How Do We Address The Chronically Stressed State
It is true that burnout is caused by long term unresolved stress but that doesnt mean that stress in and of itself is bad for us. It is the chronic nature of modern-day stress that does the damage. The stress response can be exhilarating when we need it, so that our bodies and minds can do incredible things under pressure. We can get a sense of accomplishment having been stressed to achieve a work-related goal, for example. There is however a very large BUT attached here! In the modern world we have lost the ability, cultural awareness and knowledge of the bodily cues that tell us about stress so that we can intentionally take ourselves out of the acutely stressed state. This is the reason that we are prone to burn-out. We have lost touch with the ability to enter the rest and digest or parasympathetic state on purpose where we repair and nourish our bodies, ready to take on the next acute episode of stress that is the next fight or flight state. There are so many things distracting us from listening to bodily cues, that we have become accustomed to living in a state of chronic stress permanently and have forgotten the art of intentionally entering the rest and digest state.
3. Understanding what you are feeling and start to look at the information this is giving you this can be applied emotionally with tools of emotional intelligence and physically with relearning the concept embodiment.
Learn To Manage Stress
When not managed well, short-term stress can contribute to burnout. This is why you should learn how to manage stress effectively.
There are several strategies that you can use to cope with stress. For instance, you could keep a stress diary to document what routinely causes you stress. Practicing deep breathing, meditation can help you calm down when you’re experiencing stress.
You can also manage the way you think this can contribute to stress. By monitoring your thoughts and practicing positive thinking , you can change unhelpful reactions and manage your emotions through a stressful situation.
Maintaining A Healthy Successful Career
It’s the beginning of the week, and Mia is already longing for the weekend.
For the past few months she’s been feeling out of sorts at work, and she’s not quite sure why. For instance, she’s always tired, she feels disengaged and unmotivated most days, and she’s constantly checking how long it is until she can go home.
Mia is also snapping at her colleagues , and she feels that there’s never enough time to get everything done. This leaves her feeling perpetually behind and demoralized.
Mia is showing classic signs of burnout. In this article, we’ll look at what burnout is, what its consequences are, and how you can avoid burnout in your career.
Click here to view a transcript of this video.
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Forget About Being Perfect
It’s not uncommon for us to feel stressed from trying to perform tasks exactly right or to strive for perfection.
Perfectionism, taken to an extreme, however, will only lead to burn out and an inability to manage your stress.
Try your best not to sweat the small stuff – if your mistake is not going to affect you in 5 months time, it’s probably something that you don’t need to fuss over.
Speak To Your Superior
Communicating your challenges at work to your superior can quickly help alleviate your work stress as your superior can understand your predicament better and help you make tangible changes that can help with your stress management.
For example if you’re overworked, letting your superior know your current workload and capacity will allow them to reallocate your tasks or reject incoming work from other departments.
Or if you are feeling stressed from not knowing what’s expected of you, honest conversations can be enlightening for both you and your superior such that you can be clearer on how you can achieve your goals and tasks, and your superior will also be aware of how he can help you achieve those goals.
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Schedule Time For You
A lot of times we say well do something for ourselves, but we never get around to actually doing it. Schedule it in your planner and place just as much importance on it as you do your work. Because it is just as important. Without that balance, we can become overwhelmed, stressed, and burnt out . Paint your nails, read a book, spend time with your family.
Stress Management Worksheets From Positivepsychologycom
We have many resources available for helping individuals better manage their stress levels, regain their lives following stressful events, and remain in control at times of pressure.
Why not download our free stress and burnout prevention exercises pack and try out the powerful tools contained within, including:
- Strengthening The Work-Private Life BarrierThis exercise helps clients identify the behaviors, beliefs, and conditions that create âholesâ in the barrier between work and private life.
- The Stress-Related Growth ScaleThe questionnaire is designed to assess perceived positive outcomes of a stressful or traumatic event.
Other free resources include:
- âSTOPâ â Distress ToleranceThe acronym STOP can help you develop the skills to handle strong emotions, tolerate painful events, and manage difficult situations.
- Reactions to StressThis table can be used as homework to capture stressful events, our reactions, and recognize repeating patterns of behavior.
- Stress as a Stimulus for ChangeStress is often a good indication that something in our lives needs to change. We can use this worksheet to begin the transformation process.
More extensive versions of the following tools are available with a subscription to the Positive Psychology ToolkitÂ©, but they are described briefly below:
This tool helps people learn to live in alignment with personal values during stressful life events.
