To Pick oneself up from a burnout (and not to fall into it again)
This is a follow-up of a previous article on “Negotiate your departure after a Burnout”.
The burnout is an overheating state from an excess of stress related to a feeling of being submerged by the volume of tasks to be accomplished.
Psychological signs of this are mental exhaustion, low self-esteem, irritability, hyper sensibility, hyper vigilance, a state of alert, a promptitude to anger, tears and conflicts at work and at home.
A series of physical troubles may also occur such as permanent tiredness, headaches, gastrointestinal troubles, sleeping and/or sexuality dysfunctions.
Stress is a living body’s normal & mandatory adaptation mechanism. It becomes pathological when it exceeds the person’s response capabilities. At that time, the person simply can no longer act or think. She is like stuck. This is a very painful state and it is necessary to seek help from a physician and a psychotherapist.
Not falling back again into a burnout recovers at least the following aspects:
- Learn to say No et set up limits;
- Listen to one self (feel)
- Get out of the victim position
- Get help (from a physician, coach, therapist, lawyer, union …)
Let’s overlook a couple of points for the purpose of this article.
Learn to say no and set up limits.
This a very broad subject.
What meaning and interest would there be to set up limits to oneself and others?
Frist of all, to respect yourself and be respected, in the sense of not being mistreated by yourself or others.
Also, to protect yourself, meaning to protect the territory of your identity in the broad sense of the word, psychologically and physically.
Finally, it is about expressing and reclaim your personal power in existing and manifesting yourself to the world as an important person in your own eyes and be responsible of your life.
What is Set up limits about?
It is about feeling and knowing up to what level you’re OK to go, do, work, spend energy, receive, accept, refuse … so, it is about enforcing these limits with oneself and others. Therefore, it is sometimes about saying no to what’s being required of you, either explicitly or implicitly, or even to what you imagine is expected of you.
This requires you to “listen” to your inner feelings as well as to work on what it means for you to accept all requests, to feel in an obligation to give yourself, body and soul, to a professional activity and to take on more and more, endlessly.
This means look at your say-no related fears and set up limits when the amount of work required of you steps into your personal life excessively and generates a damageable stress to your well-being or health.
The difficulty to say no (not as a rebel who compulsively says no to exist) is often about a “Please me” belief installed by the person in its development. This comes from explicit or implicit parental messages leading to the idea that you will be accepted, recognized, loved only if you agree to requests from others. Or, more specifically, say yes to please others is the mean to be recognized and accepted.
The coaching is about to explore et details step-by-step concrete situations and identify from which part of yourself you interact. Is it from:
- Your inner Compliant Child who fears to be rejected and not loved any more, and who will mobilise a lot of energy to always comply?
- Your inner Rebellious Child who will always stand against everything and everyone?
- Your inner Critical Parent who will find unacceptable such amount of work request and lecture everyone around you including your management with “you must”, “you have to “…
- Your inner Adult which the part of you in relation with the reality of the here and now, which evaluates and appraise a situation. It receives lots of information from the other parts of yourself and chooses to accept or refuse given all the parameters.
So, the work will consist of training yourself, with the coach’s help, to reinforce and muscle your Adult so that your choices be true decisions which you take responsibility for.
Listen to one self (feel)
To reach what was just outlined, it is mandatory to “listen” to yourself, meaning to accept to let you feel or know what your inner different parts are saying to your Adult about the situation.
If we pay attention to our inner entities we have a lot more information than we think, may be except when the situation is of a traumatic nature in which case all our mental and inner engines are stalled.
Even if our appraisal of a situation is blurred our intuition can be a very precious source of information. Providing we accept to listen to it, it is often accurate and a good advisor.
Muscle up this listening capability is a learning curve and can be developed. The good news is we can all do that.
Set up and enforce limits as well as listening to oneself can be learned. The coach is here to help you with the learning curve which, unfortunately, is something that have not been followed for a number of persons during their development.
In a future article called “Ego and Role”, I will continue to develop other elements in relation with the Burnout.