Depression and Burnout
With constant emails, texts, instant messaging, and social media push notifications, it feels like work and life never stops. Whether you love your job or not, for many of us, this frenzied pace causes occasional exhaustion, frustration, disillusionment, and a desperate urge to hurl your alarm clock across the room and hunker back down under the covers until further notice.
That's not a depression symptom, right? Or is it?
While depression and burnout are intertwined, rooted and overlap, there are differences between them. Each one having its own personality, consciousness and identity. Each one has its own unique characteristic causes and requirements for treatment.
Burnout has become such a familiar term that it's common to hear people claim mommy burnout, millennial burnout, social burnout and work burnout. Too often people casually say, "Oh, I'm so burned out," when they're merely referring to a bad day or a bad week. But for those who truly are burned out, it is much more than a bad day or a bad week. It's a problem that significantly interferes with one's health, happiness, and overall quality of life.
Talk of burnout has creeped into everyday life, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has noticed. In 2019 the organisation updated how it defines burnout: Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
According to WHO, it is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
- reduced professional efficacy.
Together, these symptoms lead to an inability to successfully function on a personal and professional level.
Although some of the symptoms within these three areas overlap, each has characteristic signs and symptoms.
What Does Burnout Look Like?
Burnout is defined as a prolonged or repeated stress related condition from exhaustion affecting the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual state of health and well-being. Pessimism, depression and lethargy are all the core characteristics of burnout. When a person feels overwhelmed, they are out of control and therefore are in complete conflict their sense of self. Their inner and outer universes are out of balance. They feel unsupported, unable to take a break, experience headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, heartburn, increase their use of food, alcohol, and even drugs.
Other Types of Burnout
- Parental – having to look after a new born who wakes up at various times during the night.
- Sportsmen – keep pushing to achieve results, over exertion.
- Relationship – demands, needing to fit in to the in laws expectations or that of the partner.
- Social – pressure to match or meet social standards.
- Image – the need to look and fit in, pressure to be accepted.
- Overdrive – over analytical.
- Over striving – giving what you don’t have.
- Unstable Society – living in a place where there is social and economic instability.
- Over Committed – Having far too much on your plate.
Signs associated with burnout include but are not limited to:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Impaired Concentration and Attention
- Physical Symptoms, such as chest pains, heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, tension headaches, migraine headaches, shortness of breath, etc.
- Increased Illness
- Loss of Appetite
- Signs associated with feelings of detachment and cynicism
- Loss of Enjoyment
- Signs associated with a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
- Feelings of Apathy, Helplessness, and Hopelessness
- it seems as if nothing is worth doing, as if there is no point in even getting out of bed.
- Increased Irritability
- Lack of Productivity and Poor Performance
Depression is something we all experience in our lives, irrespective of race, social standing or wealth.
It is a condition with extreme highs and lows, uniquely affecting the health of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives. Sometimes depression affects us to a lesser degree and other times it can be longer lasting for periods of days, weeks, months or even years.
We have covered this topic extensively in a previous blog post, which you can find here.
Prevention and Treatment of Burnout
Although the term "burnout" suggests it may be a permanent condition, it's reversible. An individual who is feeling burned out may need to make some changes to their work and home environment.
Would you like to know to what extent stress, tension, anxiety, or even depressed feelings play a role in your life? Then test this with this simple test.
- Identify your physical-emotional-mental approach to life.
- Seek professional help to assess your situation.
- Identify if there are any situations you find yourself in promoting various stress levels.
- What are your stress levels in comparison to when you felt your best?
- Reach out to those you trust who have been assisting you with sound wisdom in the past and share and talk about the way you are feeling.
- Self-test yourself with the number of hours your rest, sleep, play, work.
- Are things an effort for you to do, initiate, partake in?
- What do you feel about exercise?
- Are you living a healthy life style, drinking enough water?
- Do you feel safe to rather stay at home?
- How do you feel about going out to socialize or just get out the house?
- If you work from home do you prefer to stay at home when you free?
- Do you find you go through emotional highs and lows?
- Do you smoke cigarettes?
- Are you taking narcotic substances?
- How much alcohol do you consume?
- Are then any past events that keep recurring in your mind? How do you feel about them?
- Do you feel trapped?
- Are you suicidal? If so, how often?
- Do you struggle to get out of bed?
- Do you see the world around you as dread and drama?
- How do you feel about your past intimate relationships?
- How do you feel about your present intimate relationships? Siblings, friends, partner / spouse?
- How do you feel about your boss, managers, current job, salary?
- Do you find yourself consuming excess sugar items, sweets, chocolates, pastry, unhealthy carbohydrates in excess or in periods of excessive consumption?
- Do you feel your condition impairs you?
- What treatments have your pursued and what has the outcome been for you?
- Do you urinate often more than usual?
- Have you lost the taste to eat and then binge out?
- Are you worried, concerned, stressed about your salary, income, safety?
- Do you live in constant fear?
