hour walk in the park. It is important to make time to not only switch off but also find joy in everyday things that can be forgotten with the burden of work. It is also key to try and identify the cause of your burnout: do you need to speak to management about taking on another member of staff to reduce your workload? Or is it possible to work from home one day a week to reduce your commute? Although it may be difficult to ask to speak to your manager, set boundaries you are comfortable with for your job role. Saying no or turning down additional work if needed often helps people manage their symptoms more efficiently.
If you have tried these steps and are still struggling: don’t be afraid to ask for help. As mentioned earlier, more professionals now understand the severity of burnout and the importance of finding the right treatment. Keeping your emotions bottled up will only make everything worse and limit opportunities for recovery. The good news is that burnout can be treated successfully. The Choices Personalized Program in a retreat held in Bali, uses a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and various stress management strategies to help people think, behave and feel differently towards stressful provoking situations. By developing improved coping skills and learning a mindfulness-based stress therapy, results have demonstrated decreased stress levels and improvement in burnout related symptoms.
If you would like to find out more about our intensive personalized CBT based & Mindfulness program, and how the treatment has proved successful in treating burnout, visit our website here: