ANXIETY AND STRESS
IN PERSON ONE TO ONE and ONLINE SESSIONS
u r n o u t
AND SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT
is a modern term for an old familiar condition relating to certain
areas of life and is composed of emotional, mental and physical
exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
happens when, for a variety of reasons, where we are left feeling
overwhelmed, when we lose both interest and motivation in the
role we were led to take on in life. This leads to a reduction
in energy leaving us feeling increasingly more helpless, hopeless,
cynical , resentful and angry.
day is a bad day
Caring about work and home life seems like a waste of energy
Feelings of being exhausted both mentally and physically most
of the time
Feelings that whatever you do makes no difference and / or is
Naturally such negative thoughts and feelings quickly spill
over in to both home and social life
my work in the area of psycho immunology which focuses on the
mind body interaction I have seen how long term stress causes
long term changes in the body making the body vulnerable to illness
from colds and flu to more intense physical conditions.
So we need to begin putting into
place three key elements:
to be vigilant and watch out for warning
signs of burnout
- work on reversing the damage caused
to date through now working on managing anger, anxiety, stress
and examining the causes of such thoughts and associated feelings
- preparing for reducing future stress
by working on thoughts, actions and
ideas and taking care of both physical and emotional health
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE THEN BETWEEN GENERAL STRESS AND BURNOUT?
is a term used to describe long periods of stress resulting in
withdrawing mentally as well as emotionally. When we are going
through burnout we are left feeling empty with no motivation and
an attitude towards life and living it which is even beyond caring.
Naturally this can lead many people to loose hope of any positive
change in the future.
contrast stress and general anxiety are more about too much pressure
but still the person can still imagine a way forwards.
now let's take a detailed look at the differences between stress
and anxiety and burnout.
Characterized by over-engagement
Charactiersized by dis-engagement
Emotions are over-reactive
Emotions are blunted
There is a sense of urgency and symptoms leading to hyperactive
i.e. thoughts and conversation jumps for idea to idea
and in our behaviour starting one thing and then jumping
to another leaving things uncompleted
Produces powerful feelings of helplessness and of hopelessness
resulting in loss of motivation, ideals and of hope
Loss of energy
Loss of motivation, ideas and hope for the future
Initial stress and anxiety leads to anxiety disorders
- physical tension; post traumatic anxiety; free-floating
Leading to detachment and reactive depression
Primary damage is physical showing signs of tension in
The primary damage is emotional
May kill the person prematurely as a result of stress
that may make life seem not worth living
of the primary causes of burnout
of the time work can be the primary reason for burnout but anyone
who feels both overworked and undervalued is at risk of burnout.
So, from the hard working, under appreciated worker who hasn't
had a holiday or wage increase in years to the stressed mother
struggling with the heavy responsibility of looking after four
children, a part time job and caring for an ageing father the
potential for burnout exists across the board.
burnout is not caused just by stressful work or too many responsibilities.
In my clinical career factors such a personality traits to lifestyle
can cause burnout as much as work or parental demands (follow
this link to see parentified child - relationship rebuilding).
Work Related causes of Burnout
Feeling like you have little or no control over your work.
Lack of recognition or reward for your good work.
Unclear, unrealistic or over demanding job expectations.
Doing work which that is either monotonous or unchallenging.
Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment.
Lifestyle Causes of Burnout
Working too much, without enough time for relaxation and
Being expected either from within yourself or by how people
see and relate to you to offer too much to others at personal
Taking on too many responsibilities without enough help
and support from others.
Not getting enough sleep or having long periods of interrupted
The lack of close and supportive relationships.
Personality Traits which Contribute to Burnout
Having perfectionist tendencies where nothing is ever
seen as good enough.
Holding a pessimistic view of yourself and the world you
The need to always be in control and an inability to delegate
to other people.
A driven, high achieving personality at whatever cost
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
most people burnout is a gradual process which happens over time
which is one of the reasons why it is difficult to detect with
little thought at the time given to the various warning symptoms.
Initially the symptoms appear very subtle but, as time goes on,
they become more and more intense and have a greater effect on
day to day life and attempting to live life in general.
we are going to now look at some of the early warning signs that
something is wrong and what needs to be addressed. In paying attention
to such early warning signs it is possible to prevent a major
burnout. If not then burnout is the next natural stage.
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
Lowered physical immunity leading to having cold after
cold or other physical conditions which follow on from
Frequent headaches, back pain, neck and general muscle
pain and general aching feeling in the body.
Doing work which that is either monotonous or unchallenging.
A powerful change in eating patterns and / or sleep patterns.
Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
A powerful sense of failure leading to increasing feelings
Feelings of both helplessness and of being trapped resulting
in seeing ourselves as defeated.
A powerful feeling of detachment as well as feeling totally
alone in the world.
Loss of motivation with a growing cynical and negative
outlook towards our role in life and for our future.
No sense of satisfaction with what we have achieved so
far or plan to achieve in the future.
