Today we live in a fast-paced world, where busyness and performance are highly valued and everyone seems constantly stressed as a result. At work, we go through the rapid pace of changes, unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload and always-on culture. Is it a real surprise that work-related stress accounts for over half of all working days lost due to ill health in Great Britain and job burnout in the US alone costs approximately ~160 billion US dollars each year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. In 2019, WHO finally recognised burnout as a medical condition.

As per WHO, chronic stress or burnout is characterised by three dimensions:

1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

3. reduced professional efficacy

While I agree with point number 1 that the exhaustion of the system and lack of rejuvenation lead to a burnout, the points 2 and 3 are just an outcome of the same.

Today we live in a fast-paced world, where busyness and performance are highly valued and everyone seems constantly stressed as a result. At work, we go through the rapid pace of changes, unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload and always-on culture. Is it a real surprise that work-related stress accounts for over half of all working days lost due to ill health in Great Britain and job burnout in the US alone costs approximately ~160 billion US dollars each year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. In 2019, WHO finally recognised burnout as a medical condition.

As per WHO, chronic stress or burnout is characterised by three dimensions:

1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

3. reduced professional efficacy

While I agree with point number 1 that the exhaustion of the system and lack of rejuvenation lead to a burnout, the points 2 and 3 are just an outcome of the same.

Let’s look at our human system and understand the burnout.

Have you noticed, when you get a new mobile phone that the battery lasts long in the beginning and after 2 years, you will need to recharge it a few times per day as it just won’t hold the energy anymore? This is a burnout on the phone scale.

Our human system consists of different layers: we have a physical body, mental body, emotional body and energy body. If we go back to the example of a mobile phone: hardware is our body; software is our mind and emotions. But no phone will ever work if don’t plug it in to an energy source. The same with our system: if there is a constant energy depletion, the system won’t just work properly anymore, will reach an exhaustion stage and collapse at some point.

Burnout can be explained through the formula:

Energy in < energy out = burnout

Let’s look at our human system and understand the burnout.

Have you noticed, when you get a new mobile phone that the battery lasts long in the beginning and after 2 years, you will need to recharge it a few times per day as it just won’t hold the energy anymore? This is a burnout on the phone scale.

Our human system consists of different layers: we have a physical body, mental body, emotional body and energy body. If we go back to the example of a mobile phone: hardware is our body; software is our mind and emotions. But no phone will ever work if don’t plug it in to an energy source. The same with our system: if there is a constant energy depletion, the system won’t just work properly anymore, will reach an exhaustion stage and collapse at some point.

Burnout can be explained through the formula:

Energy in < energy out = burnout

We have a certain defence system in our physiology known as the “fight or flight response”. In ancient times, the situation our ancestors faced in life was simple or at least the response demanded of them was. If they came across a wild animal, they had only 2 choices: fight the animal or run away from it. To do that, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) would be activated as the mind is signalling that there is an immediate physical danger. The whole system goes into survival mode: it releases adrenaline and cortisol to ensure the body is ready for action; the heartbeat quickens, breathing gets faster and the entire body becomes tense and ready to take action.

But today, we have created a situation where we live in a constant stream of stressful situations and constantly activate our fight or flight system. The train is late, the deadline is not met, the queue is too long – we send the same signal to the brain as if we were facing that wild animal, even though the things we are stressing about are very small and not life-threatening at all.

Ultimately, it makes our system drive itself much faster than its natural pace and requires a high amount of energy and recharge. It is the same if you drive your car at 50 miles per hour, the engine life may be 100,000 miles. If you drive the same car at 100 miles per hour, the engine life will be considerably less.

Also, for an engine to run at maximum efficiency all of the time, it must have a very good maintenance programme. If it does not, a breakdown or engine failure is inevitable. You can have low-performance and high-performance maintenance. If you use your car for a basic commute, a low performance maintenance will be enough for it. If you use your car for racing, this is a different game and high-performance maintenance will be required. Unfortunately, we as humans don’t apply this principle to ourselves. The job and pressure of life demand high performance of us without factoring in adequate maintenance schedules, which leads to eventual and inevitable breakdown or burnout.

We have a certain defence system in our physiology known as the “fight or flight response”. In ancient times, the situation our ancestors faced in life was simple or at least the response demanded of them was. If they came across a wild animal, they had only 2 choices: fight the animal or run away from it. To do that, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) would be activated as the mind is signalling that there is an immediate physical danger. The whole system goes into survival mode: it releases adrenaline and cortisol to ensure the body is ready for action; the heartbeat quickens, breathing gets faster and the entire body becomes tense and ready to take action.

But today, we have created a situation where we live in a constant stream of stressful situations and constantly activate our fight or flight system. The train is late, the deadline is not met, the queue is too long – we send the same signal to the brain as if we were facing that wild animal, even though the things we are stressing about are very small and not life-threatening at all.

Ultimately, it makes our system drive itself much faster than its natural pace and requires a high amount of energy and recharge. It is the same if you drive your car at 50 miles per hour, the engine life may be 100,000 miles. If you drive the same car at 100 miles per hour, the engine life will be considerably less.

Also, for an engine to run at maximum efficiency all of the time, it must have a very good maintenance programme. If it does not, a breakdown or engine failure is inevitable. You can have low-performance and high-performance maintenance. If you use your car for a basic commute, a low performance maintenance will be enough for it. If you use your car for racing, this is a different game and high-performance maintenance will be required. Unfortunately, we as humans don’t apply this principle to ourselves. The job and pressure of life demand high performance of us without factoring in adequate maintenance schedules, which leads to eventual and inevitable breakdown or burnout.

While there is lots of talk of stress, fight and flight, there is not much talk about an effective solution. But the solution is within us! We also have a parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) in our system that creates the opposite effect of SNS: it slows down the rate of heart, blood pressure and respiration. On the whole, it restores the body to a state of calm so that the body can conserve energy and recover.

Both systems, SNS and PNS cannot operate at the same time, therefore using relaxation techniques, like yoga, mindfulness, meditation and others, you can activate PNS in order to help your system to relax and recover. This is exactly what we use as a base for our wellbeing programmes. LEARN MORE. All stress, burnout, chronic ailments, etc can be reversed as a result.

Unfortunately, our Western culture does not value rest, relaxation and leisure but to deal with high stress levels this is exactly the long-term solution that we need.

While there is lots of talk of stress, fight and flight, there is not much talk about an effective solution. But the solution is within us! We also have a parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) in our system that creates the opposite effect of SNS: it slows down the rate of heart, blood pressure and respiration. On the whole, it restores the body to a state of calm so that the body can conserve energy and recover.

Both systems, SNS and PNS cannot operate at the same time, therefore using relaxation techniques, like yoga, mindfulness, meditation and others, you can activate PNS in order to help your system to relax and recover. This is exactly what we use as a base for our wellbeing programmes. LEARN MORE. All stress, burnout, chronic ailments, etc can be reversed as a result.

Unfortunately, our Western culture does not value rest, relaxation and leisure but to deal with high stress levels this is exactly the long-term solution that we need.

 

If you are ready to leap off the mad hamster wheel of stress and anxiety in your life and shift into a deep space of inner peace, then I invite you to get on a call with me.

On this call, I will guide you to:

  • Discover your current wellbeing score
  • Work out your perfect lifestyle
  • Map out your wellbeing & lifestyle makeover

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