PLEASE CO-AUTHOR WITH Dr Bev McLagan
Burnout is just not sexy! You see, marketers talk about topics or products being "sexy enough to sell", well stress and burnout just do not seem to come across as sexy. Burnout eventually affects every life area, yet how do we convince people that during such times of change and stress burnout is a seriously sexy topic to be talking about?
The funny (well not so funny) thing is, burnout really messes up everything in your life (shhhh, even sex)!
A research study reported in one of London's commuter newspapers suggested that your risk of heart disease is higher with burnout than it is with smoking. That is huge news! ('Burnout is a bigger heart attack risk than smoking'; Metro News, 15/03/2013). The same group of researchers (Dr. Sharon Toker, Tel Aviv University, Israel) have also found links between burnout and diabetes. I do not think that the concept of stress contributing to physical illness is up for question any longer, but still the majority of people are unfamiliar with burnout, and how serious it can become.
Recently one of Britain's top female tennis players was taken ill and commented something along the lines that she (and I paraphrase) 'guessed she had burned out'. Unfortunately, on the heels of reports that imply that burnout is only connected with job stress, further news from athletics, or sometimes from entertainment industries where we hear of stars being hospitalised for exhaustion, continues to fuel the myth that burnout only happens to hard-driving, high-octane types that work 26 hour days in high finance or elite sports or spend their life in the spotlight. Even researchers tend to cultivate the myth that burnout is only a result of high stress jobs, heavy workloads, and long long hours.
Burnout is more than stress on steroids.
There is absolutely no way of escaping stress altogether, it is going to happen and we are going to have to deal, unfortunate but true. Burnout, however, happens when there is no let-up on stress and/or pressure. You get to the point where all energy reserves are depleted: physically you start experiencing symptoms, emotionally you feel raw, mentally you cannot think your way out of a paper bag, and spiritually you have lost hope, faith, and direction. No, not sexy at all.
Bottom line is, burnout can happen to almost anybody given the right formula:
burnout personality + being a 'pleaser' and perfectionist + unmet or conflicted needs
Live this formula long enough and you can (no, you probably will) burnout to some degree.
We get to watch firsthand while burnout takes away clients' careers, health, job security, the ability to date, relationships with partners, children and/or family, financial security, friendships, future dreams, and finally interest in life itself. When burnout maxes out, no longer do you only feel like you cannot handle any more stress...you feel like you cannot handle life anymore, and that is usually when people seek help.
So is there anything 'sexy' about burnout?
Well, yeah, we think so. To be clear, it is what comes after burnout that is 'sexy'. We know, we have been there ourselves, that you cannot only recover from burnout, you can learn (and decide) to live life in such a different way that you will never burnout again. And, that is only the beginning.
Funny thing is, over the last month we have been working, working, working, but have to say, working 'overtime' certainly doesn't resemble the past of 18 hour days, racing from office to hospital to university, trying to grab a bite to eat on the run. Quite the contrary, these days work often starts over brioche and coffee in the local cafe, includes dog walking in the park, play time, and afternoon tea breaks to meet up with friends for chat and laughs. Sounds too good to be true? Sometimes it feels it! After living such a burnout lifestyle, living a life of "enlightened balance" makes the heart sing! And that's a decision that has made a world of difference for us and our clients
Here are our 5 top practical insights for preventing burnout from claiming your life. We use them, why not decide to give them a try?
learn to say NO
take care of your body...nurture your spirit
replenish your energy daily
You can leave burnout in the past and be much stronger, clearer, happier...you can be more YOU. You can rediscover the energy and heart that you were lacking to go after your dreams and design a lifestyle we call "enlightened balance"; a lifestyle that supports you, your needs, your wants, your desires, and your dreams. Now that is seriously sexy!