sitaadmin Apr 3rd 8 minutes

Prevent and Recover from Burnout Using Ayurveda

burn out

We all want to do better in our job, and also to be happy in doing it. But, is it not the case for you recently? Do you wish to quit your job, but keep it only for the sake of paying your bills? Are you hating your work which you enjoyed once? Do you lately find it difficult to deliver the same performance you always did? You might be suffering from the condition called ‘burn out’. 

Even if you are not having any of the above issues, i suggest you continue reading this article because you may identify and help a colleague or family member who is suffering. And possibly protect yourself too, from getting the condition in future.

In 2019, WHO has included ‘burn out’ in it’s International Classification of Diseases 11. (1) Not as a disease though, but as an occupational phenomenon. Even though WHO is not classifying ‘burn out’ as a ‘medical condition’, the inclusion emphasizes that the issue has become very common. Whether it is a medical condition or not and whether it is a mental or neurological or physical condition or all of those is still being discussed. But for sure, it is a condition which needs medical attention and care. And a qualified ayurvedic doctor near you is the best option for help, because ayurvedic treatments for burnout are integrated and efficient. It incorporates herbs, medicines, treatment for different organ systems and also meditation, yoga and other exercises.

What is burnout:

According to the word health organisation’s definition, Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.  As the name implies, you might have burned out all your energy and time for your work, like a burning candle. And it might have led you upto a point where you are completely exhausted.This tired state will not only affect your work, but also other aspects of daily life, causing frustration, irritability, sleeplessness and may lead to conditions like depression.

Also, the condition is called ‘burn out’ only if it is developing from workplace stress, and not from any other circumstances.

The 5 main causes of burnout: 

Surveys among employees of different organisations found out the following causes. (2)

  1. Unfair treatment at work
  2. Unmanageable workload
  3. Lack of role clarity
  4. Lack of communication and support from their manager
  5. Unreasonable time pressure

Other common causes are:

Change in work process like new software, new SOP etc.

Physical challenges like difficult commute, exposure to hard weather, requirement to lift weights etc.

The three stages of burnout:

Usually burn out is expressed progressively in the following stages – 

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, feeling impersonal towards those who receive your service, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

Once this is manifested, symptoms like anxiety, depression and irritability begins to show up in both personal and professional life and can also manifest as outbursts against co-workers, violence or anger toward loved ones at home, loss of appetite and passion for things once loved, or being unable to find motivation for things that you were able to accomplish with ease.

Why burnout is not a joke:

Workplace stress is a big issue, demanding attention both from the employee and the employer.

The modern culture has glorified stress and pressure as a means to enable us to perform more. But studies prove otherwise.

If we consider the economics and cost of burn out, the condition is estimated to create productivity loss amounting to 500 billion dollars and loss of 550 million work days each year in the USA alone.

Studies claim that burned-out employees are 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job, 63% more likely to take sick day leaves, and 23% more likely to visit the emergency room. (3)

Moreover, long standing stress is related to physical damages expressed as inflammations, high blood pressure, decreased immunity, increased risk of heart disease and stroke. (4)

It is also found that professionals who require more care, dedication and passion like doctors, nurses, law and order officers and social workers are more susceptible to burn out.

But with the new, ‘millennial’ culture, every work has become stressful and even activities like running or other sports, which used to be leisure has become a competition. And those are adding more to the stress. Thus burn out has become a ‘millennial condition’ among young professionals all over the world and in all professions. 

How to identify Burnout before you burn out – Three early signs:

As long term burn out usually does not resolve by a weekend vacation or family retreat, it is important to identify and intervene early.

According to Dr. Christina Maslach, a pioneer in the research about burn out, the signs to watch out are: (5)

  1. Feeling emotionally drained and mentally uneasy. Often associated with mild to moderate physical symptoms like nausea, frequent colds and illness, sleeplessness.
  2. Feeling alienated by your bosses and colleagues. Feeling constantly under appreciated.
  3. Feeling that you are not personally achieving your best.

If you feel that you are feeling these issues, it’s time to act and make some adjustments and tunings so that you can still perform well, while being happy.

How to recover from burnout using ayurveda:

Burnout in ayurvedic ‘dosha’ terms mostly means an increase in ‘vata’ , diminution of ‘pitha’ and increase in some ‘kapha’ qualities.

The treatments and medicines for burn are for balancing the data and also channelising it properly. At the same time, the attributes of pitha needs to be improved and the excess kappa at mental level has to be decreased.

Ayurvedic herbal medicines for burnout includes ‘Pranah’capsules which is a combination of ‘aswagandha’, indian gooseberry and ‘madhuka’. It improves general energy, helps in sleep and relieves stress. Also ‘Stimulint’ tablet is found to be very effective in managing the feelings of brain fog, lack of focus and memory. Classical medicines like ‘Saraswatharishtam’ and ‘chyanaprasham’ are also found to be effective.

Its better to consult a qualified ayurvedic physician before taking ayurvedic medicines for burnout because specific formulations according to your dosha type and symptoms are required along with other lifestyle modifications including exercise, diet, meditation and affirmations.

7 Tips to overcome burnout:

  1. Consult an ayurvedic doctor near you and get help.
  2. Take a break before you drain out. Watch out for signs of burnout and take adequate rest. Both breaks during work and regular vacations are essential for optimum performance, researches prove.
  3. Learn to let go: The relentless pursuit of achievement is also counterproductive to performance and many of our values too. You can’t and don’t have to do everything and all by yourself. 
  4. Forget perfectionism. Perfectionism is obviously unachievable. Trying for that just wears you out and diminishes output quality.
  5. Sleep: As we have pointed out in other articles, sleep is very important for recovery of both brain and body.
  6. Meditation: Meditation helps to relax, recover and improve focus. Find out which is the right type of meditation for you and practice.
  7. Get a ‘sense of play’ – Take everything lightly. Accept both success and mistakes in a realistic and analytical manner without heeding in too much. Observe and listen to ‘little beautiful things’ in life and nature.

5 tips to get most out of your office breaks everyday:

Taking frequent breaks during work does not reduce output, but increases it. (6) But you need to utilise the time effectively.

  1. Avoid using your phone. Studies (7) have shown that using your phone to call, text or read during breaks will reduce the ‘recovery effect’ you get from the break.
  2. Socialising with colleagues and friends during breaks was found to mitigate negative effects of work stress. (8) But imposed socialising by the management has found to have a negative effect on employee fatigue at the end of the day. (10)
  3. Frequent breaks are effective in preventing fatigue and keeping focus. Taking shorter breaks as in every hour is good. It was found that if you do not take frequent short breaks, you might require a longer break later to recover. (9)
  4. Break the earlier in the day is found more effective to keep you up to the task. (9)
  5. Get some fresh air. Take a very short walk outside the office if you can, as it is found to help in faster recovery than spending time in the office itself during break time.

If you think you are suffering from burn out, or if you have further questions, feel free to comment below so that we may get back to you.

References:

  1. https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/
  2. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237059/employee-burnout-part-main-causes.aspx
  3. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633295/
  5. https://content.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0021-9010.93.3.498
  6. https://hbr.org/2011/12/how-to-accomplish-more-by-doin.html
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0747563215302703?via%3Dihub
  8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/job.2109
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26375961/
  10. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/amj.2011.1072

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