STRESS - BURNOUT
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is a part of life. It is a protective mechanism that allows us to assess danger that produces the fight-or-flight response. When we perceive something as stressful, our brain sends signals that floods our body with chemicals like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine which increases heart rate for instance. It can be a pleasant and an unpleasant experience. Defined as an emotional or physical tension.
When it is positive, or beneficial, it is referred to as Eustress. This will happen for instance when you are looking forward to a special event and have feelings of excitement, fulfillment, satisfaction. This will often be accompanied by feelings of confidence. Sometimes stress can motivate you to perform or focus better. Some researchers have found that some stress can be helpful to strengthen the immune system. One study showed that exposure to moderate stress levels before surgery, recovered faster than those people who experienced low or high levels of stress. This means that some stress is beneficial. And yet at other times, stress can also be overwhelming.
When the stress is negative, it will often be accompanied by feelings of inadequacy, fear, discomfort in the body and mind. We know that with prolonged periods of negative stress we can get ill. Negative stress will be detrimental to our life and can lead to so many ailments. Some people burn out.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE STRESS?
Emotional stress can last for weeks and months. It can weaken the immune system so you get ill more easily. It can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, heart disease, headaches, changes in appetite, inability to concentrate, irritability, anger and so much more.
WHAT IS BURNOUT?
The term ‘Burnout’ was coined by the American psychologist called Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970 ’s. He used it to describe the effects of severe stress and high ideals in the ‘helping’ professions such as doctors and nurses. Nowadays, it is used for anyone, from any field of life. There is no clear consensus as to what ‘Burnout’ actually is, except for the fact that a person reaches a point of exhaustion which can have both physical and mental consequences.
WHY DO WE EXPERIENCE BURN OUT?
- A stressful lifestyle can put someone under extreme pressure to the point that they feel unable to cope.
- Not knowing how to manage one’s time.
- Stress at work can cause physical and mental symptoms.
- A person can feel either under or overworked.
- Continuous conflicts with peers.
- Putting oneself second is also a reason we can experience burnout, by not knowing how to take care of oneself.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT?
There are three principal areas of symptoms that are considered to be signs of burnout
- Exhaustion: physically, mentally and emotionally drained, in pain, exhausted.
- Reduced Performance: Unable to carry out daily tasks whether at work, at home or with family members
- Alienation: Increased level of frustration at work and become increasingly negative, isolated and withdrawn from anything related to work, including colleagues.
BURNOUT & DEPRESSION:
Symptoms of burnout and depression can be somewhat similar. This is why it is important to be assessed by a qualified professional, otherwise, you run the risk of a misdiagnosis which would then lead to a wrongful treatment. The most important differentiating characteristic is that burnout is more specific such as being work-related, whereas depression is broad and affects all areas of life. Feelings of hopelessness or suicidal ideations are not considered typical symptoms of burnout.
IS BURNOUT TREATABLE?
Burnout can be treated through various modalities including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or various stress management strategies. CBT is an evidence-based approach that teaches people to think, behave and feel differently towards stressful provoking situations. The sessions are a learning opportunity to develop improved skills. Mindfulness-based stress therapy has very good results in decreasing stress levels and improving one’s quality of life
The intensive personalized CBT based & Mindfulness program we offer has proven success rates in the treatment of burnout because of its holistic and evidence-based approach.
Our program will provide you with essential strategies that will allow you to cope with life’s uncertainties in a more flexible and adaptable way. Read more about our personalized program for depression.