Hands up if you feel drained, exasperated or emotionally exhausted – you could be suffering from emotional burnout.
It’s a state where you feel worn out mentally because of the stress of a situation in your personal life.
And considering the emotional roller-coaster we’ve all just navigated in lockdown, it’s no wonder.
Key burnout symptoms include chronic stress; low motivation and energy; physical, mental and emotional exhaustion; poor concentration and focus; difficulty sleeping and a loss of compassion.
If you’re feeling just a few of these, you are not alone.
A survey for herbal remedy Kalms Rhodiola revealed 87% of Brits experienced burnout symptoms in the last 12 months, with 71% of parents of children under 16 affected, and 68% of women.
Of course, the pandemic has brought with it added financial pressures, lack of control in our everyday lives, poor work-life balance, home schooling and an uncertainty about the future.
In 2019, burnout was described by the World Health Organisation as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ brought on by chronic workplace stress.
Today, we see more emphasis on the implications of burnout in our personal lives. ‘It’s all thanks to the corona-coaster,’ says Selina Barker, a career coach and author of Burnt Out: The Exhausted Person’s Guide To Thriving In A Fast-Paced World.
‘It’s the emotional impact of having to deal with heavy emotions over the last year. The uncertainty, the fear, getting to grips with home schooling and working at home, not seeing family… all these heavy emotions massively drain your energy.
‘You keep yourself going with adrenaline, but by lockdown three, we were emotionally bankrupt.
‘Now restrictions are lifting and you feel like you can relax again, that’s when burnout really kicks in… it’s your body’s way of signalling there is an energy crisis taking place and something has to change.’
A survey on emotional burnout by Self Space therapy service found 84% of us still feel exhausted after a good night’s sleep, while 81% feel more emotional and 78% feel disconnected from things that bring them joy.
‘Those who tend to suffer from emotional burnout are the over-givers, the people in caring professions and anyone looking after other people’s needs,’ says Selina.
‘We used to be able to switch between our parent/employee hats thanks to different clothes and a commute, but now it’s all under one roof we’re often having to switch multiple times throughout the day and it’s exhausting.
‘It takes a huge amount of effort and it can panic us, which causes stress. Another thing that’s massively draining is living in a constant state of fight or flight.
‘Many people have lived like this for a long time now and it’s these prolonged periods of stress that lead to burnout.’
But if you think returning to the workplace might help, global research
by business communication platform Slack reveals only 12% of us want to go back into the office full-time, while 72% want a hybrid remote-office model.
‘Going back to an open-plan office full of distraction, over-stimulation and noise, plus not having flexible working hours, etc, is all going to contribute to being in that fight-or-flight state again and eventually burning out,’ says Selina.
Thankfully, she adds: ‘By identifying what’s causing you to burn out and learning how to manage your energy and design your day so you can thrive, you can break free and become more energised, calmer and more fulfilled than ever before.’
How to tackle burnout
You don’t recover from burnout overnight and sometimes it requires making big life changes to feel the benefits, but Selina says there are lots of simple things you can do to help you recover.
Here are her top three to get you started:
1. Reclaim your energy
‘Learn how to design your day so that you feel energised, calm and focused throughout.
‘Start the day with something that energises you, this could be meditation, breathing, exercise, a walk, or dancing around your bedroom. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to wake up your body.
‘Then ensure you take a short break every 90 minutes to recharge your batteries. And do something to relax at night.’
2. Factor in some exercise
‘Whether it’s a daily walk round the block or a 30-minute HIIT class, exercise comes in all shapes and sizes.
‘Any kind of movement releases stress, gets the feel-good hormones flooding through your body and helps with anxiety and depression.
‘We’re so caught up with exercise for losing weight, but if you are feeling physically, mentally or emotionally drained, moving can act as a restorative activity.’
3. Turn up your inner cheerleader
‘One of the things that can cause you lots of stress is your own inner-shi**y committee. If you have that turned up loud, making you feel unworthy 24/7, that alone can burn you out.
‘The key is to turn down your inner critic and turn up your inner cheerleader. Not only will it help protect you from burning out, but it will make you much happier in general.’
Selina is working with the Kalms brand to launch its new Rhodiola traditional herbal remedy to fight the effects of burnout. Visit the website here.
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