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Tip : Reframe The Way You Look At Work
Whether you have a job that leaves you rushed off your feet or one that is monotonous and unfulfilling, the most effective way to combat job burnout is to quit and find a job you love instead. Of course, for many of us changing job or career is far from being a practical solution, were grateful just to have work that pays the bills. Whatever your situation, though, there are still steps you can take to improve your state of mind.
Try to find some value in your work. Even in some mundane jobs, you can often focus on how your role helps others, for example, or provides a much-needed product or service. Focus on aspects of the job that you do enjoy, even if its just chatting with your coworkers at lunch. Changing your attitude towards your job can help you regain a sense of purpose and control.
Find balance in your life. If you hate your job, look for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life: in your family, friends, hobbies, or voluntary work. Focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.
Make friends at work. Having strong ties in the workplace can help reduce monotony and counter the effects of burnout. Having friends to chat and joke with during the day can help relieve stress from an unfulfilling or demanding job, improve your job performance, or simply get you through a rough day.
When You’re At Home
Again, it’s helpful to identify enjoyable activities you can use as an outlet, such as going for a walk outside or visiting the dog park with your pet. Any form of movement or creative hobby baking, reading, knitting could be beneficial.
And, crucially, tell others when you need to take that time for yourself. “We’ve got to communicate, ‘Hey, I’m a little bit stressed out, I’m a little bit heavy right now. Give me a few minutes to detox and then things will be a lot better,'” McNeal said.
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Further Stress Relief Activities
Positive emotions such as joy, awe, hope, and optimism are essential to living the good life and are known stress-relief techniques.
And not only that, according to the broaden and build theory, they strengthen our psychological resources for overcoming tough, stressful times .
Boosting positive emotions
Ask the client to Build An Emotions Portfolio to encourage positive emotions such as gratitude, joy, interest, and inspiration .
Hope is a positive, optimistic frame of mind in which we expect good events and scenarios to occur. The ability to remain hopeful can help you bounce back more effectively from lifeâs difficulties when they crop up .
Completing the What is Hope? worksheet will offer the client further insight into their relationship with hope and hopelessness .
Mindful reflection can leave us grounded and better aware of ourselves and our situation. The Who Am I Beyond My Anxiety? activity helps clients focus on what is right with them rather than wrong.
Once centered by their breathing, ask them to consider :
Who am I?What donât I like?When do I feel at my best?
Mindful awareness will help those that struggle with their fears and are having a difficult time with stress.
Attend A Wellness Conference
Physician wellness conferences often offer continuing medical education credit and take place in beautiful locations ideal for family vacations. For example, David Elpern, MD, has been coordinating conferences for 15 years in places as far-flung as Hawaii and Cuba. . These conferences offer the opportunity to learn more about self-care and to steep yourself in meaningful interaction with other physicians. I have heard physicians who avoid such conferences say they dont have the time or dont learn from them. Such a self-defeating perspective is sad, as I consistently observe physicians at these conferences excited by their learning, being renewed, making contacts that continue after the conference, and in general, having a wonderful time. Please think twice before deep-sixing the fliers you receive for wellness conferences!
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How To Avoid Burnout
When feelings of burnout start to occur, many people focus on short-term solutions such as taking a vacation. While this can certainly help, the relief is often only temporary. You also need to focus on strategies that will have a deeper impact, and create lasting change.
Let’s look at specific strategies that you can use to avoid burnout:
Ask For Caregiving Help
Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance is a surefire recipe for caregiver burnout. Dont try to do it all alone.
Look into respite care. Enlist friends and family who live near you to run errands, bring a hot meal, or watch the patient so you can take a well-deserved break. Volunteers or paid help can also provide in-home services, either occasionally or on a regular basis. Or you can explore out-of-home respite programs such as adult day care centers and nursing homes.
Speak up. Dont expect friends and family members to automatically know what you need or how youre feeling. Be up front about whats going on with you and the person that youre caring for. If you have concerns or thoughts about how to improve the situation, express them, even if youre unsure of how theyll be received. Start a dialogue.
Spread the responsibility. Try to get as many family members involved as possible. Even someone who lives far away can help. You may also want to divide up caregiving tasks. One person can take care of medical responsibilities, another with finances and bills, and another with groceries and errands, for example.
Set up a regular check-in. Ask a family member, friend, or volunteer from your church or senior center to call you at a regular time . This person can help you spread status updates and coordinate with other family members.
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Recognizing How We Currently Deal With Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are a part of life. The difference between those that handle such unpleasant feelings well and those that donât may depend on how they make sense of them .
Understanding how we react and behave when confronted by stressful situations and anxiety can help us recognize how to better manage stress going forward.
Existing stress responses
Ask your client to consider which of the following applies to them :
- Do you run away from or avoid stressful and anxiety-inducing situations?
