What is Burnout & How to Avoid It
Worried you might be experiencing burnout? Read on for our top tips on how to recognise burnout and what you can do to reduce the symptoms once you’ve spotted them.
Life is full of stressful and challenging situations, so having effective ways to alleviate emotional exhaustion is a crucial part of maintaining your mental wellbeing and physical health — not to mention preventing long term stress and burnout.
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 three main elements: feeling exhausted, feeling detached and only being capable of poor performance.
Burnout can happen to someone for a variety of reasons. It may occur when someone feels circumstances are out of their control at work or home. Contributing factors can include a demanding workload, being undervalued by colleagues or family or simply, just not feeling good enough.
Symptoms can be highly individualised but burnout commonly occurs during periods of prolonged stress and continual exposure to anxiety, rather than short-term stress attached to short-lived challenging moments.
Classic signs and Symptoms include:
- 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
The Mental and Physical Effects of burnout
Burnout has a significant impact on mental and physical health. Both types of symptoms can combine and be extremely 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 and at home, leading them to operate in 'survival mode'.
Burnout Test: Signs & Symptoms to look out for
Fortunately, the NHS Practitioner Health Programme has devised a burnout test for anyone worried that they’re close to burnout or already living through it. If you’re worried you or someone close to you may be suffering, ask the following questions:
- 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. Common examples include:
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.
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.
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 both parents and children. The health of the parent 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.
Eager to recover? We recommend you trying the following routes to recover and build resilience against burnout:
Talking through problems with a professional and/or a support network will help you determine what needs to change in order to improve your physical and mental health.
Visiting a local GP means they can assign the right talking therapy for you, such as CBT. They can also advise any other self-help techniques or they may refer you to another service. They may also recommend medication.
Natural Supplements for Burnout
Here at The Naked Pharmacy, we want our customers to feel better, naturally. Saffrosun, our natural plant-based remedy, can treat and help prevent burnout by relieving symptoms of stress and boosting the immune system. It also encourages a better quality sleep.
Saffron has been used in traditional practices for centuries, thanks to its incredible healing plant-power. Saffrosun contains the highest strength (3.5%) of all three active components in saffron (crocin, safranal & picrocrocin). We combine these components with vitamins B12, and D2, to help alleviate tiredness and fatigue, which ultimately helps 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
All of our products are cruelty-free, sustainable and without side effects, so you can take them with confidence.
Time for Self
Prioritising time to relax, drawing boundaries (e.g work-life balance) and learning to take a break are key to burnout recovery.
A walk outside or listening to a favourite podcast might not feel productive, but caring for yourself and learning to relax will lift your mood and eliminate stress, creating a positive knock-on effect on all other areas of life.
If you would like natural health advice on how to cope with burnout for yourself or someone you know, then please call our Pharmacist on (+44) 01483 685630 or visit our Healthy Mind product collection.
Let’s stay #burnoutaware