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Burnout vs Stress


Almost everyone is a creature of habit who feels in control when things go as planned but feels anxious and stressed when life throws a curveball. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, people have continuously faced uncertainty and changes to their regular practice and work routines. Whether a loss of work hours, redeployment, or loss of employment, understandably, the changes have led to anxiety, emotional fatigue, and stress.

When feelings of loneliness, fear, anxiety and isolation creep in we remind you, you are not alone. These are normal responses when a person faces challenges and does not mean that you are not coping well. Unfortunately, experiencing stress for too long, a state often accompanied by high blood pressure, high heart rate, elevated cortisol levels, and domination of the flight over rest and digestion, can ultimately lead to burnout.



BURNOUT LEAVES A SCAR The WHO’s definition of burnout has three elements: feeling exhausted, disenchantment, cynicism about your job, and reduced productivity at work. Even worse, research now demonstrates that burnout is not a state of mind but a condition that leaves a scar on the body and brain. Most burnout symptoms coincide with those of depression, but the condition has other specific effects on the brain where it fails to shift states easily, maintain a positive mood balance and utilize energy.

Besides, it has far-ranging physical effects on the brain. Enlargement of the amygdala is among the major neurological symptoms of burnout. Amygdala is a part of the brain crucial for processing fear and emotions. Besides, a study review also reveals that people suffering from burnout frequently reported problems with attention, memory, and cognitive functions such as decision making.


MORE THAN FATIGUE Burnout differs from stress in that you have no hope of overcoming your obstacles when under burnout. Under stress, you still have the gas to struggle and cope with pressures. Burnout is more than fatigue since it gives a sense of hopelessness and disillusionment that your efforts bore no fruits. Life starts to lose meaning, your motivations and interests dry up, and small tasks begin to feel difficult such that you can’t meet even the smallest obligations.

Although findings allude that the two are mutually reinforcing, burnout has a greater impact on stress. An individual with severe burnout is likely to feel more stressed at work. In fact, such an employee would require adequate support to break the vicious cycle between stress and burnout.


So what can you do? Taking your time to develop a self-care routine is the best way to ensure emotional and even physical fitness.


Perhaps you have heard about the hormone cortisol, which has a role in responding well to stress. It follows a circadian day pattern where its concentration in the blood is high in the morning but reaches almost zero as you go to sleep in the evening.

Take a nature walk and perform a 30-minutes yoga in the morning to keep your cortisol in check and increase activity in your calm and control system. But if you start by checking your mails or news feed, your stress hormone increases, and bringing them back into line might take you the entire day. You can also perform other great morning rituals, such as singing in the shower and diaphragmatic breathing.


Pick a pen and slate and write down things that make you feel joyful. When you are through, close your eyes and allow each idea to get into you, almost like visualizing the moment. Breathe through the feeling of joy and allow it to dominate the rest of your day.


It involves performing an act of kindness during your day to give joy to someone. It could be a text to someone you care about or holding the door open for someone. You can also make a simple effort of picking up a piece of trash along your street or planting a small herb. Such micro-moments can be a game-changer and give your days a sparkling start.


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