Burnout can present itself differently for different people. Someone who usually describes himself as “laid back” or “chilled out” may say he is “on the edge” or “uptight”. Others might talk about the numbness of Burnout or say they feel like an empty shell.
Sometimes people use the word ‘depression’ to convey what they are going through. Feelings of anger or sadness can be increased. Many say they are “unable to switch off”. Common factors for Burnout appear to be the loss of enjoyment of life, a disinterest in usual activities and physical and mental tiredness. Many say things like “I’ve lost touch with who I am”.
Burnout can result in us losing connection with our friends and family and withdrawing into ourselves. It can have us avoiding people and activities we enjoy such as going out or having sex. But the reverse can be true as well. The consequences of Burnout may be the spiral into a more chaotic life if someone is unable to face certain responsibilities or perceived expectations. We may find it harder to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to choices that are presented to us. This can lead to increased use of alcohol or drugs and these in turn can also be contributors to difficulties of Burnout.
Burnout is most often associated with overworking. But it can also happen while making the transition into a new job or new responsibilities (including becoming a father or mother for the first time or caring for a sick relative). At these times, we can find ourselves in situations where the expectations on us are just too high and unrealistic. In modern life and corporate culture where there is so much emphasis on performance, achievement and attaining materialistic goals, the public realm of our lives can easily take precedence over the private. Caring or meeting the requirements of others can easily take over from caring for our selves.
How Counselling Can Help with Burnout.
When they start seeking help for Burnout, most people just want to start feeling like their old selves again. Therapeutic conversations offer the time to reflect and an opportunity to gain understanding through a joint investigation of the problem.
Counselling can be like a reality check and a skilled therapist will not only allow you to release some of your feelings but assist you to re-establish connections to your values, beliefs and most importantly your sense of who you are. Who are the people who are most important in your life? Where are you in relation to these loved ones now and how might you return them to their rightful place in your life?
Attending counselling can provide stability in times of crisis as well as remind you of strategies you can use to switch off from responsibilities and expectations when you need to. Often, just talking about what is realistic and what is possible can clear the way for a fresh start. Burnout can leave us with a story of failure but a therapist can draw out other stories that are more positive and inspiring.
Narrative Therapy is geared towards recovering a deeper sense of meaning to life and resetting priorities so they are more in touch with your own principles. Before we can reclaim a sense of who we are, it may help to share what it was that we valued about our lives before Burnout. A counsellor can enquire into this and help you develop your own understanding of the best ways forward.
8 Ways to Recover Yourself from Burnout
- Ask for support from colleagues and those you love.
- Place limits on what is asked of you and how much you do yourself.
- Discard unrealistic expectations.
- Reframe ‘failures’ as achievements.
- Make firmer boundaries between work and private life.
- Create a sense of ritual around regular activities that you enjoy.
- Remember to play.
- Book a therapeutic conversation with a professional counsellor.
For more information or to make an appointment go to www.forwardtherapy.com