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What is Burnout and how to Avoid it

Burnout what is it?

Life is full of potentially stressful and challenging situations, so having effective ways to alleviate emotional exhaustion is a crucial part of maintaining your mental wellbeing, physical health and preventing long term stress and burnout.

We’re taking a look at how burnout happens and what you can do to reduce the symptoms when you spot them.

What is Burnout? 

"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 generally understood as emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. WHO categorises burnout as having 3 elements: feeling exhausted, feeling detached and poor performance.

Symptoms can be highly individualised but burnout commonly occurs during periods of prolonged stress and continual exposure to anxiety, instead of short-term stress that’s attached to short-lived challenging moments.

What are the Stages of Burnout? #burnoutaware

Being able to spot whether you’re on a path towards burnout will help you to create a better approach and care for yourself and your mental wellbeing.

Burnout can happen to someone for a variety of reasons. People can feel circumstances are out of their control at work/home, such as a demanding workload, being undervalued by colleagues/family or not feeling good enough.

What is Burnout? Signs and Symptoms

Burnout signs
  • Lack of energy/exhaustion
  • Low productivity/motivation
  • Feeling pessimistic/self-doubt/trapped
  • Detachment from relationships and responsibilities
  • Poor immunity and resistance to illness
  • Change in sleep and diet
  • Using alcohol/drugs to cope

Mental and Physical Effects

Burnout has a significant impact on mental and physical health and both types of symptoms can combine and be difficult to cope with.

Cycles of negative thoughts and emotional exhaustion can impact someone’s physical health when they can’t imagine their situation ever-changing. 

Mental and physical symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to perform their usual responsibilities at work/home as they operate in 'survival mode'. 

Burnout Test: Signs & Symptoms to look out for

The NHS Practitioner Health Programme has devised a burnout test for anyone worried that they’re close to burnout or living through it:

  • Has anyone close to you told you that you need to slow down at work or cut down hours?
  • Are you often resentful towards work/colleagues?
  • Do you feel you’re not spending enough time with friends/family or taking time for yourself?
  • Are you more prone to emotional outbursts – crying/anger for no reason?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then accessing more help is recommended.

Types of Work that can Lead to Burnout

Any job can lead to you experiencing burnout, because our perception of what’s stressful or challenging varies greatly from person to person. But there are some occupations in particular where high stress occurs at an increased rate. 

Statistics are difficult to pinpoint, but it’s estimated that 595,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-based stress in 2018.

  • Teacher Burnout

The heavy workload, exams, inspections, and increasing class-sizes make the teaching profession a challenging place to work. Certain points throughout the school year can trigger heightened stress for pupils and teachers, creating a physically and emotionally demanding culture.

  • Doctor Burnout

Doctors can be at particular risk of burnout because of the nature of the job and the distress, illness, and death that they deal with on a daily basis. They may feel pressure to care for others instead of themselves and work long hours to cope with the demand for their service.

  • Parental/Carer Burnout

The responsibilities of a parent feel as if they never stop. Being overwhelmed when it comes to childcare or juggling parenting and a career can lead to burnout, which can be damaging for parents and children. Parents’ own health can become a lower priority as they juggle looking after everyone else in their family.

This is similar for anyone caring for an elderly parent or someone with specific care requirements too.

Already there? How to Recover from Burnout

Experiencing burnout? There are effective ways to recover from burnout and build resilience by looking after physical and emotional health.

Speaking Therapies

Talking through problems with a professional and a support network will help to determine what needs to change to improve your physical and mental health.

Visiting a local GP means they can signpost a person to a talking therapy, such as CBT, advise any other self-help techniques or they may refer someone to another service or recommend medication.

Natural Supplements for Burnout

We want our customers to feel better, naturally and our natural plant-based remedy, Saffrosun Organic Saffron can help relieve the symptoms of stress, help you to stay well and prevent burnout.

Saffron has been used in traditional practices for centuries because of its healing plant-power. The Naked Pharmacy's Saffrosun contains the highest strength (3.5%) of all three active components in saffron (crocin, safranal & picrocrocin) combined with vitamins B6, B12, and D3 that work to alleviate tiredness, fatigue and help to balance the nervous system.

By adding a clinically-proven, high potency supplement to a healthy diet you can:

  • Restore emotional balance
  • Alleviate symptoms of nervousness and low mood
  • Reduce tiredness and promote better sleep

And all of The Naked Pharmacy's products are cruelty-free, side-effect free, clean and green.

Saffrosun The Naked Pharmacy Burnout

Time for Self

Prioritising time to relax, drawing boundaries (e.g work-life balance) and taking a break is important. A walk outside or listening to a favourite podcast might not feel productive, but caring for yourself and learning to relax will have a knock-on effect on other areas of life.

As part of National Stress Awareness Week 2019, Kevin Leivers gave a series of radio interviews to spread the word about how burnout is fast becoming the plague of the 21st century. If you would like natural health advice on how to cope with burnout in yourself or someone you know, then please call our pharmacist on (+44) 01483 685630 or visit our Healthy Mind product collection. #burnoutaware


1 comment

  • Maria

    I experienced mental exhaustion at the age of 19 (many years ago). I could relate to alot of your symptoms listed, though at the time I had no idea anything was building up within me. The sudden mental ‘snap’ was frightening.
    You mention talking therapies. With mental exhaustion you are not able to speak, especially when in a stressful situation like any appointments. For me it took a good 6 months (and an amazing emphasizing mum) before I felt totally in control again.

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