I am often hired to speak to executives about prevention and How to Mitigate Burnout. It involves an integrative approach to caring for yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You can learn more on a recent Thrive Global interview about cultivating a lifestyle of well-being in those areas.
Today we're touching on potential remedies while you are in the midst of burnout. Burnout became a medical diagnosis code from the World Health Organization exactly two years ago in May of 2019, well before pandemic burnout was a factor. Often brought about by chronic stress at work, the WHO defines burnout as a syndrome that includes depleted energy, exhaustion, negativity, cynicism and reduced productivity. Does this sound like anyone you know?
When burnout is due to exhaustion, the remedy may be different from when the cause is cynicism. But according to a recent article from Harvard Business Review, a common theme throughout the various remedies for those suffering with the condition, is compassion; compassion for self and for others. Self-compassion or self-care can begin with as little as 10 minutes of breathwork, meditation or prayer. While that may sound a bit 'soft' to some, it is a seemingly small act that replenishes your mental energy. This can be a first step to honoring yourself and your mental state in short time frames throughout the day.
If burnout is a result of cynicism, a focus on others, rather than self, is at least part of the solution. Though reaching out
may be a difficult ask when you are suffering from burnout, focusing on others and investing in relationships with your friends and family can bring a renewed sense of worth and hope. Consider the old adage, depression is when your thoughts are turned inward, the cure for that is to turn your thoughts outward. This maybe easier said than done, but I have faith it is possible, I have been there more than once and reaching out to be a blessing to others uplifts my mood and begins a cycle of healing.
If you are so burnt out that you just want to check out, take a mental health day, spend some time in nature or with a friend that makes you laugh. If you need more than a day, well you can always go on a life-affirming mental health retreat. Whatever you decide, take the first step, your mental and physical health are of the utmost importance. You can choose to break free from the state of burnout. If you need more tips, additional resources or jus to talk, reach out.
Peace and health to you!