Answers to questions which are very relevant in the current times are provided by the psychiatrist, psychotherapy specialist in hypnotherapy Dace Simsone from the Latvian health tourism cluster “Clinic Dzintari”.
There are various definitions of the burnout syndrome, there isn’t a single unanimous definition. It is important to be aware that the people who suffer from this syndrome most frequently are professionals who directly work with people, especially with people who are suffering – healthcare workers, social workers, policemen and policewomen, emergency workers, etc.
Herbert Freudenberger, in 1974 defined burnout syndrome as a chronic exhaustion syndrome.
Kristina Maslach, 1982 – emotional burnout is the cost for compassion – professional burnout – storing up negative emotions, without sufficient reaction to negative emotions which leads to “a deficiency in the emotionally–energetic and personality resources”.
Burnout is defined also as an combination of emotional exhaustion that also impacts the person’s physical well-being and exhaustion. It is believed that burnout develops as a result of chronic, long-term impact of uncontrollable work conditions, which is further strengthened by features unique to each individual, by physical health issues – the employee feels helpless, hopeless, and powerless.
Emotional exhaustion is the main component of professional burnout, it is characterized by:
emotional overload, sense of emptiness, depletion of personal emotional resources, tiredness, lack of energy;
depersonalization – insensitive, cynical attitude towards clients, colleagues, leadership. Relationships with others become impersonal and formal;
weak personal success (growth) – lowered sense of work competency, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of low self-worth, sense of one’s capacities being limited, negative self-image from the professional standpoint.
Risk factors for a burnout:
1. A clearly driven, “workaholic”, perfectionist personality.
2. Low self-esteem, insufficient self-awareness.
3. A combination of constant stress and long work hours.
4. Bad relationships with colleagues.
5. Difficulties in resolving conflicts at home and at the workplace.
6. Weak stress management skills (smoking, using alcohol, using drugs, avoidance, confrontation).
7. Lack of time for self-care.
8. Feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day to complete all work tasks.
9. Regrets over the chosen speciality (profession).
10. Lack of control over the work schedule or the processes at the office.
11. Rapid introduction of new electronic tools at the workplace.
12. For healthcare workers – increase in the bureaucracy and complex and demanding patient groups.
Tiredness – constant emotional or physical tiredness.
Lack of motivation in work and everyday life.
Thoughts about work outside of work time, “I won’t succeed, it’s not worth it”.
Reduction in work success both in the short term and in the long term, indifference towards the result.
Irritation, cynicism and other negative emotions.
Problems in interacting with others – conflicts or distancing.
Comprehension problems, tendency to focus on the negative.
Loss of satisfaction, feelings of being useless, etc.
Reduced care for oneself – lack of care about one’s health, sleep hygiene.
Use of alcohol and sleep medications.
Burnout syndrome is a psychological change, which alters the psychological structure of the personality and leads to a professional deformation.
Stage 1 – reduction in self-esteem, difficulties in completing simple work tasks, forgetfulness.
Stage 2 – loneliness, reduced interest in work, lack of wanting to contact others, apathy, exhaustion at the end of the week, frequent catching of colds.
Stage 3 – emotional exhaustion, somatization – indifference, hardening, constant feeling of weakness, physical symptoms.
Be careful towards yourself and your relatives—notice the first signs of tiredness on time.
Love yourself and your closest ones. It will allow you to believe in your own strengths and will positively encourage you.
Stop using work as a substitute for happiness or as a saviour.
Live your own life, not the lives of others, be next to others, support them when necessary, but, if you really wish to help someone, ask yourself: does he really need it? Maybe he can take care of it by himself?
Find time to devote to yourself, you have the right not only to work, but also to private life.
Learn how to thoughtfully review the events of each day. You can start a new tradition — to review the events of each day every evening.
Possible personality instruments and qualities that protect against against a burnout (they can be discovered in oneself, practiced, learned, and used):
1. A healthy temper and a sense of humour.
2. Being self-aware, thinking over and adjusting oneself to one’s personal needs.
3. Acknowledging important core values.
4. Developing in oneself an optimistic life and work philosophy.
5. Have a healthy attitude towards criticism and be able to forgive.
6. Be compassionate and accept oneself and others.
7. Understand if someone is interfering with your work.
8. Develop healthy boundaries and know when to say no or when to step back.
9. Maintaining a balance between work and life with regular regenerative time spent away from work.
10. Supportive and caring friends, family and colleagues.
11. Maintain balanced, healthy eating, regularly work out and pay attention to the needs of the mind and the body.
Create a list of short-term and long-term tasks, exclude from it tasks you cannot complete: organize the tasks according to the level of difficulty, start with the easiest. Break down the solving of the most important tasks into stages. Create a list of priorities, an order in which to complete tasks, evaluate their deadlines and the resources needed to complete them.
