Exhaustion and how to get rid of it

Exhaustion and how to get rid of it

Exhaustion is when you feel like you are completely ready to drop? It could be from office work, house work or simply doing to much as mum’s taxi amidst your ‘to do’ list. You’re not alone. Exhaustion can happen to all of us but research has shown it is most common with people who have caring roles. COVID-19 changed the way we work. This along with the separation between home and work being less defined, the stress over staying healthy in a virus filled world means it’s not surprising you are feeling burnt out.

Whilst medically burnout is not recognised as a formal medical condition in Australia it is listed as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization. Burnout is very real.

What is work burnout and its symptoms?

Work exhaustion can result from workplace stress. Some of the symptoms can include exhaustion, poor work performance, increased negativity and distancing yourself from your job. There are however broader symptoms which include cognitive impairment, such as forgetfulness, struggling to focus and difficulty retaining information. Also, a loss of lust for life which is a more serious symptom.

These symptoms will affect your work performance, and they may result in psychological symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. It can also cause some to suffer from depression and physical symptoms such as a suppressed immune system.

Exhaustion and depression

Exhaustion and depression can overlap. However, burnout is more of a sense of helplessness rather than the hopelessness you feel with depression. Burnout may cause you to lose your zest whilst depression is an inability to feel pleasure in life. There are also biological differences between the two conditions. Depression is marked by an elevated level of the stress hormone cortisol, whereas burnout is associated with a deficient stress response where the stress hormone is lowered.

Signs of Exhaustion

Some signs that someone may be feeling burned out are lowered concentration, diminished productivity, they may withdraw from friends, be constantly worrying, they may take longer to complete tasks, they may have a sense of stagnation at work and they don’t look of feel refreshed after sleep.

Jobs that are most likely to lead to work Exhaustion

Work exhaustion is more likely to affect those in caring professions. These professions include doctors, nurses, teachers, police, veterinarians, clerics and also occupations such as lawyers. Unfortunately work burnout is more likely to affect people who work hard at their job, and people who care for others for endless hours. Burnout is also more common among women than men. It doesn’t only affect those that are in the workforce though and unpaid family or carers are also susceptible to burnout.

Whose responsibility is burnout?

Employers have a legal obligation to help minimise their workers exposure to factors that can increase the risk of stress within the work place. High workloads and job demands should be recognised and managed effectively within your workplace.  If you are an employer and have spotted signs of distress or a reduced performance in your staff members you should take action. You can start but asking open-ended questions about what you noticed. If you ask someone if they are ‘OK’ you may get the standard ‘yes’ so, it’s important to ask open questions to encourage people to have an open conversation with you and talk through options.

Treating exhaustion

In order to treat work burnout, you need to get the person out of that job, find them something else, and get them to have a decent break. They will come back feeling refreshed in a totally different job. However, there’s no standard answer on what to do with burnout. Recovery from total exhaustion can include multiple things, and should be looked at on an individual basis.

Ask for help, take time off to rest and recharge, take regular breaks, eat a balanced diet, exercise and sleep more. Start a hobby, meditate and steer clear of the perfectionist mentality as well as accepting how you feel. Do you need to change jobs? Seek help from trusted sources to give you clarity.

It is important to realise that it is quite normal to sometimes become over whelmed, and burned out. Talk to your family, a friend, a trusted colleague. Bounce your feelings off a trained therapist for better direction, tips and new information on how to deal with your feelings. Remember it’s important to look after yourself and your health first. No matter what your situation, make sure you call people to make a firm base for you to heal.

If your burnout is due to too much family overload, speak up. Enlist the help of partner, extended family or others to help you with what you need to do. If you have very little family visit your church, join a social group, seek group therapy, join a mother’s group. If you are a carer talk to your doctor about respite care for your loved one. Just a week or two to give you the space to recover. You can still visit them for a dinner or lunch and that break will get you feeling better very soon.

Knowing your limits

The crunch about burnout is to know your limits. Only you can set up healthy boundaries for what you need. It’s also important to stick to those boundaries. That will help you stay spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy.

Where to get help

A good therapist can help you discover healthy boundaries and help you change them. They can change those negative patterns to positive ones. Also, there are many natural supplements to assist. Chamomile, magnolia, Vitamin b, St John’s Wort, feverfew (the original natural aspirin), multivitamins, aromatherapy oils and flower remedies can lift your spirits. Consult your naturopath, doctor, counsellor or therapist and work in with them. Pretty soon you will have a new toolkit to build you up and keep you healthy. Alternatively, you can take up a practice like Tai Chi or Yoga to get those endorphins moving. Take a look at this link to see how Yoga can unlock your true nature – https://www.wellbeing.com.au/body/yoga/yoga-unlock-true-nature.html

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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