Moira Newiss, Dip ION BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist offers valuable advice on dealing with burnout to balance, something that we've all suffered from during our busy work schedules.
Burnout - What is it?
Burnout NHS Definition: Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands.
According to Moira, who specializes in burnout and chronic fatigue, burnout is the end result of stress and exhaustion when you reach the end of the road and you can't do what you've been doing anymore and change becomes a must.
What are its effects on our body and why does it occur?
Burnout is your body's way of dealing with stress; it sends your brain into a survival mode. During extreme stress, your body does not know the difference between an attacking lion and a large pile of emails with approaching deadlines.
In some cases, our bodies might go into a "freeze state" which is also similar to what you might experience during an attack when your body freezes to save energy.
Burnout happens when your body can no longer handle stress. When it gets too much your body goes into survival mode in order to relax and stop the avalanche of stress.
We often think of stress as something being mental, but according to Moira many things like dehydration or low blood sugar, noise, heat etc… can trigger stress.
How can you spot it?
According to Moira, these are the top five signs of burnout:
1. You Feel Exhausted-emotionally, mentally, physically
2. You Are More Cynical- and becoming isolated and detached
3. You Feel Useless - your brain seems to be shutting down
4. You Are Not Sleeping Well-maybe use coffee, sugar or alcohol to cope
5. You Have Physical Health Problems - gut issues, dizziness, palpitations, high blood pressure, blood sugar issues and regular sore throats or colds.
How to treat and/or avoid it?
- You are what you eat: Having a healthy diet and being hydrated isn't just good for your body but also your brain and it could help reduce the level of stress thus avoiding burnout. To maintain this healthy diet you must start by drinking water, eating lots of colourful plant food especially organics and Leafy Greens, adding some healthy fats like nuts and seeds, adding proteins to your every meal and cutting out Sugar & Refined Carbohydrates (Cake & Crisps).
- Prioritize sleep: Burnout is often associated with sleep problems. Less sleep always equals more stress. So, don't underestimate the importance of sleep for the healthy functioning of your body and energy level. It's time you get those seven hours of sleep.
- Breathing: Just breathe! Rapid breathing caused by stress leads to a lot of your organs being deprived of oxygen. According to Moira, you can easily take control of your breathing in less than a minute and avoid hyperventilation. Just close your eyes, picture your favourite place, put your hand on your stomach and find your diaphragm, put a reminder on-screen to breathe deeply when you next do your emails.
Try three deep breaths every time you notice you are stressed.
- Make sure to move: Most jobs these days have you sitting for long periods of time staring at a screen. Here are some suggestions by Moira to keep you active and help you reduce stress and burnout by moving:
1. Avoid sitting for long periods - the longer you sit the bigger your risk of poor health
2. Motivate Yourself To Move - set a timer to get up and stretch/walk around2. Motivate Yourself To Move - set a timer to get up and stretch/walk around
3. If you are feeling exhausted don't try to do too much - gentle yoga or pilates are good options
4. Avoid being a weekend warrior - build exercise into your daily schedule.
Other steps of reducing stress and avoiding burnout include spending some time outside in nature "nature is a healer" and discovering the art of rest by finding the right thing which makes you calm and relaxed.
Want to learn more? Download Moira's free eBook: Burnout to Balance
or connect directly with Moira for more advice at https://www.moiranewiss.co.uk/nutritional-therapy-cfs-long-covid
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