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6 Myths About Burnout

Is Burnout Real?

The fact that burnout is officially not a diagnosis, can leave some people skeptical of whether it really exists. In fact, Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive, went on record stating that she believed burnout does not exist. Instead, she believes that the signs and symptoms people experience relate more to resentment about not being able to do what they want.

Fortunately, most people do recognize burnout as real, and recognize it as a real threat to people’s productivity and overall quality of life.

Although the word “burnout” doesn’t even exist in many dictionaries, here’s what we can find about burnout in Wikipedia:

Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic occupational stress (e.g., work overload). However, there is growing evidence that its etiology is multifactorial in nature, with dispositional factors playing an important role. Although it is widespread, burnout is not recognized as a distinct disorder, in the DSM-5, because burnout is problematically close to depressive disorders. However, it is included in the ICD-10, and can be found under problems related to life-management difficulty.

The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of clinical depression; in a study that directly compared depressive symptoms in burned out workers and clinically depressed patients, no diagnostically significant differences were found between the two groups: burned out workers reported as many depressive symptoms as clinically depressed patients. Moreover, a study by Bianchi, Schonfeld, and Laurent (2014) showed that about 90% of burned out workers meet diagnostic criteria for depression, suggesting that burnout may be a depressive syndrome rather than a distinct entity. The view that burnout is a form of depression has found support in several recent studies.

This shows that still little is know about the root cause of the symptom, and that science and health care are more convinced it is a mental condition, rather than a physical condition.

In the light of all the above, we wanted to share 6 Myths About Burnout that you may hear from others:

1. Only weak people suffer burnout

This is not true. Everyone in all walks of life suffers burnout. Many tend to be “go-getters” and “type A personalities” that have a lot on their plates.

2. You just need a good night of sleep and you will feel better

By the time burnout has set in, one night of good sleep is not enough. When you are experiencing burnout, your sleep is disrupted. You will wake up, even after eight hours of sleep, feeling unrefreshed.

3. You just need more fresh air

When you are not feeling well due to burnout, those who have not experienced it, think they know what you have to do to get better. They will offer all sorts of advice such as getting a good night of rest or fresh air. And although rest and fresh air are very good natural healers, it is more complex than this. Healing from burnout takes time, unfortunately real long time. You have to heal your body on the inside (adrenal glands) before you begin to notice significant changes in how you feel.

4. It is your fault that you are feeling burnt out

Although part of it may be due to poor lifestyle choices, putting the blame on yourself is not going to make the situation better. Instead, you need to learn what led to this predicament and what you can do now to get better. You will need to focus on things like improving your diet, sleep, and stress reduction techniques, to name a few, and as it is a real serious health condition, you’ll probably will need to make some drastic changes in almost everything you did before in your life.

5. You need to exercise more

While exercise is normally recommended for improving energy, if your burnout is significant, exercise that is too vigorous can actually be detrimental to recovery. Instead, it is better to do light exercise and activity until you are well on your road to health again. Think moving your body to improve stamina, and only when you feel you are gaining in strength you should start increasing with more vigorous fitness. Relaxed walking, beginners Qi Gong or light Yoga or Paleo exercises are the better options when you suffer from burnout. That said, by all means try to avoid to stay in bed for too long or sitting for too many hours in a row, as you’ll need gentle body movement to stimulate your inner healing system.

6. Burnout is only a psychological problem

Although burnout includes psychological components, burnout also involves physical changes in your body. In particular, your hormonal symptoms and your immune system get disrupted and contribute to the symptoms you are experiencing. That is why treatment of burnout should involve methods that address both psychological and physical well-being. If you have a relaxed walk in nature or your nearest park, you’ll not only get fresh air and a good exercise to stimulate the energy flow throughout your body, but the green scenery of nature will have a mental effect that will reinvigorate your psychological state too.

Isn’t it strange, that although burnout is not (yet) an official diagnosis, international renewed natural health physician Dr. Joseph Mercola addressed the symptom of burnout amongst Physicians…

Go figure! So maybe it can become a real “diagnosis” now that physicians are not only recognizing it, but actually many are suffering from it…

Watch the video to listen what Dr. Mercola has to say about Physicians Burnout:

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