Collin County Living Well Magazine November/December 2017 - Page 36

Getting and Staying Free From Burnout By Rachele Slotman “B urnout” is the worst night- mare of everyone. The unrelenting, breakneck pace of modern Ameri- can life means that burn- out is a potential threat for everyone. But what can a person do? You have to go to work to provide for your family and/or take care of all the things that happen at home and with family and friends. It can feel like you have no oth- er options. But take heart. If you know what burnout is and how to treat it, you can move toward a healthier lifestyle. What is burnout? Burnout is the result of ongoing stress and demands creating an unstable, lethargic and exhausted frame of mind. People with burnout are usually over-achieving, hard work- ers that take on unreasonable amounts of responsibility (whether at work, at home or both), overcommit and give all of themselves to the point that they are frazzled, angry, tired, passionless, de- pressed and unable to function normally due to sheer exhaustion. What are the physical signs of burnout? Most of these symptoms will be less se- vere the earlier you are in the burnout mode and will worsen the longer the burnout goes untreated. Some of the symptoms include: • Chronic fatigue. Because the body and mind have been under stress non- stop, the person with burnout will feel a constant, clinging sense of tiredness— with a distinct sense of foreboding and dread of the smallest things in latter 34 stages. • Insomnia. Stress keeps your body awake because of various chemicals that keep your brain from “shutting down.” While this might affect you only a few nights a week in the early stages, it becomes chronic in the latter ones, where you cannot sleep at all despite being exhausted. • Various physical problems. These include chest pain, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal pain. • Frequent illness. Your immune system is shot, so expect to have more colds, flus and infections. • Anxiety and depression. What begins as initial worry and preoccupation and mild sadness will blossom into obses- sive, uncontrolled anxiety preventing you from doing normal work and rela- tionships, and to a deep, immobilizing depression and hopelessness. • Regular forgetfulness and inability to concentrate. While these symptoms may be mild in the early stages of burn- out, they only increase as time goes on. You’ll eventually find yourself unable to focus and unable to get much done. • Diminished appetite. You may begin to lose weight due to skipping meals. Your interest in food wanes and you care less and less about eating. • Anger. Everyone experiences anger from time to time, but with burnout it is more present than normal. It may start as little tiffs or minor irritations, but over time it grows until it becomes uncontrol- lable. • Inability to enjoy life. With depression and exhaustion comes an inability to enjoy life. The hobbies that once held your attention seem bland and boring. You have difficulty knowing what to do COLLIN COUNTY Living Well Magazine | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 with yourself and don’t feel interested in much at all. How can burnout be treated? Involve your primary care physician as they can be of invaluable help with diagnosis, evaluation and treatment. Because burnout is a stress-related dis- order, the only way for it to be com- pletely solved is to dramatically reduce the amounts of stress in your life. The simplest way to start is to take an inventory of your life and circumstances (ask for help from a friend or relative if you have trouble doing this). Look at every part of your life and write down all of the things that are causing you stress. Too many deadlines at work? Too much volunteering? A difficult romantic rela- tionship? Leave nothing out! Then, try to think of one thing you can do in each area to re- duce the stress. Sometimes this one thing will remove the stress entirely in that area. Other times, i Ёݥɕ)ɕٔЁ՝ͼԁ)ѡȁͥѡЁݥɕՍЁȴ)ѡȰѡѡȁͼ )ѡхЁѡ́ԁЁѡ)ͽѡĤȤ)ѥٕٔӊé͵չ)ѱ́ݥյձєѼٔ)ɕѡ䁅ɔ̴ͥ)ѕѱQѡ́́ᅍѱ䁡܁ԁ)ɹЁѡЁ)%Ёٕ́ͥѼɕٕȁɽ)ɹЁݡɕȁȴ)ɕЁ%ӊéхЁѼչ͍ɔ)ѡЁ́ݽѠȁх