Psychologist, trainer, expert in the psychology of communication, who studies the impact of empathy and emotional intelligence on psychological well-being and close relationships, knows how to effectively deal with emotional burnout. After going through burnout, she organized an anti-burnout program through mindfulness practices.
Are you so tired that it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning? Does your work day seem endless? And what was pleasing before now does not cause any feelings?
Due to the prolonged stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all of us have exhausted our emotional reserves. When stress continues constantly, our nervous system cannot withstand it, and burnout occurs – severe psychological and physical exhaustion. Its consequences affect all areas of life – health, family, work and social relationships.
Burnout most often occurs among people whose activities are related to constant communication or care of others, with work in a constant tense rhythm, with a heavy workload in the absence of positive support or reward. Emotional burnout is experienced by kind, empathetic people who treat others with compassion, and people who are very responsible about their work, trying to do everything perfectly.
How to define burnout? The first sign is the feeling that you are very tired both emotionally and physically, and the fatigue does not go away even if you slept for 12 hours all weekend. The second sign is lack of interest and indifference. You are not inspired by new projects, you do not look forward to a party with friends, even stroking your favorite cat does not become so pleasant. And the third is the feeling that you cannot engage and be effective.
To understand how to avoid burnout, you need to understand what happens on the way to it. To feel happy and satisfied with life, we need friendship, love and closeness (oxytocin), interesting goals and tasks (dopamine), a sense of the value of activities, pride in our achievements, social recognition of others (serotonin), satisfaction and joy (endorphins). And during times of stress, our nervous system is under the influence of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that help us to jump and deal with danger. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation. Long-term, continuous stress overwhelms our body with stress hormones, and our brain literally forgets how to produce hormones and neurotransmitters of happiness, the lack of which causes feelings of disappointment and emotional fatigue.
Look for small and big reasons to break the state of stress, be happy and enjoy yourself.
1. Start the day with pleasant rituals. Find something that brings you pleasure – a warm shower, a delicious breakfast, pleasant music or just the sun outside the window.
2. Take care of your body. He needs a good night’s sleep, a healthy diet and exercise.
3. At least one hour a day, say “no” to things that do not inspire you, let your “yes” sound when you sincerely want to do something.
4. Set aside time for creativity. Creativity is an effective antidote to burnout. Set yourself up to see the unusual in the ordinary, choose new routes, write poems, draw.
5. Learn to manage stress. You have much more opportunities to influence your stress level than you might think: increasing the level of emotional intelligence, meditation, mindfulness practice. Find your own effective ways to reduce stress, and it will be easier for you to recover.
6. Communicate with loved ones, friends, people who sincerely support and inspire you. Their support reduces anxiety, fear, restores trust in others and the world in general, heals not only emotionally. Research by psychologist Karen Prager has shown that with the sincere support of loved ones, even after surgery, recovery is 30% faster.
What measures to take if you are already in a state of burnout
1. Slow down. Delegate. Give yourself time to recover.
2. Get support. In a state of burnout, the natural desire to preserve the last strength, avoiding outsiders, is included. But your friends and family are the source of recovery. Share your experiences with them – when you are listened to carefully, your brain releases oxytocin and adjusts to relieve stress.
3. Review goals and values. Burnout can be a sign that something important in your life isn’t working. Take time to think about your dreams and goals. Burnout can be an opportunity for you to discover what truly makes you happy.