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Mental Health Series: Do-It-Yourself

BURNOUT AND STRESS MANAGEMENT: #6 DO-IT-YOURSELF STRATEGIES

16. March 2019

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Burnout has become a buzz word in recent years. It is put on the agenda by many organizations facing a downward spiral in individual and organizational performance. Or leaders use 'burnout' to whitewash a depression or anxiety.

A Gallup study in 2018 found that 23% of 7,500 full-time employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.

According to the study burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job. And even if they stay, they typically have 13% lower confidence in their performance and are half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their managers.

A study by NeuroBusiness Group in 2013 asked US senior managers and C-Suite executives about the impression of burnout within their organization. 80.55% of them reported that they were burned out: 47.22% responded somewhat, and 33.33% responded “very much”- the two highest categories.

The World Health Organization describes in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) Burn-Out as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

Modern work-places come with a lot of challenges for employees and leaders: work overload, lack of communication and support, time pressure, lack of clarity, work-life balance, and the list can go on and on.

Of course, the most important step in improving office wellbeing involves taking a closer look what Gallup recommends for better management to reduce burn out.

Although some people find ways to “make it work” and cope with the stressors, many struggle. This is particularly true for people who feel overwhelmed and have not invested in their own mental and emotional resilience and wellbeing. Luckily, there are many ways to accomplish this.

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Use these 6 proven tips to overcome and prevent burnout and other stress related disorders.

 

#1. SLEEP 

You may need more than you think. Sometimes, the best option is to call it a night a couple of hours earlier than normal and get some extra rest. The recommended sleeping time from the National Sleep Foundation is for adults 7 to 9 hours of continuous night sleep.

Make sleep a priority and do not listen to people announcing that they can stay brilliant all day long with only 4 hours of sleep and  the right supplements. Your body undergoes four to five sleep cycles per night, each consisting of light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep. They all have their function in your mental and physical recovery.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends you practice a relaxing bedtime ritual and evaluate your bedroom: cool temperature, free from noise (consider using ear plugs), free from any light (consider blackout curtains, eye shades) and comfortable mattress and pillows. Avoid using electronics before bedtime and switch off your wifi.

If your sleep cycle has been interrupted for a couple of weeks, please seek medical help to find the underlying issue.

 

 

#2. NUTRITION 

Clean up your diet. When you’re feeling burned out, it can help to eat a healthier diet. Junk food creates more stress and load for your body to deal with. Cutting back on your calories and providing quality nutrition to your body can make a positive difference.

Avoid caffeine and sugar. They are the last things you need if you’re feeling frazzled. They stimulate your body and your mind. They can create more challenges than it solves. It is essential for your brain cells to get good fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds during times of stress.

The brain and gut are connected. You may experienced that a certain situation made you "feel nauseous"? Anger, anxiety, stress, sadness - all of these feelings can trigger symptoms in the gut. Super gut-soothing foods are Sauerkraut ("sour white cabbage"), Asparagus, Aloe Vera Gel, Pineapple, Onion, Garlic, and Kimchi.

 

 

#3. EMOTIONAL CONTROL 

Train your mental state. Follow Tony Robbin’s advice. Change your state by changing your posture, your focus and your language even if you have to force yourself. Whenever you use more height and space in your posture and stance you increase your energy level and decrease your stress level.  Focus on the aspects of your work you enjoy and mentally choose that you are in control and that you are great, amazing, inspiring, a one of a kind. Do not wait for others to see your greatness. If you see it in yourself and appreciate yourself, others will see it too. This is at least my experience.

Meditate. Meditation, listening to relaxing music, praying, or anything else that relaxes your mind can be beneficial. Avoid ruminating over the challenges in your life. Your brain doesn’t get a break unless you create one.

Laugh. Laughing will always make you feel better. Who’s your funniest friend? What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen? How can you make yourself laugh? A night of laughter will give you a mental reset and put you in a better position to handle the challenges in your life.

 

 

#4. ACTIVITY

Create a strong contrast between work and home life. If you spend your day quietly writing and planning, you might want to exercise and invite some friends over in the evening.  If your day is busy with meetings and talking with people, you may want to go for long walk or follow your favorite solo hobby after work. With this you balance out different regions of the brain (logic and creative, sedative and active).

You can even release stress, expend excess energy and enhance performance during your day with brain gym exercises. They are designed to engage your full brain.

Maintain  a diverse practice of exercises to benefit your brain: aerobic exercises (boost the number of blood vessels and synapsis in the brain), resistance training and mind-body exercise. Listen to what your body needs.

