The Focus On You

Self-Care Is A Lifestyle

Tag: work (page 1 of 2)

 How To Recognize Burnout vs. Depression

“Ugh work is so depressing.”

“OMG I’m so burnt out on school.”

I’m sure you’ve heard these phrases before. I think most people have used the terms “burnout” and “depression” when they’re describing how tired they are. Since I cringe when diagnoses are used loosely, I want to discuss the difference between the two.

We know that depression doesn’t discriminate but burnout can have a profound effect on certain populations of people.

Who is likely to be affected by burnout?
  • Caregivers
  • Anyone with a job (seriously)
  • Helping professions (therapists, social workers, nurses, etc.)
  • Stay at home parents
  • Entrepeneurs
  • Creatives
  • First responders
  • Medical professionals
  • College students
  • Activists
Who is likely to be affected by depression?
  • Any human.

Although many of the signs of depression can mimic burnout, this ailment is directly linked to our professional or identifying roles. Anti-depressants can’t treat burnout. Depression is a serious diagnosis made by a licensed professional and can be life altering. It’s not an adjective to describe why you’re overworked or exhausted.

Many times burnout is driven by a person’s passion or obligation to someone else. Click To Tweet In young professionals, burnout is likely to occur when they walk in with 150% passion and drive, and their expectations are not met.

What are some of the signs of a person being burned out?

Tunnel vision: People who are burned out from their profession start to get narrow sighted. They may have forgotten why they are in this profession or why they are in school. They are also likely to forget what they’re grateful for. Tunnel vision causes someone to forget the compliment last week or the stellar deal they landed last month. The weight of their routine and daily stressors cause cynicism.

Overcomplaining: Unfortunately, burnout effects bleed into all areas of someone’s life. If they’re burned out at work, they’ll gripe about it at home, and vice versa. When someone starts complaining about everything, everywhere, it is usually a sign that they’re struggling somewhere in their schedule. This is harmful for helping professionals because a foul attitude affects how clients or patients are treated. As a helping professional I can’t roll my eyes or gripe out loud. I have learned to check that behavior and it’s usually a sign I need to adjust my schedule or increase my self-care.

Are You Ok?: If people you associate with start asking you this, beware. You’re definitely on the road to exhaustion. It may be wise to ask the person what differences they notice in you. If they can give helpful feedback, maybe they notice that you’re not eating, you’re cursing more, showing up late or you have snappy remarks. If you notice your “tells” then it won’t take a breakdown or one-on-one with the boss to make you snap out of your behavior.

Making More Mistakes: People who are burned out in their roles will put less effort into their usual tasks. Bosses will skip the agenda for meetings, parents will cook less meals, caregivers may neglect cleaning duties, etc. Studies have even shown that people with signs of burnout show different brain activity when doing normal tasks. Can you afford to make mistakes in your line of work because you’re not addressing your burnout?

How to deal?
  1. For caregivers in particular, find a way to delegate some responsibility or ask for respite. You need a break in your routine and even a few hours can make a difference. Find a way to change the routine with the person you care for. Watch a movie together, bring in exotic cuisine, rearrange pictures or furniture. Shake things up!

  2. If your burnout is work or school related, you could also benefit from a change of routine and scenery. Clean up the clutter in your work area, beautify your environment, add visual elements that promote peace, study in a new location, study at a different time of day, etc. The answer isn’t to quit your job or school. You have to make the time you spend manageable and fit it to your needs. And please assess whether you have vacation or sick time that is unused. I have been overwhelmed/burned out by my counseling schedule and had to plead to a former employer for an office day to catch up on paperwork. It may sound crazy but I actually looked forward to a day alone in my office, with some music and a schedule that allowed me to kill my stack of paperwork.

  3. Readjust your goals or projects. Maybe your burnout is due to poor boundaries. Are you taking on too much just to please someone? Did you take on a full course load at school just to prove to your family that you could handle it? For the sake of your mental health, you should reassess how much you’re willing to take on. Don’t martyr yourself when no one is going to notice or be supportive of your struggle.

Seriously, routines can kill us. Exhaustion and stress can lead us to the emergency room. No one sees what we go through except us. This means that no one knows what we need but us. Click To Tweet Unfortunately, it took being diagnosed with fibromyalgia to slow me down. And now I have no choice but to ask for help and to honor what my body needs. No one can heal me but me. And everyone deserves a break.

“Without self-correction we cannot thrive.”

 

 

 

How My 2017 Highlight Reel Shocked Me

This post contains affiliate links.

The power of writing things down is amazing.

It’s amazing that a few simple questions about my highlights and patterns for the year shocked the hell out of me.

I shouldn’t be surprised though since I require my clients to write down goals and questions during therapy sessions.

I downloaded a worksheet from Danielle LaPorte’s newsletter that focused on this year’s retrospective. I listed my highlights and fulfilling events for the year and the patterns I saw in this list. What is obvious and what was omitted?

Without going into too much detail I can say that I had a blessed highlight reel. The majority of events that fulfilled me included trips with my husband, being with friends and taking adventures.

So what’s shocking about that?

Here are the lessons I learned:

1. The amount of time I spend each day at work or online didn’t really matter. My highlight reel didn’t include binge watching shows, being at work, attending work conferences, personal growth, live tweets or number of Instagram followers.

2. I didn’t include local events or gatherings. Hanging out with family, barbecues, watching sports or visiting the Strip didn’t make the list. What’s funny is that these aren’t in my camera roll either. I started cleaning out my camera roll in my phone and it’s 50% doggie pictures and 50% pictures of vacations. (I attribute this to being more mindful and tech free when hanging out with family)

3. The people that matter the most (parents, my pups, family) and the support you rely on may be forgotten in our highlight reel. A highlight reel is different than a gratitude list. But it makes me wonder…..do those lists ever look the same?

4. If you had a business-related WIN, this may end up on your highlight reel. But what if you didn’t? Would you still give yourself credit for being a trailblazer? Are you still an exceptional employee without the award? I didn’t win any awards this year so does this mean I had a terrible business year?

5. What happens if this year was full of loss? If you lost your home, job or loved one do you still count the fun vacation you took?

Let’s circle back to my comment about time spent online, I have to be present on social media to keep the blog alive but in a macro perspective it seems like wasted time. Being aware of social issues is important to me but how can I trim out some of that time online if it’s not “evolving” me in the long run?

Mind you, I have to work to survive and to afford vacations (which obviously are my priority) but it’s sad and interesting to look at the effect of time.

Danielle says that her micro perspective is: “We deserve to be lit up by what we do in the world. It’s your life.”

My wish for you for 2018 is to find ways to thrive. Find what lights you up, even if it's something that you do only a few times a year Click To Tweet. I’m blessed that my yearly retrospect didn’t include survival. I’ve had those years of struggle and I work harder now to prepare for that (hello 2008). Yet the everyday struggle can feel like surviving and not THRIVING. Commutes, emails, grouchy colleagues or clients, no breaks in your schedule and being broke, can damage our spirit.

No matter what we do to survive, make sure there’s room to thrive, to have joy, to reward yourself, to share your joys with loved ones and get a change of scenery every now and then.

Check out Danielle LaPorte’s highly recommended planner. Get 2018 off on the right foot by documenting your WINS!

 

 

 

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