Observe what is going on for you
Practice responding and not reacting
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness in the workplace, and by chronic negative responses to stressful workplace conditions. While not considered a mental illness, burnout can be considered a mental health issue. If you sense that you are experiencing a burnout it is advised to first speak with a medical doctor, and then request a referral to a licensed mental health professional. These medical professionals will recommend differing support strategies that may include referral to a behaviourist, or behavioural coach, such as me. I only take clients on my burnout programme upon referral from a licensed medical professional.
The practical information….
I understand the feeling of burnout. I was almost there a number of years ago. A solo mother, parenting ASD, running a business, completing post-graduate studies etc. Suddenly everything felt dull and overwhelming in my mind and body. Thankfully I had some excellent medical professionals and trusted colleagues to guide me. However, I was very astonished by the lack of behavioural support for people after a clinical intervention. You get the multivitamins, are told to rest, and maybe explore your behaviour and beliefs. Yet, unless you require significant mental health intervention, you do not have the opportunity to fully understand your journey to burnout. A journey which might have many pitstops, wrong turns, and rocky roads on the way. A journey which is off-grid and leaves you feeling lost and without direction. A journey that is at a sudden stop with no clear directions, or fuel, to go forward. My own journey began by learning to take that stop to fully STOP! Learning the importance of taking time to take a step back from life and to breathe as I observed what was going on in my mind and body, and also in my world around me. From that I learned to craft a new road map for a fresh journey. Whilst the application of my map is particular to me, the design and structure are based on behavioural science approaches such as MBSR, CBT, and Eriksonian hypnotherapy.
I have a particular behavioural change approach to addressing burnout symptoms with clients. In simple language I call it ‘Learning to be self-full’. In other words, prioritizing your identified needs before you prioritize the needs of others. Like on an airplane when the staff tell you to put on your own life-vest first before helping those around you. Often burnout comes from being ‘self-less’ and prioritizing family, friends, or work. Eventually you begin to resent their ‘selfishness’ because you lose perspective and run on an ever-depleting battery. My programme works to develop a mindset that focuses on replenishing your own battery first so that you have some energy to then give elsewhere. My twelve-week programme is designed to help the client understand how to recharge their batteries and learn the behaviour of going from that feeling of dullness to the energy of brilliance.
Here comes the science bit….
The scientific structure of my approach is called: Subjective Reciprocal Altruism©.
Reciprocal Altruism is a term used in evolutionary psychology to explain the evolution of behaviour benefitting others (altruism), and where the altruist benefits directly. In my work with clients who are experiencing challenges in their personal or professional lives, I support them to evolve their mindset and behaviour to prioritise intrinsic benefit, with extrinsic benefit a secondary priority.