Burnout – What is it and how can I avoid it?
Category: Health Posted: 26 Feb 2019
Posted: 26 Feb 2019
Often diagnosed but seldom self-assessed, many of London’s best performing urban professionals end up suffering from burnout. The after effects can cause long-term havoc on your career and relationships. Spot the warning signs early to avoid burnout.
What is burnout?
We love pressure. Massage and pressure are of course natural bedfellows. The very best and most requested therapists are usually those skilled in delivering a deep and meaningful force into your body. That’s a kind of weight on your body that can make you feel good, relaxed even.
But not all pressure is good.
Some types of pressure pose a danger to the on going state of our mental health. If work, money or relationship matters constantly cause you stress and anxiety this can, over time, lead to serious mental health issues.
If stresses are left unchecked, the risk of reaching the end of your tether and finding yourself suddenly switched off from the world around you increases dramatically. This ‘switched off’ state is an unhealthy emergency defensive state that your mind takes to avoid any more stress. You can suddenly find yourself detached and incoherent. A mere shadow of your former impressive self. That is often referred to as burnout.
So, is it possible to live a frantic, overachieving urban lifestyle, without burning out?
How to avoid burnout
The key to avoiding burnout is spotting warning signs in time and reacting appropriately. Your body is naturally designed to protect itself. If things are not quite right inside, there will usually be external changes that help signal those internal issues.
One of the most common warning signals for approaching the point of burnout is increasing levels of exhaustion. This can manifest itself physically or mentally. Some people notice they are feeling physically tired in the morning even soon after waking up. Others note mental exhaustion, such as increasing feeling less motivated to deal with things that need to be done.
Overachievers are often highly optimistic personalities. If you begin noticing pessimistic thoughts more often than is usual for you, this can also be a sign that your body is beginning to suffer from burnout.
The internal scepticism and lacklustre attitude towards life that is often associated with burnout, can in itself mean that it is hard for the sufferer to notice and accept their own downward mental progression. By remaining mindful of comments from those around you, especially close friends and family, you can increase your chances of spotting warning signs earlier.
Learn to relax
The key combatting burnout is learning to relax. The next time you feel the tension rising, try one of the following easy to apply techniques that have been proven to calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
Alternated nostril breathing
This simple breathing exercise can help increase oxygen supply into your body and calm your nervous system within just a few minutes. It is often used in yoga to introduce calm and comes from the Indian practice known as Nadi Shodhana.
Sit somewhere comfortable and start by taking a deep breath through both nostrils. Hold your breath for 5 seconds before breathing back out again, through your nostrils.
Then, cover your left nostril with the fleshy part of the tip of your thumb. Breathe in slowly through your right nostril and hold for 5 seconds. Whilst holding your breath, uncover your left nostril and cover your right nostril with the other hand. Then, calmly exhale, through the now unblocked left nostril.
Once you have fully exhaled, slowly breath in through the same left nostril. Once again, hold your breath for 5 seconds during which you block your left nostril and unblock the right. Then breath out again through your right nostril.
It’s as simple as that – alternated nostril breathing. It is important to take slow, deep breaths, but not to exaggerate them to the extent that you feel uncomfortable.
120-minute relaxation massage
If you feel that stress and tension is beginning to build within you to dangerous levels, then an extra long relaxation massage can do wonders to help soothe nerves and reduce tension.
Whilst a 2-hour massage may seem an excessively long duration to those who have not tried it before, it is important to remember that the goal is to create an environment which aids total and utter relaxation, without any time pressures.
A 2-hour massage treatment allows the therapist to focus a significant amount of time on each body part as well as leave some extra time to spend on any particularly problematic areas.
Make sure you dim the lights, turn up the heat and choose some of your favourite relaxation music to help create your very own perfect massage room environment at home.
Just lie back and allow a professional masseuse to apply the kind of pressure that can reduce anxiety from your head down to your toes.
Getting completely caught up with the stresses of your job and professional life commitments can lead to losing sight of the rest of the world around you. Doctors have repeatedly agreed that practicing mindfulness can help stop depression and improve mental wellbeing.
Eat a salad
Many people who are trudging down the dangerous path towards burnout by constantly over-working and focussing on nothing more than their professional life, also eat unhealthily and drink alcohol in excess.
Curb those tendencies and take a positive step to improving your physical and mental wellbeing by ensuring that at least two of your work time lunches each week are nothing more than a healthy salad and a large bottle of mineral water.