How did you overcome serious mental, emotional, and or physical burn-out and exhaustion?
Burnout is a common experience. In some professions, burnout rates exceed 25% (1). If you haven't experienced it yourself, you probably know someone who has.
From a health standpoint, burnout has been found to be associated with low levels of physical activity, obesity, exhaustion, heavy drinking, and diminished professional efficacy (2).
Obviously, it's a personal and social problem that warrants attention.
I'd like to share my response to the Quora question, which included the following comments:
I think serious burnout results from the interplay of circumstances and personality. Circumstances would include things like your job, financial and relationship stresses. Personality factors would include things qualities such as ambition/drive, altruism, and degree of comfort when setting boundaries, along with the existence of, or vulnerability to, other conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
As is the case in most instances of recovery, the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem. If you continue to think you have to "tough it out", or that ignoring it will make it go away, you will continue to have episodes of burnout.
It's too easy to say "just stop". That's not always feasible. Some people don't have the option of quitting their jobs or leaving difficult relationships.
The things that helped me most to recover were these:
- an honest self-assessment of the factors that led me to burnout
- the decision (and capacity) to leave healthcare for a while
- implementing a set of regular routines (times for sleep and getting up, mealtimes, etc) to support physical recovery
- learning how to shift my perspective to manage my stress and make it easier to say "No" when required
The most important steps were the first and the last. Wayne Dyer says:
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
It's true, and completely under your control.
10 Life Changing Tips Inspired By Wayne Dyer
(1) Dyrbye, Liselotte N., et al. "Burnout among US medical students, residents, and early career physicians relative to the general US population." Academic Medicine 89.3 (2014): 443-451.
(2) Ahola, Kirsi, et al. "Burnout and behavior-related health risk factors: results from the population-based Finnish health 2000 study." Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 54.1 (2012): 17-22.