- Do you suppress or push out feelings that are upsetting?
- Do you distract yourself from stress ?
- Do you replace âbadâ thoughts with âgoodâ thoughts?
- Do you talk yourself out of feeling anxious, stressed, or worried?
- Do you seek help ?
This list is not exhaustive or judgmental. It is simply a list of some âresponsesâpositive and negativeâpeople have to stress and anxiety.
Ask the client to consider which ones offer short-term relief and which provides long-term support.
Now ask them to consider what they may be missing out on in life. The answers will either lead them to accept that they are successfully managing stress or provide valuable insights for the changes needed.
What Are The Driving Factors Pushing Us Towards Burnout
Unresolved or unrecognised stress.
Modern cultural factors over working, never feeling good enough, or never feeling like the days work is finished.
Systems within working environments which dont prioritise health and wellbeing or productivity this is a sad fallacy because healthy workers, full of vitality, are more focused and productive.
Loss of an ability to read our bodies for early signs of stress and cultural norms which say or imply that resting is for weak people and a narrative of busyness being the goal in life eg Ill sleep when Im dead or yes Im doing well, keeping busy!.
No natural time in our modern days where we naturally switch off, life is always on. We can work from anywhere with 24/7 access to email, messages, social media and information in general.
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Strengthen Your Communication Skills
Strong patient relationships are often the most rewarding aspect of a medical career. Most of you are keenly aware of the profound satisfaction that comes from skilled, care-full patient relationships as well as of the stress of trying to relate to patients without well-honed interpersonal skills. Ive heard several physicians in my groups lament about not having received more of this training in medical school. It isnt too late. If poor interpersonal communication skills are adding stress to your life, check into the continuing education offered by the American Balint Society , the American Academy on Physician and Patient and the Bayer Institute .
Take Breaks And Relax
Its easy to work through the day to get the job done but its important you take a break to stretch your muscles, eat and re-focus your mind. Going for a walk and enjoying some fresh air is a great way to spend a break. Regular physical activity can help you manage stress and takes your mind off work problems. Find ways to let nature in engaging with nature is a good way to maintain some balance and feed your spirit.
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Give Yourself A Break
As a busy caregiver, leisure time may seem like an impossible luxury. But you owe it to yourselfas well as to the person youre caring forto carve it into your schedule. Give yourself permission to rest and to do things that you enjoy on a daily basis. You will be a better caregiver for it.
Theres a difference between being busy and being productive. If youre not regularly taking time-off to de-stress and recharge your batteries, youll end up accomplishing less in the long run. After a break, you should feel more energetic and focused, so youll quickly make up for your relaxation time.
Maintain your personal relationships. Dont let your friendships get lost in the shuffle of caregiving. These relationships will help sustain you and keep you positive. If its difficult to leave the house, invite friends over to visit with you over coffee, tea, or dinner.
The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic. Sharing your feelings with family or friends won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most people will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.
Prioritize activities that bring you enjoyment. Make regular time for hobbies that bring you happiness, whether its reading, working in the garden, tinkering in your workshop, knitting, playing with the dogs, or watching the game.
Sharpen Your Time Management Skills
If you’re feeling the crunch from too many tasks and too little time, a healthy way to approach your work is to practise time management conscientiously by always prioritising your tasks.
Finish one task before starting on another and don’t try to juggle too many at once. Finding your own work efficiencies will help you avoid getting stressed out by work.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Setting aside time for self-care is a must if you regularly find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work. This means prioritizing sleep, setting aside time for fun, and making sure youre eating throughout the day.
Feel like you dont have the time? Keep in mind that youll likely be able to tackle work issues more effectively when your core needs are being met.
How To Manage Stress And Avoid Work Burnout During The Pandemic
As politicians debate whether or not to extend federal aid to millions of out-of-work Americans, school districts are debating if there will be a traditional school year. This means parents working at home will once more have the added distraction of supervising and teaching their kids, possibly throughout 2021. Add to that the stress and anxiety about saving for retirement, job security and health complications all related to the pandemic, and you’re left with millions of Americans feeling burned out.
The World Health Organization recently updated its definition of burnout from a stress syndrome to “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three symptoms: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion increased mental distance from one’s job or negative feelings toward one’s career and reduced professional efficacy.
According to neuroscience expert Dr. Patrick Porter, founder of BrainTap Technologies, mental clarity is crucial for productivity. “Increased stress and anxiety surrounding Covid-19 has understandably caused work productivity to plummet because your emotional state is directly connected to your ability to focus.”
People at all levels of business are grappling with this issue, and they desperately need positive strategies to beat distraction, reduce stress and increase mental clarity, says Porter.
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