Burnout is becoming a significant health problem in Australia. ‘The World Health Organization upgraded its assessment of the threat posed by burnout. The condition, says the WHO, is a “syndrome” involving a range of symptoms related to chronic stress.’
After working in an industry helping many others overcome their own journey of burnout and with my own significant experience of burnout, I have collated a tried and true list of tips and techniques that work when treating burnout.
The biggest advice and tips that I can provide in treating burnout is time. You absolutely must give yourself time to recover fully and thoroughly.
In particular, I encourage you to become familiar with the concept of “cave time.” You might like to compare this to hibernation. Hibernation is a natural cycle that some animals experience in which they become inactive as part of their survival. This state of inactivity is called torpor. But don’t be fooled because this state of inactivity is actually filled with getting stuff done.
This cave time method is as pertinent to the clients I’ve worked with that have had chronic fatigue syndrome for more than twenty years as it is to the people in their early twenties experiencing burnout for the very first time.
Give yourself time
It’s crucial you are patient with yourself and the amount of cave time you need. And as I’ve looked at in what is chronic burnout?, you might need more cave time than you initially suspect. Beating yourself up over this and going against reality, will not help you heal any quicker. It may, in fact, even hamper the process.
Understand that you won’t be able to just go back to doing the things you used to do, such as socialising or sport. You will need to gradually integrate even the simple things back into your life, with small and easy steps, as you move back towards wellness. Just like if you broke your leg and was in a cast for six weeks, you wouldn’t expect your leg muscles to instantly redevelop and feel confident on your feet again without crutches after only a few days or a week. Your body needs time.
Ordinarily in my practice, most people take around 18 months to two years to recover from burnout from the time they start actively treating it like a recovery process. If you think this sounds like a long time, think about how long it took for you to burnout?
Two years of real recovery is actually relatively quick when it comes to changing any habits or patterns or behaviours, let alone when it comes to chronic disease. And now that it is a recognised illness, you are in a position to treat it as such.
During this recovery period of treating burning, I urge you to really learn (or even relearn) the meaning of true small steps.
For example, this is what a small step is:
I will open the front door.
This is NOT what a small step is:
I will open the front door, walk down the road to the shop and get some milk, bread and a newspaper.
Readjust your expectations of what you can do and pull back from pushing yourself too much.
Caring for the self is one of the most potent ways of getting back to wellness after a period of burnout. Rather than overwhelming yourself with a million more things to do, take small steps. Firstly, undertake the self care audit which you can find in my free ebook, The New Self Care.
Often times in our society, we set ourselves up financially so that we can’t ever recover from chronic disease of any kind. Our societal expectations mean that the majority of people are overburdened or overcommitted financially, so much so that it is almost impossible for them to actually stop and take the necessary time for recovery.
This is where some serious reassessing, restructuring and reprioritising will come in handy and I strongly recommend you do this with a counsellor or coach. Getting the help of a professional will help you find ways to give yourself the recovery time you need, without the financial and career burdens that can ordinarily prevent your real recovery from burnout.
Book a counselling appointment in Adelaide today and start your recovery from burnout.