A silhouette of a man's profile against a blended blue, green and orange background. The man has lowered his head towards his hand as if feeling stressed and about to burn out. The man is contemplating about stress and burnout therapy.

Men and Burnout – How Are You Coping?

There is a lot of talk about men’s mental health and burnout lately in today’s media. You see it in the news and sometimes on your friends’ Facebook feed. Nowadays, more men are opening up and using public forums to discuss their real struggles and vulnerabilities.

Even though you know your mental health is important, it’s easy to overlook self-care when you’re busy. This becomes a tricky problem because there’s always something to do and somewhere to go. However, if you don’t make time and space to tend to your mental health, this can turn into a much bigger problem. When you have little time to think or feel, it’s not possible to gain self-awareness. What’s risky is when you can’t see the red flags that send your mental health down a slippery slope.

In this blog, I am inviting you to take a moment to pause and check-in with yourself. To give yourself permission to be honest with your feelings and how you’re coping – both at work and in life.

A Global Focus on Men’s Mental Health

This month, November, has a number of male-focused health campaigns that bring both physical and mental health to the forefront, including Movember (during the entire month), International Men’s Day (19th November 2019) and International Survivor of Suicide Loss Day (23rd November 2019) which is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. All these events mark men’s contributions in society and the reality that men can also be affected by mental health issues and be at risk of suicide.

 

More Men are Facing Burnout at Work

Men work in all kinds of demanding jobs that may involve physical labour, a level of risk to their health and safety, and high-stress. For example, men tend to work as first responders such as fire fighters or police officers.

Society attaches its own pressures and prejudices to these roles. Such pressure may come externally from family members and colleagues, or they may be self-imposed.

 

Tired looking man leaning on his arm who is looking down at his mobile phone. He is working late into the night and dealing with work related stress and burnout. He is looking for help for stress and burnout and is considering counselling.

The ‘traditional’ family dynamic is in a period of rapid evolution and change. This always leaves gaps and grey areas, for example, new fathers not having sufficient paternity leave whilst potentially being the main family provider.

It’s no wonder that men are facing so much burnout.

Are you facing any of these challenges?

 

Men’s Mental Health Matters

For lots of reasons, whether you believe it’s a nature vs. nurture thing, many men have difficulty expressing their emotions. They often bottle things up or find it more difficult to share openly about their problems for fear of being seen as being ‘less of a man’.

As a society, it can feel so shocking to learn about our fathers, brothers, uncles, friends and colleagues who we would never suspect to have difficulties with mental health because they seemed so strong. Trying to maintain a public profile of calm and control under pressure is hard work on its own. We need to learn the skills to cope with the pressures of our busy modern lives. But equally, it’s important to recognise that it’s okay not to be okay. Pretending everything is fine and under control when things are not can be more detrimental to your mental health.

 

5 Simple Ways to Switch Off from Work

It’s important to find a work-life balance that works for you. Here are a few simple ways to become more aware of your mental health needs and more proactive in your self-care routines.

 

1. Think of Yourself First
Yes, this is a mindset thing. You may have a lot of responsibilities in your daily life. However, it’s important that you don’t lose yourself in all of this. Ask yourself, “How am I neglecting my needs?” and “Why am I tending to others before tending to myself?”

2. Take a Break
This may sound simple, but it’s true. (By the way, eating your sandwich at your desk whilst writing your e-mails is not really a break.) Taking several short breaks is better than taking none. Try the Pomodoro Technique. This tomato ticker times your work and rest breaks at particular intervals so you work more effectively. It teaches you that it’s necessary to give yourself a break between tasks.

3. Set Some Ground Rules
Good boundaries stop you from overworking and overstretching. This may be especially important if you’re self-employed or work remotely at home. Consider using different spaces for different tasks. Establish daily routines that include self-care practices and ways to de-stress. Take a look at Headspace, a mindfulness app that helps you check in with your stress levels and become more present in life.

4. Do Something Physical
If physical to you is literally running from home to the tube station, then that’s not the kind of physical I mean. You can let go of unnecessary thoughts and work the physical tension out by taking yourself to a different space and moving your body. Move freely by walking or dancing, or move with purpose through other forms of exercise (e.g. running, cycling or yoga).

5. Do Something Fun
Not just going to the pub on a Friday night. Plan something special that truly interests you. What would you consider to be a treat? Think of something different from your everyday week that you can look forward to and actually consider as a reward.

A group of young men sitting with their backs turned. The group of friends are laughing and having fun together. They are resting on a trail overlooking green hills and mountains. Feel free from stress through stress and burnout counselling.

 

Stress and Burnout Counselling for Men

There’s no health without mental health.

If you don’t take care of your health, you won’t be able to do what you love and be there for others. Essentially, you put yourself and your loved ones at risk. It can sometimes feel like a Catch 22 when the reason you may be working so hard in the first place is to support yourself and your loved ones.

I help men, like you, work through these very normal, conflicting thoughts and feelings. We can look at all the things you have to juggle, why you feel you need to keep everything going perfectly, and how you can take some of the pressure off yourself without feeling guilty. It’s possible to let go of stress and prevent burnout when you take care of your mental health.

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog on men and the stigma attached to seeking therapy. The face of counselling is changing and is becoming more widely accepted. With the help of therapy, you can feel empowered to feel strong again if you open your mind and heart to look at what’s really going on inside.

If you are ready to talk and are looking for mental health support, I can help.

Get started with a free 30 minute phone consultation. Let’s chat.
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If you have any requests for a blog post, please feel free to send your questions, comments or ideas to: jamie@ytherapy.com

This blog is meant to be educational and should not be a substitute for therapy.

