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How to Avoid the Burnout Epidemic

By Sandy Schroeder

Burnout seems to be turning up everywhere. Doctors, nurses, accountants, moms, dads and students are all reporting some of the symptoms. I know I can relate, and you might be feeling some of the effects as you wade through 24-hour news, nonstop calls, and ongoing pressures from work and family.

We used to work hard, and then go home and forget about it until the next morning. Now we live with a background chatter that never really shuts down. Organizations complicate the problem by rewarding people who work long hours and act as if it is normal to stay connected around the clock.

Doctors define burnout as, "chronic stress gone awry." They say there are three major symptoms, according to the New York Times.

  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Feeling ineffective

Other symptoms are insomnia, ongoing colds, overeating, binge drinking or online shopping

Most of us can relate to some of those symptoms now and then, but when they take over, burnout may be taking up residence. You just forget to smile, always react with doubt and skepticism, and frequently feel like your world is out of control.

Understanding Burnout

We all have stressors such as worries about the future, lengthy lists that never get finished, or financial pressures, but chronic stress is the mental and physical shift that you feel when the stressors win.

To fix burnout it is crucial to deal with the stress itself, not just run faster to accomplish everything to make it go away. When people ignore the symptoms and forge ahead a panic attack may be next. I have a friend who had a severe shock. Seconds later she could not breathe and thought she was having a heart attack. ER told her it was a panic attack. Later, she worked through the issue with a therapist and found out panic attacks were hereditary in her family.

Shutting Down Burnout

If you suspect you are having burnout, talk with your doctor and consider seeing a therapist to work on the problem. At the same time you can take some daily steps to turn things around. Daily exercise outside, a healthy sleep routine with seven to nine hours of rest every night, and frequent interactions with friends, family and neighbors may help you regain your balance.

As you take steps to take more breaks, work less hours, or make time for your family, you may find yourself drifting back to the all-consuming 24/7 routine. At that point, you have to decide who comes first, you, or the demands around you. Making the effort to find a balance is well worth it. You will know it when you achieve it. You may smile more and relax enough to enjoy life as it is. Enjoy!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla.

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