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Antidoting & Preventing Burnout

by Deah Curry, PhD


Psychospiritually speaking, burnout is the condition of one’s life force being over-strained without the counter-balance of enough restorative energy intake. Parents see this occur when their 2-year-old gets frustrated and irritable, refuses to cooperate, cries easily, or lashes out when simply tired and over-stimulated.

Burnout is the adult version of this reaction, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid in today’s world. Sleep deprivation is a major problem, as is the constant bombardment of time, attention, energy and electronic demands on our attention — all directly at the root of much of what is often misdiagnosed as depression and anxiety, as well as adult attention deficit disorder.

Getting treatment for these mental health issues without making changes in how we spend and restore our energy won’t bring us out of burnout. However, a few simple self-health strategies can make the difference between regaining professional effectiveness or personal confidence, and sliding deeper toward nervous breakdown.

Know Your Healthy Tolerance Level

Aideen had an extremely busy life as a new bride, who was also in medical school, and working at two clinics (45 minutes apart in heavy traffic), along with having a part time job as a research assistant. Her feet hit the ground running every morning at about 6 am, and she considered it an early night if her eyes closed by 12:30 am. She lived on caffeine, cheese sticks and almonds that were easy to grab and eat in her car.

In her last year of school, Aideen came close to having a nervous breakdown. The pressures on her were so great, from so many directions, that she had panic attacks, punctuated by inappropriately angry outbursts at supervisors, peers, and spouse. She knew she was in emotional trouble, but didn’t know to change.

On good days when traffic was light and she arrived early at campus or clinic, she experienced waves of overwhelm that turned into crying jags, paired with lots of irrational, desperate attempts to problem solve her workload by shifting elements of her schedule. But nothing worked to relieve the pressure. Aideen had reached burnout.

There are many warning signs of approaching burnout, (for a quick quiz, see EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com/id25.html), and everyone has a different level of tolerance for the pressures of a highly demanding life. Some people may become more energetically frantic and emotionally reactive, while others may become energetically paralyzed and emotionally shut down. Neither response is helpful nor healthy.

Rather than pushing through periods of overwhelming pressure, the pro-active preventive measure for burnout is to know and enforce our own tolerance levels for stress, and constant high activity. Leaving enough space and time in our daily routines for healthy nutrition, satisfying interpersonal interactions, a little inspiration or creativity, communing with nature and/or pets, and being in touch with one’s spirituality are all necessary ingredients of a strong burnout prevention program.

Ask for Help

The time to put these pro-active measures in place is before burnout has become a reality. But many people find it hard to ask for help when they are overwhelmed by life. They don’t really want to see how far out of control their lives have become.

A friend of mine was unable to ask for help when he was approaching burnout. Despite being told that he needed help, he tried to manage on his own. In time it became clear that he couldn’t do it by himself.

Unfortunately he’d let things go too far. By the time he finally asked for help he’d suffered a complete breakdown. He was diagnosed with a serious mental illness and put on medication. He didn’t learn to be pro-active until it was too late. He’s still suffering the effects of a life lived out of balance. This could have been avoided if he’d asked for help.

Once burnout sets in, healing can require several approaches for the best result. One is to re-prioritize responsibilities and obligations to cut back on everything that can be rescheduled to a later time. Then use that extra time in your day for more sleep, higher quality nutrition, and better self-care.

For Aideen, also using some of that time to ask for a little emotional first aid coaching helped her learn new ways to respond to frustration, keep stronger boundaries, and not be as emotionally reactive. These simple antidoting techniques made a huge difference for her.

Two More Alternatives That Really Help

Another approach that I used with Aideen was assessing her Ayurvedic personality type and suggesting dietary changes that would put her more in alignment with her constitutional dosha (or, primary pattern of dynamic force). Discovering her dosha pointed to some simple changes such as eliminating most sour and spicy foods, including pickles, yogurt and cheese — all sours — and increasing whole grains and raw vegetables to balance her dosha.

Also very helpful is finding the correct flower essence remedy to balance the psychospiritual subtle energies that have been over-stimulated and under-nourished by the stresses that lead to burnout. In some cases, a single remedy is sufficient, and for others, a combination remedy can be blended to address multiple imbalances at once.

With Aideen, I used both a single and a combination. These remedies helped her be less reactive to her stressors, and able to apply the self-care she already knew, along with the new ideas gained in coaching with me.

Because Aideen still needed to fulfill her training requirements, she had to learn how to manage her time, self-care, and pressures better, and as she did this her burnout gradually receded. Fortunately Aideen got the right kinds of help in a timely fashion and was able to recover before her life got totally out of control. She is now pursuing her work in her ideal setting with ideal patients, with her old vigor and vitality and is a much happier and less stressed out person.

Preventing or antidoting burnout is possible with these simple approaches. A consistent self-care practice can help you sustain your high-energy lifestyle.

With 18 years experience as a psychotherapist, I have many therapeutic coaching approaches that can help you recover from professional, personal, or student burnout. For information, appointments, and Kirkland, WA office location, email  DrDeah@deahcurry.net or call 425-814-9083. For more on burnout, see www.EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com and  

sychospiritually speaking, burnout is the condition of one’s life force being over-strained without the counter-balance of enough restorative energy intake. Parents see this occur when their 2-year-old gets frustrated and irritable, refuses to cooperate, cries easily, or lashes out when simply tired and over-stimulated.

