Are you feeling burnt out?
By Leanne Gray
We have often considered productivity to be a measure of our success, constantly living in a grind culture to reach our goals. It’s
natural for us to seek purpose and fulfilment from our work life which commonly brings about a level of ‘good’ stress that keeps
us on our toes.
Stress can be good for us, to an extent. There are ways we can gently cope with higher levels, but at what level of stress should we be concerned? If you find that the level of stress in your daily life is constantly overwhelming and results in a decline in your physical, mental and emotional health, you may be on the road to experiencing burnout.
A lifestyle where you can’t seem to switch off between work and personal life can be detrimental to your progress and most importantly, your health. This constant, heavy stress negatively impacts many aspects of your well being, resulting in reduced vitality and focus that can lead to poor productivity, poor decision making, physical ailments and ultimately, burnout.
Burnout is recognised as the culmination of long term stress that has been left unhandled. It’s the feeling of disconnection
from self when you don’t make time to be human, making it difficult to be in sync with your body.
This can manifest in many ways, including depersonalisation or apathy.
Recognising the signs of burnout within yourself is the first step to prevent putting out that flame that keeps you going. In this article you’ll find out how to recognise burnout, what causes burnout as well as how to recover and prevent this from an Ayurvedic perspective.
Symptoms of burnout:
- Feelings of detachment and loneliness
- Apathetic and uninterested
- Irritability/mood swings
- Reduced commitment, aspiration
- Physical exhaustion (Muscular aches, body pains, headaches)
- Change in appetite (Weight change, reduced or increased appetite)
- Weakened immune system
- Late arrival/absence with work
- Lack of focus
- Cynicism/negative outlook
- Feeling of disconnection from self
- Feeling trapped, hopeless
- No sense of purpose
What causes burnout?
The most common causes of burnout related to our work life are the following:
- Work overload, job demands exceed limits
- Pressure and tight deadlines
- Lack of recognition
- Disconnected values within the workplace
- Role conflict, pressure from several demands that compete
- Lack of management support
- Work is perceived as inequitable
If your manager or workplace doesn’t have a holistic wellness programme in place, you could consider suggesting this to them. Keep an eye out on your teammates too! If you notice that someone has been a bit more agitated or quiet than usual, invite them to take a walk with you, try out a yoga class or just offer them a safe space to talk.
How can I recover from and prevent burnout?
An Ayurvedic lifestyle is one that supports your entire being in finding and maintaining balance. Ensuring that you’re taking care of
your home (body) alongside all other aspects of your health is fundamental to achieving overall well being and zest for life.
- Stop saying yes to everything! Every time you say yes to something you don’t want or can’t do within the specified time, your flame is dulled down. Don’t be afraid to say no for your own well being. Have an honest conversation about your workload or ask if the task can be assigned to someone else. It’s best to keep a balance between work and home life.
- Get plenty of sleep. Try to unwind and stop screen time at least a half hour before bed and try to go to bed before 10pm to improve your quality of sleep. It’s best to avoid heavy sleeping aids and hot showers as this can affect your sleep quality and anxiety levels. Try drinking some calming tea or warm milk with cardamom, cinnamon or saffron before bed.
- Stay mindful of your breath through the day and make time for meditation or breath work before bed. Its common for stress to cause shallow breath, most of the time you won’t even notice it yourself. Try to stay mindful of this, especially when you can feel yourself getting worked up. Pause and take a deep breath. Let go of thoughts that don’t help you.
- Move your body. Give your room a good clean, declutter and freshen your sheets. Stretch through the day. Dance in your room, in your car or in the shower. Go for walk in nature after work or during your break. Do some light yoga before bed.
- Meditate. This is a big one, and one that is often shunned. It should be as necessary as we consider exercise. Turn your attention inward in stillness, focusing on your breath or on the flame of a candle to help clear your mind of any unnecessary thoughts, calming your nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety. There are many different types of meditation you can try so if you find one method doesn’t suit you, try another!
- Leave your work at work. Your home should be a space of comfort. People who suffer from burnout often take their work home so make sure your boundaries between work and personal life are clear. Sometimes you may bring home thoughts of deadlines or work you’re in the midst of, in this case you might find meditation or breath work especially helpful in moving your attention inward.
- Try a self massage. Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage does wonders in connecting to yourself and your body. Warm up some oil and give every part of your body love and attention.
- Take your breaks. They’re there for a reason! We’re not designed to power through the day without rest, its an incremental part of our productivity. Try not to eat lunch at your desk either! You need to take your mind elsewhere and this interferes with the quality of your break time. If you can, get outside for some fresh air and soak in the sun.
- Give yourself a treat when you need it. Get yourself the muffin you’ve been eyeing out at that place across the road. Bring yourself a little bag of goodies to snack on. Buy yourself a nice lunch at the end of the week (or the middle). Treat yourself to a relaxing massage to get rid of those aches and pains. It’s all about balance.
- Listen to your body. Your body is persistently speaking to you, don’t ignore the warning signs. Check in with yourself. If you’re feeling fatigue, frequent headaches, muscle pains or any negative change in your body, it’s your signal to find a solution before it gets worse. It could be as simple as drinking more water or getting more sleep, or it could be a sign of oncoming burnout.
- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Tell your workplace and resolve any issues. Take a mental health day to check in with yourself. Chat to a friend. There’s a lot of people who go through similar thoughts and feelings, it can be comforting to feel understood. Someone may even have their own way of rekindling their passion for life that could be useful to you.
We all have our differences, including how we manage and tolerate stress or recover from symptoms of burnout. Although some of these options may not always be viable for some, acknowledging that your mental and emotional health IS health and in turn, putting yourself first where and when possible can help bring some life back into you. Make time to bring yourself back into balance.
Ayurveda appreciates that all aspects of your well being are connected. Despite eating well and exercising, you may still find yourself out
of balance due to other areas of your self and life being left in the dark. What you also might consider to be a nutritional diet or healthy
level of exercise may not actually be beneficial for your particular body type (dosha) within Ayurveda.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, including depression or anxiety - please reach out to someone or feel free chat with us through our website to find out more about trying a natural approach with guidance from our Ayurvedic Doctor.
Feeling overwhelmed with stress and physical fatigue?
Try natural herbal support for your daily mental health.
Ex-stress helps your brain and body to:
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Find out more here.