Symptoms of burnout affect all of us at some point. Here’s what you can do.
Burnout affects all of us at some point in our lives. However, the pandemic has caused burnout rates to soar for many Americans, with the American Psychological Association (APA) citing that burnout has reached an all-time high across the nation.
Many people get so busy they forget to take a step back and relax between working, taking care of their loved ones, spending time with friends, and managing ever-changing pandemic restrictions and advisories.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a condition resulting from stress in the workplace or at home that hasn’t been managed effectively.
Three symptoms characterize burnout:
Feelings of exhausting or depletion of energy
Increased mental distance from your work or pessimistic/cynical feelings toward your job
Reduced effectiveness at work that is noticeable to yourself or others.
In essence, burnout results from extreme and long-lasting emotional, physical, and mental stress.
While burnout isn’t a medically diagnosed condition, it can severely affect your physical and mental wellbeing if left untreated.
Effects of burnout include:
Feelings of hopelessness
Burnout effectively leaves you feeling exhausted, pessimistic, and resentful toward your job and the people around you. In turn, this can hurt your home, work, and social life, in addition to weakening your immune system.
Thankfully, several treatments can reduce symptoms of burnout and help you return to a more energetic and hopeful version of yourself. From acupuncture to diet to movement and boundaries, below are the top methods for treating burnout when it strikes.
Acupuncture has been used to relieve stress, pain, and anxiety for generations. As such, it comes as no surprise that more and more Americans have turned to this age-old practice to treat symptoms of burnout.
For many Americans, acupuncture is an effective way to find relief from many of burnout’s symptoms, including stomachaches, headaches, weight gain, and muscle pain.
The past 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic have brought pain and heartbreak to millions of Americans. Now, Americans are turning to a practice thousands of years old to find peace and pain relief.
Acupuncture helps your body move into the parasympathetic nervous system mode. This means that your heart and breathing rates slow, your blood pressure decreases, and your digestion improves.
Our bodies have been in fight or flight mode throughout the pandemic, which has caused increased symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Meanwhile, acupuncture releases endorphins which establish greater balance in your mind and body.
It’s easy to let your diet fall to the wayside when you’re feeling overwhelmed. However, blood sugar fluctuations due to poor diet contribute to burnout, resulting in cortisol shifts and energy crashes.
Hallmark signs that you may need to balance your blood sugar include random or intense cravings for sugar coupled with an afternoon energy slump.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, starting your day with a high protein, no added sugar breakfast option like a smoothie with protein powder or eggs with avocado can help you feel more balanced throughout the day. This is because protein has a low glycemic index (GI), which means foods rich in protein have a low impact on blood sugar levels.
Increasing your fiber intake can also help you feel full longer, which helps to reduce your cravings for sugar. Fiber can also lower your risk of developing other health conditions that may be complications of untreated burnout, including heart disease and constipation.
Many people start working out because they feel shame or guilt about their weight or appearance. But by viewing exercise as a punishment, you are compounding your stress, which may leave you feeling worse instead of better.
Joyful movement is an approach to exercise focused on moving your body in a way that feels enjoyable, manageable, and fun for you. This helps to shift your mentality with exercise from something you “need” to do into something you look forward to because it enables you to feel your best.
An increasing body of scientific work shows that exercise-related interventions for burnout are highly effective. Another recent study found that participants had greater positive wellbeing and personal accomplishment after four weeks of exercise, coupled with less psychological distress and emotional exhaustion.
While a lack of healthy boundaries around your work and personal life can create burnout, readjusting your boundaries can help heal your current symptoms and help you feel better in the future.
You might benefit from creating more realistic work expectations for yourself and others. For instance, is it okay for you to log out of your work email on the weekends? Do you find yourself saying “yes” to more projects than you can realistically handle? Are you taking your lunch breaks or consistently working through them?
Healthy boundaries look a little different to everyone, so you may need to try setting a few different kinds to learn which ones work best for you. By implementing healthier boundaries, you can use your breaks to decompress and recharge.
Paying attention to what you can control now and making small changes could be your key to reducing future burnout.
If you are experiencing symptoms of burnout, seeking assistance from a trained medical professional can help. Since symptoms of burnout are similar to those of depression and thyroid issues, it's vital to ensure no other medical condition is causing your symptoms.
A professional can perform a comprehensive exam and diagnosis, which will help you find the best treatment for your symptoms.
Ready to get started? Schedule your appointment here.