Are you or your employees at risk of Burn Out? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Burn Out was officially classed as a Disease in May 2019 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO describes burn-out as 'chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed' and characterises it 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.
The WHO's list gives a bit of a flavour of the symptoms of burn out which are very related to one's job as the WHO recognises burn out as an occupational phenomenon, which is true - it starts in work but can leak out into the rest of life, affecting every area. Some of the key signs that you may be on the verge of burn out are:
Constantly thinking about work, even when at home, not switching off
Poor sleep - both getting off to sleep and waking up too early
Depression or low mood
Never having enough time to work on deadlines, projects, to socialise with family and friends and for yourself
Feeling snappy, irritable, apathetic, frustrated
Physically you may experience high blood pressure, an unsettled stomach, poor digestion, getting sick more often, nausea, headaches
Lack of motivation
Struggling to make decisions
Today employees of one of our largest organisations here in the UK, the NHS, are experiencing wide-spread burn out and at risk of burn out in both the NHS and Social Care as reported in today's Guardian. I believe organisations have a duty to ensure workforce planning, work management, and having the right culture, are at the top of the wellbeing agenda.
Education is key and with the advent of the rise of Mental Health First Aid at work, more information and awareness is getting out there. I did some work recently for an housing organisation who have made a great success at rolling out Mental Health First Aiders and continue to move ahead with their wellbeing agenda. The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development reported recently that nearly 50% of organisations now have a wellbeing agenda and that for some organisations Wellbeing Directors are now sitting on some boards, so there is a feel we are moving in the right direction but more needs to be done.
As an employee I believe we also have a duty to ourselves, to ensure we are looking after ourselves, we speak up when we there are issues, and to bring forward any solutions that might be helpful to ourselves and also others. Although from my own experience of burn out it isn't always easy to be heard when we do speak up. I think that can be much to do with the culture of the organisation as to whether it is really able to listen to it's heart, the people who work there.
If we do succumb to burn out as I did, it can feel like we are literally running on empty, that there isn't anything in the tanks to move you forward. Getting out of bed can feel the biggest task of the day and moving through the day can feel like you are walking through treacle with wellies on. Our adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating our stress hormones, get totally depleted and we end up having shortages of adrenaline and so feel completely exhausted.
It can be very frightening and simple tasks we used to take for granted, like going to work, taking the children to activities, or food shopping can just be impossible to do. It can be difficult to know where to start to bring back the feeling of balance back. Energy is something we often to take for granted, until it suddenly isn't there anymore. For me, having gone through burn out and developed a chronic illness, I know coming back into balance is key to making a full recovery, and Sophrology can help in many ways from:
Learning to switch off, helping us get to sleep more effectively,
Being able to relax deeply and fully, we can start to sleep right through again,
We begin to access more head space which helps us to let go of anxiety,
As our internal system begins to regulate more effectively, our mood lifts and we see depression go,
Being more in balance we can more easily self-regulate, create the boundaries we need to stay well and healthy, know what is right for us and what to say no too,
We begin to tap into our own strengths, resources and capacities to increase our self-esteem and confidence, also our creative potential,
With all of the above, we begin to make better choices, healthier choices that serve to continue to build our resilience and move us forward on the road to full health and wellbeing.
The beauty of Sophrology is that it can be taught to all employees, to use both at work and at home, so that employees can feel empowered to manage their own inner states, become more resilient and able to start to enjoy both their work and home life again. Organisations in France who use Sophrology within their business as part of their wellbeing strategy can get a large discount off their medical insurance costs because it is so effective. For more information about Sophrology please see the Sophrology, Benefits of Sophrology and Organisation page.
Wishing you a peaceful day.
With warm wishes,