Burnout, and then?
With burnout, a point has been reached where body and mind do not want to go on like this any longer. It also appears that it is no longer possible to continue work or being a caretaker any longer. You are, as it were, forced to take a ’time out’.
Burnout is more than a practical problem and cannot simply be solved by reducing the workload, increasing your bearing capacity, or improving time management. It appears that something else is needed to overcome this situation.
So to the question what now? The first answer would be to free up time for yourself and allow yourself to be helped in assessing your situation. What caused you to become ‘burnout’? And where did you lose yourself so that it could have come to this? True understanding is the beginning of all recovery.
Approach or treatment of burnout
There is no standard treatment for burnout. This is already apparent from all the different therapeutic approaches that are being offered. From my point of view, there seems to be more to it than this being a simple work-related problem. That is why I focus on the human being as a whole, highlighting all aspects of life.
In my approach attention is being paid to:
- An in depth evaluation of you present situation, so that you will have a clear view and understanding of what is needed to go on from here.
- To help you get some fundamental insights into causes and patterns that have led up to the experience of burnout.
- Attention to rest, relaxation, exercises and stress management.
- If required, the treatment of any traumatic experience that may have contributed to your present state.
- To help you get out of your head and get back in touch with your feelings and intuitive wisdom.
- To gain clear insights into how you have dealt with yourself so far and how you have gradually come to ignore your inner needs and feelings.
- To help you make fundamentally different choices, live your life more in accordance with your true authentic self, and perhaps steer a new course.
It is by all means an integrated approach in which the sessions are tailored to your individual needs.
What is a burnout?
A common description of burnout is: a state of mental exhaustion that is by definition work-related (in both an economic and a psychological sense). This state of exhaustion seems to have developed from milder complaints. Extreme fatigue is seen as the core symptom.
The onset of this exhaustion is sometimes associated with certain personality traits such as perfectionism, low self-esteem or a high sense of responsibility. However, the exact mode of origin is unclear.
Stress and unmet needs
The interesting thing about Rosenberg’s definition of stress – stress is a result of unmet needs – is that it goes beyond the widely used concepts of load and load bearing capacity. He points out something more fundamental. After all, what is a stressful situation or experience for one person is an inspiring and inviting circumstance for someone else. Therefore, burnout is not so much the result of stress as such, but the result of long-term unmet essential needs. Essential in the sense of being connected to our unique and authentic selves.
The complaints can be divided into a number of categories. Please note that many of the characteristics below may also apply to depression.
Exhaustion: feeling mentally or physically exhausted, everything you do takes effort, getting tired quickly when exerting yourself.
Mental distance (keeping distance): Loss of enthusiasm for work, aversion to work, indifference to work, cynicism.
Emotional dysregulation: disproportionate emotional reactions, becoming angry or sad for no apparent reason, easily irritated, unable to recognize yourself in certain emotional reactions.
Mental disorder: Difficulty thinking clearly or paying attention, forgetful and absent-minded, making mistakes because your head is not right.
Physical complaints: palpitations, stomach and intestinal complaints, headache, painful muscles in the back and neck, getting sick quickly.
Psychological stress complaints: sleeping problems, worrying, feeling rushed, anxiety or panic attacks, difficulty with crowds or noise.