Burnout is the adult version of this reaction, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid in today’s world. Sleep deprivation is a major problem, as is the constant bombardment of time, attention, energy and electronic demands on our attention — all directly at the root of much of what is often misdiagnosed as depression and anxiety, as well as adult attention deficit disorder.

Getting treatment for these mental health issues without making changes in how we spend and restore our energy won’t bring us out of burnout. However, a few simple self-health strategies can make the difference between regaining professional effectiveness or personal confidence, and sliding deeper toward nervous breakdown.

 

Know Your Healthy Tolerance Level

 

Aideen had an extremely busy life as a new bride, who was also in medical school, and working at two clinics (45 minutes apart in heavy traffic), along with having a part time job as a research assistant. Her feet hit the ground running every morning at about 6 am, and she considered it an early night if her eyes closed by 12:30 am. She lived on caffeine, cheese sticks and almonds that were easy to grab and eat in her car.

In her last year of school, Aideen came close to having a nervous breakdown. The pressures on her were so great, from so many directions, that she had panic attacks, punctuated by inappropriately angry outbursts at supervisors, peers, and spouse. She knew she was in emotional trouble, but didn’t know to change.

On good days when traffic was light and she arrived early at campus or clinic, she experienced waves of overwhelm that turned into crying jags, paired with lots of irrational, desperate attempts to problem solve her workload by shifting elements of her schedule. But nothing worked to relieve the pressure. Aideen had reached burnout.

There are many warning signs of approaching burnout, (for a quick quiz, see EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com/id25.html), and everyone has a different level of tolerance for the pressures of a highly demanding life. Some people may become more energetically frantic and emotionally reactive, while others may become energetically paralyzed and emotionally shut down. Neither response is helpful nor healthy.

Rather than pushing through periods of overwhelming pressure, the pro-active preventive measure for burnout is to know and enforce our own tolerance levels for stress, and constant high activity. Leaving enough space and time in our daily routines for healthy nutrition, satisfying interpersonal interactions, a little inspiration or creativity, communing with nature and/or pets, and being in touch with one’s spirituality are all necessary ingredients of a strong burnout prevention program.

 

Ask for Help

 

The time to put these pro-active measures in place is before burnout has become a reality. But many people find it hard to ask for help when they are overwhelmed by life. They don’t really want to see how far out of control their lives have become.

A friend of mine was unable to ask for help when he was approaching burnout. Despite being told that he needed help, he tried to manage on his own. In time it became clear that he couldn’t do it by himself.

Unfortunately he’d let things go too far. By the time he finally asked for help he’d suffered a complete breakdown. He was diagnosed with a serious mental illness and put on medication. He didn’t learn to be pro-active until it was too late. He’s still suffering the effects of a life lived out of balance. This could have been avoided if he’d asked for help.

Once burnout sets in, healing can require several approaches for the best result. One is to re-prioritize responsibilities and obligations to cut back on everything that can be rescheduled to a later time. Then use that extra time in your day for more sleep, higher quality nutrition, and better self-care.

For Aideen, also using some of that time to ask for a little emotional first aid coaching helped her learn new ways to respond to frustration, keep stronger boundaries, and not be as emotionally reactive. These simple antidoting techniques made a huge difference for her.

 

Two More Alternatives That Really Help

 

Another approach that I used with Aideen was assessing her Ayurvedic personality type and suggesting dietary changes that would put her more in alignment with her constitutional dosha (or, primary pattern of dynamic force). Discovering her dosha pointed to some simple changes such as eliminating most sour and spicy foods, including pickles, yogurt and cheese — all sours — and increasing whole grains and raw vegetables to balance her dosha.

Also very helpful is finding the correct flower essence remedy to balance the psychospiritual subtle energies that have been over-stimulated and under-nourished by the stresses that lead to burnout. In some cases, a single remedy is sufficient, and for others, a combination remedy can be blended to address multiple imbalances at once.

With Aideen, I used both a single and a combination. These remedies helped her be less reactive to her stressors, and able to apply the self-care she already knew, along with the new ideas gained in coaching with me.

Because Aideen still needed to fulfill her training requirements, she had to learn how to manage her time, self-care, and pressures better, and as she did this her burnout gradually receded. Fortunately Aideen got the right kinds of help in a timely fashion and was able to recover before her life got totally out of control. She is now pursuing her work in her ideal setting with ideal patients, with her old vigor and vitality and is a much happier and less stressed out person.

Preventing or antidoting burnout is possible with these simple approaches. A consistent self-care practice can help you sustain your high-energy lifestyle.

 

With 18 years experience as a psychotherapist, I have many therapeutic coaching approaches that can help you recover from professional, personal, or student burnout. For information, appointments, and Kirkland, WA office location, email DrDeah@ deahcurry.net or call 425-814-9083. For more on burnout, see  

sychospiritually speaking, burnout is the condition of one’s life force being over-strained without the counter-balance of enough restorative energy intake. Parents see this occur when their 2-year-old gets frustrated and irritable, refuses to cooperate, cries easily, or lashes out when simply tired and over-stimulated.