Organize the workplace, the desk; make sure that there are good lighting conditions at the workplace.
Don’t be afraid to refuse extra work, try to be less demanding towards yourself.
Relaxing exercises, breathing exercises.
Talk problems over with friends, family members, colleagues.
Organize leisure, physical activities, sufficient sleep.
The program is “For the prophylaxis of the burnout syndrome” – 5 days/4 nights, prices starting from 549 EUR, the program includes:
Night stay at a single Economy class room with breakfast and SPA zone attendance, WiFi, at the hotel “Daina Jurmala Beach Hotel & SPA” – 4 nights
Doctor’s consultation 45 min – 1x
Repeated doctor’s consultation 20 min – 1x
Individual physiotherapist’s consultation 40 min – 1x
Medicamental therapy following the doctor’s referral
Group classes under the guidance of a physiotherapist 45 min – 3x
Consciousness activation training led by a psychotherapy specialist in hypnotherapy 60 min – 2x
Face procedure “Algo Energy” 60 min – 1x
Body procedure “Long-lasting softness of the skin” 30 min – 1x
Feet massage 30 min – 1x
Exclusive SPA program for energy and tonus ”Amazon” 120 min – 1x
Head massage 20 min – 1x
Procedure against tiredness of the feet “Velvet feet” 45 min – 1x
A true healer knows that health can be attained only then if a balance between the body, emotions, the mind and the spirit is encouraged… first within themselves and then in the patient. —HARDARD SILVERMAN, MD
The main strategy based on evidence:
1. Increase your physical activity.
2. Eat healthier food.
3. Avoid tobacco.
4. Use alcohol moderately or don’t use it at all.
5. Recognize and pay attention to stress and the connection between mind and body.
Prophylaxis and health have three main pillars:
(1) that what we put into the body (for example, nutrition, medicaments, additives, vitamins)
2) how we move our body (for example, exercises, manual therapy procedures), and
(3) how we perceive the world (for example, the connection between the mind and the body).
Mindfulness of the mind and the body and practice which is relevant to such subjective fields as emotions, meaning and goal, as well as connection with others, can be the least recognized, but the most important aspect of good health.
Mindfulness practice is the main dimension of the mind and the body which focuses on all health aspects.
Strategies that help to reduce burning out:
Instructive balance, “interior and exterior” of personal needs. At any given moment, ask: “What do I need?” In some situations, we require various things from life’s physical, psychological, emotional and mental aspects. A balance has to be maintained and there are moments when we have to express ourselves, but there are also moments when we have to invest in ourselves to be able to regenerate and continue a healthy path of life.
Letting out energy: don’t sustain tension – free your body from tension and excessive stimulation. Examples: movement, exercises, physical activities.
Energy in a regenerative state – to increase energy, when it has physically been used up. Examples: rest, sleep, food, water.
Energy expenditure: avoiding burdening oneself – actively searching for answers and resolving lack of clarity. Examples: analysis, insight, solving problems, discovery, learning.
Energy in a regenerative state – absorbing peace and balance, getting rid of emotional turmoil and chattering. Examples: meditation, silence, mental rest.
Releasing energy: one that does not burden you – cathartic, beat it out. Examples: emotional expression, for example, journalism, singing, a conversation with a consultant, “shouting” technique.
Energy in a regenerative state – reception of emotional care and support. Examples: love, laughs, kindness, positive touch.
Acknowledging and admitting that what is of personal importance in life, what creates a sense of wonder and admiration, is connected to something and something (someone), that is outside of oneself – it can be religious or not religious depending on the person. Examples: develop a connection with loved ones, be in the nature, recognize and express love, feel joy and get on with life. It is important that a burnout is not static, but instead is a dynamic process, which changes over time depending on various degrees of stress at work and in life, and the duration of these stages.
The path to health and well-being starts with self-reflection, self-awareness and small steps that include regular physical activities, reasonably healthy nutrition, avoidance of using narcotic substances and other work and life changes, that could be well-suited depending on the individual’s personality.