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Burnout Series - Part 2: Why should we care about Burnout?

Last post I talked about Burnout (Link attached)

On this post, I want to discuss what causes Burnout and then in a final post I will write about how to combat Burnout. As a reminder, I am referencing the work from the book Burnout – The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski.

So, why should you even care about Burnout?

You feel Burnout after sustained and continuous efforts in dealing with your daily stressors and the resulting build up of stress over time. Stress can be caused by a number of INTERNAL stressors (e.g. fear of change, high expectations, negative self-talk, lack of control, perfectionism, etc) or EXTERNAL stressors (e.g. major life change, toxic environment, injury or illness, financial stress, work pressure, oh yeah a global pandemic and a war, etc).

You see, most people are pretty good at dealing with the stressor (i.e. the trigger) but what we are not so great at doing, especially over the last 2 years, is dealing with the resulting stress. Over time, if you don’t deal with the stress, it continues to build up and there are longer term impacts that show up if we can’t effectively deal with the stress in our bodies.

Here are some examples of how these impacts can show up:

1) Physical Symptoms – getting sick, chest pain, headaches, nausea, muscle aches, trouble sleeping, indigestion, fatigue, flushed skin, weight changes

2) Emotional Symptoms – irritable, sadness or depression, overwhelm, restlessness, limited joy, sense of isolation, trouble coping, pessimistic attitude

3) Cognitive Symptoms – impaired concentration, trouble remembering things, chronic worrying, anxious thoughts or feelings, impaired judgment, impaired speech, repetitive unwanted thoughts

4) Behavioural Symptoms – change in eating habits, change in sleeping habits, new or increased use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol, nail biting, pacing, change in work performance, unusual desire to isolate, increased conflict.

Of course, there are other symptoms, and these symptoms can represent many other underlying issues. But I caution you to pay attention to these 4 symptomatic areas and if you have symptoms that have shown up recently, ask yourself “What stressors have I been managing regularly and consistently over the last while?”

The root cause could very well be linked to Burnout and how you have coped or not with a build up of stress related to those stressors. And I should point out that without taking care of these symptoms, over time, these symptoms could turn into much larger health problems. This is why you should care about Burnout!

So now that we know that Burnout is really just the chronic build up of stress in our bodies, the not so simple answer is to build practices in our day to consistently and regularly complete the stress cycle.

And, that will be the topic of the next post!

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