Burnout is the adult version of this reaction, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid in today’s world. Sleep deprivation is a major problem, as is the constant bombardment of time, attention, energy and electronic demands on our attention — all directly at the root of much of what is often misdiagnosed as depression and anxiety, as well as adult attention deficit disorder.

Getting treatment for these mental health issues without making changes in how we spend and restore our energy won’t bring us out of burnout. However, a few simple self-health strategies can make the difference between regaining professional effectiveness or personal confidence, and sliding deeper toward nervous breakdown.

 

Know Your Healthy Tolerance Level

 

Aideen had an extremely busy life as a new bride, who was also in medical school, and working at two clinics (45 minutes apart in heavy traffic), along with having a part time job as a research assistant. Her feet hit the ground running every morning at about 6 am, and she considered it an early night if her eyes closed by 12:30 am. She lived on caffeine, cheese sticks and almonds that were easy to grab and eat in her car.

In her last year of school, Aideen came close to having a nervous breakdown. The pressures on her were so great, from so many directions, that she had panic attacks, punctuated by inappropriately angry outbursts at supervisors, peers, and spouse. She knew she was in emotional trouble, but didn’t know to change.

On good days when traffic was light and she arrived early at campus or clinic, she experienced waves of overwhelm that turned into crying jags, paired with lots of irrational, desperate attempts to problem solve her workload by shifting elements of her schedule. But nothing worked to relieve the pressure. Aideen had reached burnout.

There are many warning signs of approaching burnout, (for a quick quiz, see EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com/id25.html), and everyone has a different level of tolerance for the pressures of a highly demanding life. Some people may become more energetically frantic and emotionally reactive, while others may become energetically paralyzed and emotionally shut down. Neither response is helpful nor healthy.

Rather than pushing through periods of overwhelming pressure, the pro-active preventive measure for burnout is to know and enforce our own tolerance levels for stress, and constant high activity. Leaving enough space and time in our daily routines for healthy nutrition, satisfying interpersonal interactions, a little inspiration or creativity, communing with nature and/or pets, and being in touch with one’s spirituality are all necessary ingredients of a strong burnout prevention program.

 

Ask for Help

 

The time to put these pro-active measures in place is before burnout has become a reality. But many people find it hard to ask for help when they are overwhelmed by life. They don’t really want to see how far out of control their lives have become.

A friend of mine was unable to ask for help when he was approaching burnout. Despite being told that he needed help, he tried to manage on his own. In time it became clear that he couldn’t do it by himself.

Unfortunately he’d let things go too far. By the time he finally asked for help he’d suffered a complete breakdown. He was diagnosed with a serious mental illness and put on medication. He didn’t learn to be pro-active until it was too late. He’s still suffering the effects of a life lived out of balance. This could have been avoided if he’d asked for help.

Once burnout sets in, healing can require several approaches for the best result. One is to re-prioritize responsibilities and obligations to cut back on everything that can be rescheduled to a later time. Then use that extra time in your day for more sleep, higher quality nutrition, and better self-care.

For Aideen, also using some of that time to ask for a little emotional first aid coaching helped her learn new ways to respond to frustration, keep stronger boundaries, and not be as emotionally reactive. These simple antidoting techniques made a huge difference for her.

 

Two More Alternatives That Really Help

 

Another approach that I used with Aideen was assessing her Ayurvedic personality type and suggesting dietary changes that would put her more in alignment with her constitutional dosha (or, primary pattern of dynamic force). Discovering her dosha pointed to some simple changes such as eliminating most sour and spicy foods, including pickles, yogurt and cheese — all sours — and increasing whole grains and raw vegetables to balance her dosha.

Also very helpful is finding the correct flower essence remedy to balance the psychospiritual subtle energies that have been over-stimulated and under-nourished by the stresses that lead to burnout. In some cases, a single remedy is sufficient, and for others, a combination remedy can be blended to address multiple imbalances at once.

With Aideen, I used both a single and a combination. These remedies helped her be less reactive to her stressors, and able to apply the self-care she already knew, along with the new ideas gained in coaching with me.

Because Aideen still needed to fulfill her training requirements, she had to learn how to manage her time, self-care, and pressures better, and as she did this her burnout gradually receded. Fortunately Aideen got the right kinds of help in a timely fashion and was able to recover before her life got totally out of control. She is now pursuing her work in her ideal setting with ideal patients, with her old vigor and vitality and is a much happier and less stressed out person.

Preventing or antidoting burnout is possible with these simple approaches. A consistent self-care practice can help you sustain your high-energy lifestyle.

 

With 18 years experience as a psychotherapist, I have many therapeutic coaching approaches that can help you recover from professional, personal, or student burnout. For information, appointments, and Kirkland, WA office location, email DrDeah@ deahcurry.net or call 425-814-9083. For more on burnout, see www.EmotionalFirstAid-Coaching.com and www.BurnoutRemedies.net and  www.BurnoutRemedies.net 


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