- Do you feel like a victim?
- Do you have recurring dreams, visions, traumatic situations, PTSD?
- Are you enthusiastic about something then lose interest very quickly?
- Do you feel exhaustion emerges at will?
- Depersonalization and a sense of failure?
- Contemplating leaving your job, relationship (for a period of over 3 months or more?
- Do you gain weight easily?
- Do you lose interest in an intimate relationship within a week or two? You feel all you wanted was to be with this person then suddenly you feel disconnected?
- Does your life style permit mindfulness, healthy eating, exercising, hypnosis / non-medical hypnotherapy?
- Are you compassionate to yourself and others?
- From 1 – 10. 1 is 1st prize, 10 is lowest, where are you on the following:
- belief in self.
- trust in self.
- valuing self.
- honouring self.
- loving self
- nurturing self.
- compassionate towards others.
- compassionate towards yourself.
- Do you have healthy boundaries?
- Can you say no and walk away without feel sad or guilty?
- Can you think of yourself first without being selfish?
- Does saying sorry can’t do that, make you feel uncomfortable?
- Do you become overwhelmed quickly?
Depression and burnout common factors
People think of burnout and depression and anxiety separately, but I believe it might be more useful to think of them on a continuum.
Maybe burnout is more closely linked to depression and anxiety than realized, as you will see:
- Chronic self-criticism.
- Decrease in appetite.
- Depressed mood.
- Diminished concentration.
- Diminished pleasure / interest - life’s activities— “anhedonia”.
- Excessive slowness.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Impairment – social, occupational and everyday functioning.
- Inappropriate guilt.
- Increase in appetite.
- Low energy levels.
- Recurrent thoughts of death
- Too little sleep.
- Too much sleep.
- Weight loss (over 5% of typical weight in one month).
Tips and Ways to Reduce Managing and Recovering from Burnout
What should we do to handle the unrelenting demands of the job or the people we serve?
- Deep Breathes – bring your breathing to a neutral rhythm. Place the tip of the tongue to your palate closer to the middle. Close your eyes and take comfortable deep breathes and exhale comfortably. Visualise the air you inhale filling your body with absolute relaxation. Exhale stress and tension. Breathe in and imagine golden white light entering your entire body, every cell, every organ. Breathe out stress and tension. Letting go is the easiest thing you can do.
- Progressive Awareness - Feel through thought processes each individual muscle group. Allow each muscle group to just relax and let go, allowing a deep sense of relaxation
- Tense and Release – tense each muscle group and hold for 1 few seconds then release.
- Gaining Upper Hand of Stressful Thinking – train yourself to recognise as each stressful thought emerges, utilise a trigger like breathing in and as you breathe out the thought dissolves away and leaves you. It is best to seek training within for this, either in sessions or the classes taught at Dr Johns Systems & Solutions.
- Dietand Exercise – Yoga, meditation, breath work, eating fresh fruits and veggies, a more plant-based diet assists with health and well-being. Exercise decreases depressive symptoms, as well.
- Healthy Living Healthy Life Style –avoiding smoking, and any unhealthy habit.
- Time Management – in all aspects in your life.
- Strong Connections – social and family, making strong foundations in relationships that honour you.
- Laughter – humour makes the soul dance to the rhythm of affluence.
- Balanced life, Successful Life – balance, life, play, work, adventure, laughter, love.
- Hypnosis – work through your blockages, hindrances, limitations. Seek a professional who is proficient and well diverse. Reach out to be assisted and supported.
- Keep a beat stress journal.
- Forgiving – Forgiveness is the key to a successful life, career and relationship with yourself. We offer a highly effective forgiveness process, allowing you to move forward and living your life with less clutter.
- Goals Achieved Goals to Achieve – review your past goals, what motivated you, what results did you achieve, what drove you to success. What do you need to do to achieve the same or better with your new goals?
- Spiritual Awakening – Transpersonal awareness through meditation, prayers, intentions.
- Leave on Time – leave work on time.
- Off Time – avoid answering emails during your family time, after work. If you have no choice seek professional assistance to manage your time, hypnosis is very powerful in this.
- Sleep – get enough sleep.
Hypnosis for stress and Burnout?
“Doctor, I suffer from stress. Can hypnosis help me?” … I hear this more and more often when I answer the phone in my practise.
The simple answer is yes:
Self-hypnosis is the ideal tool for building up self-control, even in difficult times.
hypnotherapy can help to reduce stress, and it can help to put a different perspective on situations that previously caused stress and it can give you some time feeling calm and relaxed. Even if you are in a high intensity job you don't need to let stress takes over your life. You can learn to control it and switch off when appropriate.
Although a hypnotherapy session may seem yet another thing to add into an already overwhelming list of things to do, it can help to reduce your stress so you use your energy in a more productive way, which will in turn reduce your stress.
Of course, you need to practise to properly learn to do this. When you practise, handling stress becomes more and more easy to handle in difficult situations.