Commit to at least 15-min a day. Especially when you feel tired and exhausted you may not be able to run for an hour or face the gym. Accept your feelings and be flexible. One day you may go for a brisk walk, another day to may follow a yoga session on youtube etc.

 

 

#5. SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

Spend time with people you genuinely like. This has been shown to be one of the best ways to recover from mental burnout and other stress related disorders. Spending time with someone (family or friend) who makes you smile and feel relaxed can be the best medicine. It creates a form of bonding that in return releases the hormone oxytosin.

Humans are socially programmed to live in groups. The late US scientist Prof. John T. Cacioppo studied the effects of loneliness. When you are alone you are more sensitive to your environment and perceive it as potentially more dangerous putting you under even more stress. The best way for you to gain trust and confidence again is to practice seeing the world in a relaxed and open way. Want to feel instantly better? Then do something good for other people... visiting elderly people, take up a role in a club, mentoring other people, etc.

 

 

#6. ENTHUSIASM

Find something greater than yourself (passion). Reconnect with your why to renew your motivation. You may discover multiple sources of gratification, including supporting your family and contributing to society.

To explore your why ask yourself: "What do I do my whole life with ease?" "What is the most common dominator of all these experiences?" "What is my effect on other people?" "What other people ask me for?" "What choices do I make and what do I express with that?"

Live a life based on values than achieving goals. Values are like a compass that guides you through your life. Connect with your highest values by asking yourself: "What is important for me when I am acting in line with my passion?"

 

Source:

  1. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237059/employee-burnout-part-main-causes.aspx
    Employee Burnout, Part 1: The 5 Main Causes, Gallup Workplace, by Ben Wigert and Sangeeta Agrawal
  2. https://arielle.com.au/c-suite-burnout-survey-summary
    C-Suite Burnout Survey 2013, Steven McConnell, August 27, 2013

WORK-LIFE BALANCE ASSESSMENT

 

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance protects you from burnout and increases your productivity. Setting reasonable boundaries gives you time and energy to devote to your relationships and other personal activities.

However, busy schedules and modern technology can make it difficult to disconnect at the end of the workday unless you develop habits that help you to be fully present at home.

A) Rate how much you agree with the following statements on a scale of 1 (least) to 5 (most).

B) Then, identify small changes that will help you to reduce stress and take care of each important aspect of your life.

 

1. I feel like I’m neglecting my responsibilities at home or work.

(Example: Rating 2. I will set realistic goals and give myself credit for my efforts and accomplishments.)

1 (Strongly Disagree) 5 (Strongly Agree)

 

2. I ask others for help when I need it.

(Example: Rating 4. I will assign my children household chores appropriate for their ages.)

1 (Strongly Disagree) 5 (Strongly Agree)

 

3. My priorities are clear.

(Example: Rating 4. I will plan my day each morning and block out hours for my most urgent and important tasks.)

1 (Strongly Disagree) 5 (Strongly Agree)

 

4. I manage workplace stress effectively.

(Example: Rating 3. I will stretch or go for a walk when I feel tense.)

1 (Strongly Disagree) 5 (Strongly Agree)

 

5. I avoid excessive overtime.

(Example: Rating 4. I will schedule challenging tasks for the hours when I am at peak performance so I won’t have to stay late to complete them.)

1 (Strongly Disagree) 5 (Strongly Agree)

 

Bonus Tip: Download the free Guided Stress Management Session!

Transform your inner tension into inner power in 30 minutes.

You may feel under pressure, tensed and uneasy... or you are getting confused and easily irritated. In this FREE guided audio, you will not only learn what your stress triggers are, but also how to control and eliminate your tension leaving you with INNER STRENGTH to face and handle challenges ahead.

Get your free audio session here >>

Interested?  Let’s work together.

Consider how you came to be in this situation. Do you need to make some changes at work, a different job, or a more satisfying relationship? Could it help you to speak to a professional? What needs to happen to prevent the same situation from happening again?

My goal as an executive coach is to provide rapid and long-lasting changes for professionals who go through life changes or challenging situations resulting in burnout, stress and anxiety. No matter where you are in the world, the therapy sessions are held online. 4-Hours of my Elevate Intensive and you will improve the quality of your life, switch your body back to peace and balance, and gain clarity and focus.

I hold a master’s degree in psychology with an over 15-years career in counseling and coaching. I trained with a broad range of international experts like the world-renowned therapist and pioneering hypnotherapist Marisa Peer (Rapid Transformation Therapy Practitioner®), Rori Raye (Relationship Coaching), and Prof. Dr. Justin Kennedy (Applied Neuroscience Coaching).

Contact me today to learn how I can help make things better!  www.silkcelia.com

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