mental clarity and relaxation

Be Mindful About Burnout

Burnout

“I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!” is a famous quote from the movie Network, where the on-air news anchor just can't take the stress anymore. A feeling I’m sure we can all relate to!

It’s a well-known fact, that the workplace can be a hotbed of stress, and that stress can lead to burnout. Deadlines, lack of control, unclear job expectations, bosses, and a dysfunctional environment are work pressures that can all lead to both mental and physical symptoms that, if left unaddressed, can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life. 

Recognizing Burnout

Are you feeling exhausted at the end of your workday? Have you started to hate your job and dread going in? Maybe you have begun to feel as if you are less capable of doing your job? These may all be signs of burnout.

Most of us spend the majority of our days working and when we don't get any satisfaction out of what we're doing, it can take a serious toll. Here are a few “symptoms” that may indicate burnout at work:

  • Stress and frustration

  • Headaches or stomach aches

  • Feeling drained or emotionally exhausted

  • Difficulty concentrating and feeling negative and cynical about work tasks

You can find a more in-depth definition and signs of burnout in this article by Steven Gans MD. 

The Fallout of Burnout

Ignoring the symptoms of job burnout may result in fatigue, insomnia, irritability, high blood pressure, and a lowered immune system. You may even find yourself dealing with your job stress with alcohol, drugs or even food.

Carrying that stress over into your home life can also happen.  Typically, when we’re not happy at our place of work, our relationships tend to suffer as well. As we all well know, ignoring something does not make it go away.

I absolutely love this quote from my friend and colleague Cayce Howe  - which really encapsulates what we can do to move forward through these times. 

Being Mindful

There are many ways of dealing with work pressures. Evaluating a job/career change and seeking support from co-workers, friends or loved ones might help you cope.  Another path that can help is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Let’s delve into what MBSR can do for workplace burnout and stress.

These two studies looked directly at whether mindfulness meditation might improve job satisfaction, work-related stress, and anxiety. They used MBSR training, sitting meditation, integration of mindfulness into their daily life, and other mindful tools to teach the participants how to deal with their work pressures. At the end of the trial, participants reported improved focus, “less perceived stress, improved physical and emotional health, enhanced sleep, better health-related habits and behaviors, and more self-compassion. What’s more, they also showed significant declines in blood cortisol levels and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, suggesting that both their minds and bodies were less stressed following the program.”

How It Works

Another study found that mindfulness meditation stimulated areas of the brain that may help control emotional reaction and attention and decreased blood levels of interleukin-6, which is associated with inflammatory disease risk. Through these studies, we have learned that meditation is a simple, scientifically validated exercise for your brain that enables you to put space between you and your emotions.  

All of this is to say that taking the time; through Mindfulness, can help to center and relieve stress and anxiety. We often speak about “having a moment to myself” and that is, at its very core - what mindfulness is. Carving out that time to be calm, present, self-aware and alert can carry over into work & home life, with many strong benefits to your health, career, and relationships.

Please remember you are not alone. There is so much strength in asking for help and working towards the life you want.  As always, if I can be helpful in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out! All of my information can be found here

Overwhelmed with Life?

Want to get back to a place of mental clarity and relaxation

Do you have so much on your plate right now that you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out most of the time? Do you have too much going on and feeling overworked, frustrated and under-appreciated?

Want to get back to a place of mental clarity and relaxation?

In our age of fast paced lifestyles and heightened commercialism, everywhere we turn is a demand for our attention. On top of the information overload, we are working longer, and taking less time off. The result? More stress and less time for ourselves. Juggling between work, children, family and our personal needs it’s easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of to-dos.

Let’s look at five important and useful stress management techniques to overcome this sense of exhaustion and anxiety in order to live a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.

Five Ways to Overcome the Overwhelm

1. STEP AWAY

Sounds simple, I know. But sometimes, we can become so engrossed in what we are doing and in trying to make things “just right” that it becomes impossible to step away. However, you can’t overcome feeling overwhelmed when you’re in the thick of it. You have to step away to be able to view your circumstances from a fresh perspective.

Suggestion– Temporarily move your work or project to a different room, get up from your desk, and go out for a walk/yoga class or go sit in a café. Stepping away from your current situation and changing your environment will help you gain clarity and shift you away from your overwhelming state of mind. New ideas and energy may flow into your brain when you give yourself a brief change of scenery.

2. IDENTIFY

When we are feeling overwhelmed, our minds becomes clouded by the tasks at hand and by thoughts that cause us to feel stressed. Many times, we get so caught up in our doing, that we forget why we are even doing what we are doing.

Suggestion — Start with asking yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” For the mom who is stressed out while making 12 dozen cookies for her teenage son’s baseball team bake sale, she can lower her stress by re-connecting to the reasons behind the doing. For her, she is trying to stay connected with her son as he is growing and changing, and she is trying to reduce the out of pocket expense of having a kid in sports by supporting team fundraisers. She’s baking cookies to save money and to maintain her relationship with her son. When she remembers the why of it, the how of it may feel less burdensome.

3. JOURNAL

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed, there is likely a lot going on inside our head. Ideas and thoughts race around in our minds and clutter up our mental space. The best thing to do is to get these thoughts out on paper. I cannot emphasize this step enough- “Write it all down!” is by far the number one suggestion I give to my clients who deal with racing thoughts.

Suggestion — Grab a pen and a piece of paper, a notebook, scratch paper — whatever! Start jotting down everything on your mind. Write without editing and write out every thought. If you have a bunch of to-dos running in your head — list them all out. If you have an idea –brainstorm on paper. And remember not to worry about keeping things looking neat and perfect – this will only limit your freedom to get whatever it is out of your head and onto the paper. Once our jumbled and tense thoughts and plans find expression on a page they will often stop afflicting us and free up our minds to return to a good night’s rest or to enjoy ourselves more in the moment.

4. ASK

People are amazing. Often, we are the problem that is blocking the help we need from getting to us. Because we think family or friends will say no to our request for help or support, we never ask for what we need.

Suggestion – Ask for help and be prepared to be amazed at the generosity that others are willing to provide. The key is to get comfortable with being on the receiving end of being helped. Most people would rather help than be helped because helping someone else can feel like such a powerful position. No one wants to be needy – but let me advise you that most people would love to help someone else if only they knew what that person needed. So, take a risk and open up to asking others for help and then be willing to receive that help when it arrives. Trust me on this one; you can pay it forward in the future when those around you need some love and support. You will be there for them.

5. BOUNDARIES

Time is our most precious commodity. So be mindful. Spend it wisely and consciously.

Suggestion — Start with asking yourself what is most important to you? Once you’ve decided what’s important, create boundaries around important activities and do not budge with any incoming distractions. Do not allow unimportant noise and activities to creep in. Because both email and Facebook can be such time suckers, set boundaries such as only checking it once a day for 30 minutes. In other words, do only what’s absolutely necessary, and anything that doesn’t get done during this time will just go on the list for a future time.

Finally, when we simply acknowledge that we’re feeling overwhelmed we take a huge step forward. Creating awareness about how we feel can help us move into action to regulate our emotions and shift our behaviors in a more positive direction. Remember, you have the ability to design the life you want and the freedom to create the rules.