We all have extremely busy lifestyles these days – both work and play can be challenging or just plain hectic. Many of us ‘push on through’, thinking that a bit of extra effort, working longer hours, or plain ‘grit and determination’ will take us through a particularly challenging period and into calmer waters. This strategy can work, though we may well be pretty exhausted afterwards. But generally, a few days of taking it easy, or having a short break, can be enough to recharge and bounce back.
However, this only works for a limited period of time. And then it stops working, whilst we get more and more worn down by the busyness. I am a psychotherapist and burnout specialist, so I see plenty of people in this situation. Here’s a recent complaint from just such a client, Fiona.
I don’t understand why I’m not bouncing back. Work is hectic but I can usually just push through. Over the last few months I’m constantly exhausted, it’s hard to stay focused at work, even small decisions are feeling too much, and I’ve felt tearful and overwhelmed. This isn’t me!
Does this sound familiar? Or do you know someone who’s at this point?
Fiona is describing a state of burnout, which is surprisingly common, even for high achievers. In fact it is often the most dedicated people who end up needing to see me!
Working lives are considerably more pressured, with high workloads, smaller teams and longer hours plus the extra strain from phones, emails and social media. When we are under stress, we still have a reserve tank to draw from, even when exhausted. So we usually bounce back after a few days. But in burnout we’ve used up that reserve, and have nothing left. Indeed, pushing through will only make things worse.
Few people know how to deal with burnout – it’s not what you might expect. Psychotherapy with a burnout specialist can help you get back to your capable self quickly - and make small but essential adjustments to your lifestyle to keep you there.