We enter Burnout because of the discrepancy between what we want to happen in our life and what happens, day in, day out. For many people, Burnout seems to start from the demands of our work. When there is a vast divide between the professional we want to be, doing the job we chose, in the way we imagined, and what actually happens in real life, then we become emotionally exhausted.
Burnout happens when we get stuck in the Stress Response Cycle.
Working in a job you love, with people you like, is a great end state to aim for. In the meantime, you need to get through today, and tomorrow, and the day after.
Burnout be gone!
As a hard working, self-motivated, intelligent person, you have probably read a lot about Burnout and tried many of the typically recommended stress management strategies. The advice is usually sound, the strategies do work, but then life intervenes and you fall off the wagon – only to discover the Burnout you thought you had left behind has been shadowing your tracks all this time. And it’s ready to pounce as soon as you let your guard down.
Living in a constant state of trying to outrun Burnout and fatigue is not sustainable and will only end up in tears (literally and figuratively). You can’t always make meaningful changes in the external factors which cause you stress; but you can change the way you approach inevitable stressors. Living with stressors is inevitable, but living in stress is not.
The aim in Burnout Recovery is to learn how to live vitally, rather than symptom-free.
Towards Burnout Recovery
Here are three things you need to know about recovering from Burnout:
- Burnout happens when the gap between what you thought it would be like and what your day-to-day reality is, widens beyond your tolerance. It is like entering a never-ending tunnel. Closing the gap means remembering why you went into the tunnel in the first place, not searching for the light at the end.
- Understanding how to move past feeling blocked in managing the stressors in your life is how you get unstuck from stress. Burnout doesn’t come from having stress, but from not understanding how stress works on the psyche.
- Burnout Recovery is about changing your mindset about how stress works, to choose more effective ways of managing your stress.
- Emotional exhaustion comes from not completing the stress response cycle. Our mind and body are designed to tolerate stress, but only if we understand how to get out of the way of the natural rebalancing process. Burnout recovery doesn’t mean doing more, it means understanding the role of stress in your life differently to get better solutions.
Dr Bek is a Burnout Recovery (and Prevention) Coach who helps busy people create workable plans for managing the immutable stressors in their life. She has a special interest in working with professionals in the veterinary, nursing and medical fields.
Rebekah Doley BA(Hons) GradDipPsyPrac MSc(Inv Psy) MJur(Law) MPsy(Clin)/ PhD
Clinical & Forensic Psychologist
Registered Psychologist (AHPRA) | Chartered Psychologist (BPS) | Mediator