Being and feeling burnout is a reaction to chronic stress. Chronic stress leads to an exhausted immune system, hormonal disbalance and a weaker nervous system. We become more vulnerable to all kinds of infections and viruses. We also become vulnerable to emotional infections, we have difficulty filtering mental garbage and negativity, we begin having trouble remembering things and sustaining healthy relationships. Our endorphins hormone, which is responsible for happiness; serotonin hormone, which is responsible for stabilizing our moods; and dopamine hormone, which is responsible for motivation, gets out of balance. Our muscles get tense, blood flow doesn’t circulate optimally, our organs don’t get what they need and it creates grounds for formation of diseases.
When we experience burnout it is a signal that our psyche is unable to cope with stress anymore. It is unable to relax, there is mental and physiological spasm. We start having tunnel vision, are easily irritated, our brain is focused on paying attention to our mistakes, to self-criticism and feeling of worthlessness. As well as giving negative criticism to others and/or feeling indifference. We lose the ability to see possibilities and fall into a trap of negativity.
There could be many reasons for chronic stress, but one important thing is that we take on too many responsibilities on your shoulders. There are a lot of shoulds and not enough wants in our life. Our standards and expectations for self and others are too high and are toxic. It is time to renegotiate our boundaries, to reevaluate our values, priorities and life philosophy.
Winona State University identified five stages of burnout. In the first three stages: going to a café, eating chocolate, spending weekends in nature, doing barbeque or going on vacation can help to get back on track. At these stages it would be helpful to do self-exploration, to find ways to understand your deeper self, your hidden desires, inner conflicts, to shed some outdated beliefs and unrealistic expectations in a non crisis mode. Instead of waiting for a crisis, take preventive steps through a curious journey into self where you can integrate your lost or forgotten parts and create space for new positive experiences.
At the fourth stage, vacation is not helping anymore and some people, if they are wise, are seeking help from a clinical psychologist. If people are not getting any help at this stage, they downfall and get physically sick. This is when people start seeing medical doctors, having serious relationship problems and problems at work. Hopefully at this stage they get mental and spiritual help in addition to medical help. If not, people from this stage move to stage five. At stage five the health, mental and spiritual problems can lead to irreversible consequences. This stage is also hard because often when a person is at this stage he/she already destroyed relationships, burned all the bridges and there are not many people around who can help and support.
It is possible not to hit the wall and go through a crisis if you are mindful of the burnout stages and take appropriate measures to support yourself when you are at the beginning of the burnout journey.
Burnout prevention is very important for anyone, but it is crucial for parents, caretakers, people working with other people such as teachers, doctors, nurses, hairdressers, healers, coaches, sales representatives, nail technicians, etc.
If you want to start or continue a journey for deeper self understanding, greater integration and wholeness, which will improve your relationships, contact me.