By Tanis Helliwell
“You cannot change everything you face, but you have to face something to change it.” –Baldwin
Burnout is an ever-increasing problem for individuals, for organizations and for our world. When we do not root our lives either as individuals or in the collective in organic principles burnout is the result. Simply put, burnout occurs when we use up more resources than we replace. This happens to us as individuals when we work long hours in stressful jobs with little joy so that we give a great deal and receive little back.
Burnout is a cumulative process. It occurs when we expend more energy than we have. It is a gradual wearing down of our reserves with little recharging of our energies. We might burnout in our jobs and the effects will carry over into our personal lives. Conversely, we may burnout in our personal lives and feel the negative affects in our jobs.
How does burnout happen?
Stage one of burnout:
- I am more tired lately.
- I am more irritable and less patient.
- Recently I want to spend more time alone.
- I am engaging in escapist activities (TV, Romance novels)
- I am restless and find it difficult to concentrate.
- I have more colds, flues, headaches or allergies.
Stage two of burnout:
- My moods swing more often to negatives.
- My memory is deteriorating.
- I am bored and not excited about life.
- My willpower has decreased and I indulge in nail biting, over eating, smoking, gambling or popping pills.
- My sex drive has decreased.
- I am losing control of my emotions (temper tantrums, crying)
- I do the minimum amount of work necessary.
- I blame others for my mistakes and failures.
- My physical appearance is sloppy and disheveled.
- I am either sleeping more or having difficulty sleeping.
Stage three of burnout:
- I am constantly depressed.
- I have a problem with drugs, alcohol, over/under eating.
- I would like my problems to disappear by themselves.
- There is no joy and nothing to live for.
- I am losing touch with reality.
- I don’t give a damn. I just want to be left alone.
- I would like someone to look after me.
- I have had a nervous breakdown or considered suicide or homicide.
Understanding the Stages of Burnout
You are still coping but the warning signals are showing. Heed them and cut back on the areas that are causing distress.
People in the first stage of burnout seldom admit or even realize they are burning out. Although they feel tired and sluggish, they put it down to overwork, as if overwork was nothing to be concerned about. They may not become concerned until they are physically ill and in the secondary stages of burnout. This is unfortunate because in stage two it takes longer for individuals to recover.
In stage two people are exhausted. They seriously question whether they should stay in the situation that they see is causing their burnout. This could be a troubled marriage or a difficult job. In stage two the negatives equal the positives. If the person acts to remove or change the causes of burnout (eg. decrease their work load, quit, resolve a personality problem at work) they will recover, but it takes longer than if they had acted in stage one.
By the time a person is in stage three of burnout they no longer have the energy left to extricate themselves from the situation. They are totally drained. This is very serious. If they are still in the situation that has caused their burnout, they have proven that they cannot control the situation themselves and need professional help to get out.
How to avoid and deal with burnout
• Set goals for what you really want to do with your life.
• Become aware of the way you talk to yourself and substitute positive, healthy messages for the messages that lead you into those negative behaviours you wish to change.
• Discontinue relationships or situations that are causing your burnout.
• Associate with encouraging, positive people.
• Say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
• Put your situation in perspective by observing others less fortunate than yourself.
• Simplify your life. Hire a house cleaner, a handyman, delegate responsibility.
• Keep strictly to a five day, 40 hour week.
• Take courses and read books in the areas of meditation, progressive relaxation and nutrition and blend these principles into your daily life.
• Go for a walk every day and enjoy the beauty around you.
Tanis Helliwell, a mystic in the modern world, has brought spiritual consciousness into the mainstream for over 30 years. Since childhood, she has seen and heard elementals, angels, and master teachers in higher dimensions. Tanis is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation (IIT), which offers programs to assist individuals to become conscious creators to work with the spiritual laws that govern our world.
Tanis is the author of The High Beings of Hawaii, Summer with the Leprechauns, Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Embraced by Love, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose, Hybrids: So You Think You Are Human and Decoding Your Destiny.
For information on Tanis’ courses, click here.