Day to Day Behavioural Signs and Symptoms
Withdrawing from responsibilities.
Isolating ourselves from other people and situations.
Procrastinating and taking much longer than usual to get
even the simplest thing done.
Using either food, drugs or alcohol as a way of coping
through creating withdrawal.
Taking our frustration with life out on other people be
this in conversation or how we act towards people in our
Delaying work or taking days off or arriving late and
then leaving work early.
let's look at how we prevent burnout
you are recognising the warning signs of burnout be clear that
it will only get worse if you don't do anything about such symptoms.
I know that it is difficult to become motivated whilst in the
burnout response but that is what our work and my support will
focus on so for now lets look at the steps required to begin getting
your life back into balance.
you have got this far and looked for the online resources to discover
my website and the resources I provide then that shows you are
more than half the way to preventing burnout and moving towards
a full blown breakdown.
YOUR DAY WITH A RELAXING RITUAL
rather than jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up spend some
time, say ten to fifteen minutes reflecting on thoughts, your
thoughts which are there on waking. Sit and write something in
your journal, gently stretch your body or read something that
inspires you. Listen to one of my audio recordings.
A BALANCED DIET, EXERCISE AND TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR SLEEPING HABITS.
food that you enjoy and which feeds what I term the inner child.
Carry out regular physical activity and get plenty of rest so
that you have both the physical and psychological resilience to
deal with both life's problems and daily demands.
with day-to-day pressures the lifestyle we create can take away
certain issues. Don't over extend yourself and learn to say
in turn allows you to say
the things that interest you and you therefore really want to
A DAILY BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY
a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put the laptop
away, turn off the phone and stop checking email and social media.
YOUR CREATIVE SIDE
can't impress how much creativity is a very powerful antidote
to burnout. Try something new, start an interesting project, or
resume a favourite hobby. Choose activities which have nothing
whatsoever to do with work.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS
I have heard this so many times from people in that when they
are on the road to burnout they can't ever imagine managing the
levels of stress they feel and so essentially are telling me how
helpless they feel. Believe me when I say this, 'based on over
thirty five years clinical practice I have seen, time and time
again, how people had much more control over stress than they
originally thought they did.'
will be working together on learning how to manage stress to recreate
balance using some of these core
concepts by your following this link.
Recovery Stage One - SLOW DOWN
you have reached the end stage of burnout, adjusting your attitude
or looking after your physical and mental health isn't going to
just solve the problem. You need to force yourself to slow down
or take a break. Cut back from whatever commitments and activities
you can and give yourself time to rest, reflect and allow the
all important natural healing process we are focusing on to happen.
Do this in the comfort of your home so that you adjust to normal
life where you restructure all of the various component parts
which make up your home.
relationships have come under strain then you can learn
more about how we can work together in terms of rebuilding a relationship
by following this link
Recovery Stage Two - GET SUPPORT
me when I say it is quite natural when you are feeling close to
burnout to react by protecting what little energy you have left
by seeking isolation from people, situations and events. However
in reality the support of either family or close friends is of
crucial importance to you. Turn to those you both love and trust
for support in addition to our one to one work together.
will be surprised how nearly everyone I have worked with tells
me how simply sharing your feelings with another person can immediately
relieve some of the stressful feelings. Especially when they turn
around and,what I term 'normalise' your feelings by sharing how
they have thought, felt and reacted in the self same way at some
point in their life!
see talking with friends or family isn't about you and them finding
an immediate solution or a quick fix but rather it is more about
sharing and in that sharing going back to basics or as I mentioned
earlier normalising they way you are feeling and are reacting
at this time.
Forget the ideas which are common in Western society that opening
up about feelings will create a burden on other people. No infact,
as I have said time and time again, your friend will feel how
important you are in their life and so strengthen your friendship.
After all you never know when they are going to need you in the
self same way.
Recovery Stage Three -
- EVALUATE YOUR GOALS AND YOUR PRIORITIES
is a sign that something important in your life right now is not
working. So let us explore what your hopes, goals and dreams were
really founded on. Are you neglecting something that is truly
important to you ? If so then burnout can be that opportunity
for you re-discover what really makes you feel happy and whole
and be that all important powerful ENABLER to help you change
Recovering from Burnout and Acknowledging
Burnout brings with it many losses,
which can often go unrecognised which traps a lot of mental
and physical energy. Why? Because I have seen how it takes
a tremendous amount of pain and emotional control to keep
yourself from feeling the pain of such loss.
when you open yourself up to recognising these losses
and allows yourself to effectively grieve for them you
release that trapped emotional and physical energy towards
balance and expansion.
common feeling and thoughts from my work include the loss
Idealism or dream with which you entered your career,
relationship, journey in life.
The role or identity which originally came with your job,
career or journey in life.
The powerful physical and emotional energy you felt.
Friendships, fun and a sense of community along with the
self esteem and sense of identity life provided.
Engaging in the joy, meaning and purpose that make work
and life worthwhile.