If you would like to enquire about therapy, please contact me or book an appointment: https://ytherapy.com/book-an-appointment/

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Medical Professionals doing their job in a hospital - workplace burnout

Top 3 Signs of Burnout in Medical Professionals

Burnout affects us all at some point. It affects many people in many different professions, but generally it results in ongoing stress that takes a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. This problem is more likely to manifest itself in Medical Professionals, as you are aware.

Hospitals are a hotbed for trauma. It’s an everyday occurrence that comes with the territory. From A&E and Psychiatric Wards to Intensive and Palliative Care Units, you see a lot of trauma. Across all medical professions, from Doctors, Nurses and Surgeons to Health Support Workers and Hospice Staff, you are likely to experience stress and burnout sooner or later.

Do you find yourself constantly stressed and worried about burning out? If the answer is yes, read on.

Let’s take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of workplace burnout, so you can understand if your stress is telling you, “You’re about to burn out.”

 

Man suffering from workplace stress and burnout.

What is Burnout?

At its most basic definition, burnout can be defined as work-related stress. Stress that is ongoing, overwhelming and all-consuming in the workplace.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as: “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

This includes:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

 

Man is sitting outside taking a break from work due to stress and burnout.

Top 3 Burnout Symptoms 

Workplace burnout can show up differently to different people.

Let’s take a look at how burnout symptoms can show up physically, mentally and emotionally.

1. Physical Burnout

“I’m so tired. I can’t go on like this.”

Your life is centered around your work. All those long hours and extra shifts. It becomes second nature to you. You feel that it’s a natural part of the job you’ve signed up to. It is easy to feel passionate about your work and committed to what you do, that it makes it hard for you to leave work at work. You find it hard to shut off when you take off your uniform and walk out the door. How do you keep the motor running when there’s no fuel left in the tank?

Here is how burnout can manifest itself in physical symptoms.

  • You are tired, drained and running on reserves.
  • There’s not enough time for you to eat or sleep, and you always feel weak and low in energy.
  • You’ve taken many sick days – even your colleagues are beginning to worry.
  • You are not the vibrant, healthy and strong person everyone knows you to be.

The truth is that there is always going to be more need than you can possibly meet. If your own physical needs are being compromised then it’s just a matter of time before your body shuts down completely.

Ask yourself…

  • Are you able to take breaks within the day?
  • Do you have enough time to unwind and take care of yourself at home?
  • What do you already do, or you can you start doing, to help you feel physically restored on a daily and weekly basis?

 

2. Psychological Burnout

“Nothing I do is ever good enough. I’ve failed.”

You are good at your job and have always juggled a lot of responsibilities, yet you punish yourself for not doing things faster or better. In your line of work, you know it’s not possible to meet all the demands and expectations – but this continues to crush your sense of accomplishment and makes you feel like a failure. It can feel as if you’re in some kind of mind trap and you can’t escape. Burnout affects your brain and your self-perception.

Here is how burnout can manifest itself in psychological symptoms.

  • You are feeling demotivated, doubtful and defeated.
  • Perhaps you have an overly negative mindset or pessimistic way of thinking.
  • You lose concentration and your memory starts to fail you.
  • From time to time, you disengage and detach – sometimes this happens when you’re in the middle of seeing your patients because you don’t have any more space to take things in.

It is important to recognise that you are more than enough and your patients value your gift. If you aren’t able to see your own worth in all that you do, you’ll continue spiralling in these unhelpful thoughts – and eventually you won’t be of help to anyone.

  • Can you accept just being good enough?
  • Do you give yourself permission to make mistakes?
  • Are you able to take things at a slower or different pace without feeling guilt or shame?

 

3. Emotional Burnout

“It’s all too much. I’m in pieces.”

You’re good with people. You can read emotions well and people find it easy to open up to you. Yet when you need the support, you won’t let people in to support you with your emotions. You find it hard to show your vulnerability because you feel you need to be strong for your patients and for your team.

Here is how burnout can manifest itself in emotional symptoms.

  • You are anxious, depressed and stressed.
  • You feel overwhelming waves of different emotions – it feels hard to contain your feelings both at work and at home.
  • When you see trauma, you feel traumatised. It’s like you can’t separate what’s what and who’s who.
  • You feel hopeless and helpless in your role. These feelings seep deep inside you and it takes over you.

Remember: you’re smart, you’re skilled and you have a lot of empathy – that’s what makes you great at what you do. It is perfectly natural that from time to time, the trauma you witness gets under your skin. You can’t contain it all (all the time) and it’s necessary to share and get support.

Ask yourself…

  • Why do you feel you need to keep it all inside?
  • Does a part of you feel like you’ll be a burden to others if you share your stress and worries?
  • What’s really stopping you from sharing and reaching out for support?

 

Get Help for Stress and Burnout in Central London

Workplace burnout can affect us all, but if you take the steps to recognise burnout symptoms and take action, then you can overcome this. Don’t let your experience of stress and trauma at work take away your love for what you do. You don’t have to carry this burden alone.

If you are ready to take control of your stress and are looking for mental health support, I can help.

Get started with a free 30 minute phone consultation. Let’s chat.

________________________________________

If you have any requests for a blog post, please feel free to send your questions, comments or ideas to: jamie@ytherapy.com

Please note that this blog is meant to be educational and should not be a substitute for therapy.

If you would like to enquire about therapy, please contact me or book an appointment: https://ytherapy.com/book-an-appointment/

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