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Can Burnout be prevented or treated?

Me Time for Burnout Management

Sometime back I had asked visitors to this blog if they thought they were heading for a burnout and had given some indicators as well as suggested trying out The Karmic Ally Coaching Experience Burnout Self-Test.

That post http://karmicallycoaching.com/are-you-on-course-for-a-burnout/   also looked at some of the triggers of burnout for professionals and the danger of burnout consequences spilling into one’s private life impacting their relationships with family, friends and loved ones.

Today I am going to begin to address a question that I was recently asked. – Can burnout be prevented or treated?

I would say, yes, burnout can be prevented and treated if required. It is easy to confuse stress and burnout as they have many common characteristics.

The key difference is that burnout often takes place over a longer period of time and seems to affect those professionals who were once fired up about their work and enjoyed the adrenalin rush with full engines on but now find their attitude towards work has changed or have become disillusioned with the workplace which in turn affects their performance.

 

Are You Suffering from Severe Stress or Burnout?

 

If you are not sure, I encourage you to download The Karmic Ally Coaching Burnout Self Test and do a quick check. Test time is less than 4 minutes and you can begin to take action right away with some quick tips in this post.

 

Karmic Ally Coaching Burnout Self Test

 

 

What you can do today to prevent burnout

 

The first step towards preventing or treating burnout begins with getting familiar with the symptoms and if possible, identifying the possible cause. Preventive strategies and techniques used for stress management work for burnout management as well and if you already know some stress management techniques, do use them if you feel that you are heading for a burnout.

A point that I would like to mention is that burnout is a physical and psychological response that is connected to feelings you begin to have about a work or life situation. Hence it is imperative to address the mind as well as the body when treating burnout. In this post, we’ll address Mind Management.

One of the first things I would suggest is to schedule in an hour of “Me Time” into your daily routine.  It may feel like a lot of time which a stressed out person would prefer to put to get the job done, but this 1 action can make a world of difference. That 1 hour is when you do what you want to do. It could be tinkering under the bonnet of your car, pottering around the house, cleaning up your desk, reading a book, going to the gym – it’s YOUR time and your wishes take precedence over all else.

Your personality type also affects your predisposition to develop burnout. So a person who has a strong need for approval, a low level of assertiveness, a perfectionist or who prides himself as a people-oriented professional would be more likely to develop burnout than a task-focused. The key to burnout management here is to understand yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, recognize your behavioral patterns and stress triggers and then choose the methods with which you intend to manage your daily stress. Asking for help from a professional, a trusted colleague or even your mentor should not be ruled out.

Invest in developing skills that help you in dealing with stress. This includes meditation, muscle relaxation techniques and positive self-talk to name a few.

We keep talking about effective time management for managing stress but this does not mean cramming each living minute into productive work, it means taking time out to rest. Burnout management requires taking back control over your work and home life and clearly demarcating the time between them. In other words, no bringing work back home in the evenings!

As I had mentioned earlier in this post, burnout happens to previously driven professionals who find themselves disillusioned by the very work that once inspired them. It’s great to achieve goals and show the world what you are made of but it also helps to step back and do a reality check. Are your goals realistic?  Are they taking you in the direction that you want your life to go or have they become tick marks on a Life To Do List?

If these questions made you stop and think, then I urge you to rethink your goals. The best goals are those that are personally meaningful. Once your goals match this criterion, divide them into short and long-term goals and then plan to achieve them in a practical manner. Revisit your goals from time to time to see if they still fit the person you are growing into. If yes, soldier on, if not, drop them and find new goals that motivate and inspire you but don’t create stress.  Your goals should encourage you with a genuine sense of purpose, not a one-upmanship or professional rivalry.

 

 Your Takeaway

 

To recap, the 5 things you can do as part of your mind management for avoiding burnout are

–    Scheduling Daily Me Time

–    Understanding your personality, strengths & weaknesses, triggers

–    Investing in learning coping skills

–    Time management that builds in demarcation between work and home

–    Setting personally meaningful and realistic goals

 Even if you incorporate 1 or 2 of the above tips into your burnout management strategy, you will notice a difference in yourself. Sometimes the change is subtle but those around you will pick it up since they are at the receiving end of your behavior.

These are my suggestions for strengthening your mind as part of a burnout management strategy.

 

Are there any other actions that you have taken to manage the same? I’d really love to hear from you in the comments box below.

 

PS. If you feel that you might be heading for burnout, do take the Burnout Self Test – it will provide some clarity for planning your next step in the right direction.

 

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20 Responses to “Can Burnout be prevented or treated?”

  1. I saw a lot of burnout when I worked for a government agency, a Dept of Labor. Many employees lost their passion for the job for different reasons and trudged on daily. The public suffered. So I would add that one could get in touch with the reasons one chose a profession and try to recapture the personal satisfaction despite obstacles surrounding your day to day. That is what I did. I focused on my clients, not my agency.
    An important post Vatsula.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you Roslyn. Pegging our satisfaction to a higher and better cause like the clients who needed you to turn up for them everyday is one way to keep the dissatisfaction at bay until one has a chance to understand the real reason for the high stress levels and potential burnout and then do something constructive for us from a place of crystal clear clarity.

  2. This is a great article Vatsala, as I see more and more people who are dealing with unprecedented stress in their lives and are not managing the stress and are ultimately burning themselves out by not addressing it. In some ways it is the nature of the “modern” day world we are creating. For me, really acknowledging and working from my personal strengths makes a huge difference. I work a lot from inspiration and intuition and this is generally not the way the business world operates. I also need to be creating and mundane repeated tasks, actually drain me. I think you are offering a great opportunity for people to stop and take stock of their lives, by objectively observing what makes them thrive and what makes them stressed. Appreciate your commitment to helping others to live their lives from a place of ease.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Beverley. I’ve experienced the highs and nadir points that working in today’s corporate world creates and honestly, if it was not for my reliance on my intuition and metaphysical practices, the stress would have lead to burnout. Objectivity is a precious gift and if I am able to make a difference in the life of a fellow corporate professional, then the core purpose of The Karmic Ally Coaching Experience will be achieved. As one of my former colleagues used to say, the work will be there tomorrow, take the rest of the evening off for the family.

  3. I work in the health care professional and unfortunately stress and burn out are too common. I am also part owner of a private counseling practice. I learned that I absorb a lot of energy and it is iimportant for me to disconnect from work when I am not meeting with clients. I was very close to “burn out” before my most recent vacation about a month ago.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank God for the vacation, Sharise. I gather that you are an empath too which means it is important to disconnect from work when away from your clients and practice self-care techniques suited to your lifestyle and preferences.

  4. Tamuria says:

    That was an important post Vatsala. Knowing that you can prevent burn out if you recognise the signs in time is powerful. Your strategies for coping are truly helpful. I instinctively do some but struggle with others – my goals are often unrealistic for example. Thank you for the helpful information.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you, Tamuria. Recognizing the signs of stress build up is half the battle towards creating an effective stress management program for oneself and for perhaps breaking down what appear to be unrealistic goals into smaller realistic ones or even changing the goal to make sure that it is achievable or tweaking it for assured success.

  5. So glad you discussed the difference between stress and burnout. Clearly untreated stress will lead to burnout. Personally speaking, people often looked at how busy my life has always been & thought it was stressful. Maybe because I had to fight my way into college & support myself, I learned to manage the time I had and always looked to see how to make things work out. With that approach, it never felt stressful. Brought it forward as I worked full time in a career & p/t for hubby, raised 2 kids, etc. I love living life to the fullest & believe you just enlarge your plate when necessary. Take care of yourself as you do this cause you are #1, then comes the rest.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you Roslyn, for pointing out that untreated stress can lead to burnout. One can have a full life with activities and yet, as you point out, manage without getting stressed out with the support of an effective time management and making self-care a priority.

  6. Lesa says:

    My boyfriend is an engineer and his last job stressed him out so much that it affected our relationship on a daily basis. After several years, I finally got him to start getting massages, which helped, but didn’t keep him from reaching burnout. He has a new job now that isn’t nearly as stressful, but there are still days when his stress becomes my burden. I’ve repeatedly told him he needs to figure out a few activities he can do on an as-needed basis that will help him relieve his stress when he’s had a particularly challenging day, since he can’t just go have a massage. Really, what it comes down to is he still doesn’t fully grasp how his stress affects both me and our relationship. It’s our duty to our loved ones to deal with our stress in healthy ways, so they aren’t the ones paying for our choices.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      The person who is in the throes of the stress crisis usually doesn’t realize the effect that they are having on others, whether at work or at home, Lesa until there is a health crisis that compels them to take a step back and reconsider their lifestyle or the loved ones take a decision and they have to wake up and smell the coffee. Part of the problem is the corporate work lifestyle and the technological advances that have taken place. 2 decades ago, one did not have a Blackberry or Smartphone to receive emails and the office work did not extend into the home territory. It is up to us to draw a line and decide whether we are willing to work under pressure for a specific deadline or be in a perpetual stressed state and ultimately burnout.

  7. What a very important post on how burnout can be treated, Vatsala 🙂 It is also a good thing that you listed the differences between stress and burnout. So many people get so burned out on just daily activities. Stress is a big factor as well in how we deal with those things that cause us to burn out 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You’ve made my day, Joan. 🙂 When daily activities start to overwhelm us, then that is a sure sign that we are heading for a burnout. The best way to find out is to try The Karmic Ally Coaching Burnout Self Test and consider the recommendations provided.

  8. Kaz says:

    Great tips Vatsala! In my opinion, as you said, “me time” is very important! We can’t just work hard continuously. “Me time” is like a reward, so it’s important to have small goals as well 🙂 As I said, the other tips are also great! Many people can get benefits from reading your blog post. Thanks!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for appreciating my efforts to raise awareness about ‘Me Time” Kaz. Those goals may seem small but can have a big impact in making sure that we have the energy to achieve the bigger goals.

  9. So important to prevent stress and burnout before it affects you inevitably, Vatsala! I schedule ME time every day but I find out I don’t always respect it.

    I need to get better at this because I know it’s true that I am happier and way more productive when I do (after “wasting” that 1-hour as you perfectly said).

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Realization of the challenge is the first step to resolving it Delia. If that 1 hour of ME Time is not possible, try baby steps with 10 minutes and build up to the 1 hour. Best of luck!

  10. I struggle with giving myself enough “me” time, and so I get stressed out because I don’t have time to just decompress! Time management is an issue too; I’ve been trying a few new techniques to improve it lately – such as forcing myself to stick to a to-do list!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      We all suffer from putting ‘Me’ time low in our daily priority list, Natalie and the only way to make it work is to put it as the first point in your daily To Do List. A refreshed and energetic person stays on top of time issues, especially if there is work pressure and little children in the equation. 🙂

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Meet your coach
I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.   

 Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust. 

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who've hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with  customized strategies and tactics that work.

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

 

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

 
I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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