At ICMC De Bron we have more than 15 years of experience with burnout.
We have combined our extensive knowledge and history in this field with the experiences of our clients over the years. This bundling provides the following tips and advices to support people who experience (too much and long-term) stress, are facing a burnout or have already ended up in a severe burnout (you are not the only one!).
Accept the situation
- Accept that you are (perhaps) in a burnout. That is a very difficult step, but it is a very important step for the start of your ‘sustainable’ recovery.
- Be aware that you are not the only one. More than 1.4 million people (16% of the labor force) in the Netherlands have burnout symptoms. So you don’t have to be ashamed of anything.
- Talk about it and inform your environment (e.g. family, friends, colleagues). That makes it easier for yourself, and others can take it into account and support you if necessary.
Take plenty of time for reflection
- Allow yourself time for real reflection on the situation. Realize that worry and negative thoughts are part of the ‘process’. Don’t let yourself be taken by surprise.
- Try to remain positive and trust your instincts. You are not perfect, you never have been by the way, and you don’t have to be; nobody ask you to.
- Make a list of subjects that are bothering you, constantly putting you in an undesirable situation, that makes you happy or sad, that gives you energy or that actually cost you energy.
- Take the time you need for a good recovery. Don’t think too lightly about it !. After all, it’s not a flu!!
Put yourself first
- Realize that you can only take good care of someone else (often a pitfall for people with a burnout) if you are good for yourself in the first place.
- Create sufficient and regular space in your agenda for yourself. Those are your moments that nobody can take away from you. Think of walking, an hour of rest, reading, music, but also enough time for lunch.
- People with a burnout often have the idea that they should always do something. But ‘doing nothing’ is also a good activity; it is fine and even very responsible.
- Pay close attention to your diet. Eat healthy and regularly. Pay attention to your food. Eating is also a social activity; so pay attention to your table companions. All these elements can provide you with energy.
- Make a list of things you want to do that day. Then delete more than half of it. After all, you tend to do far too much.
- Do all the activities on this list with full attention, but briefly. Do not do them too long in succession and consciously take enough breaks in between.
- Postpone decisions that are really important to you as much as possible, until you feel physically and mentally more than sufficiently fit again.
- Realize that in the end nothing in life requires rush. We only think so. Therefor you don’t always have to respond directly to an incoming mail or whatsapp message.
Decide to change
- If you just take a rest, nothing will change. Chances are that, after your rest, you will be cheerful and well heading for a new (often worse) burnout.
- Make an overview of activities and situations that you really enjoy, that give you energy, that you can perform naturally well, etc. Think of yourself in relationship to family, friends, environment, work, etc.
- Get to know your own boundaries. You have undoubtedly failed to respect these in the past. Feelings of anger, irritation, sadness and so on are good signals.
- Saying “no” is also a strong form of indicating and respecting your boundaries. For someone with a burnout this is often incredibly difficult. But it is necessary and creates clarity for all parties involved, including yourself.
Take enough relaxation
- Take enough and regular time for activities that provide you with real relaxation; such as cycling, walking, a movie, concert and reading (doing nothing is also an activity).
- Do regular breathing exercises. Due to tension and stress, breathing usually becomes superficial and insufficient. Many exercises can be found on the internet; especially focused on abdominal breathing.
- Many people benefit enormously from relaxation through mindfulness, meditation or yoga. That is no longer seen as for softies. It helps you to find your peace.
- Go to bed on time and get enough sleep. It is also important that you go to bed in a relaxed state of mind. So no discussions, TV, computer, smartphones or other device well before bedtime.
- Don’t drink coffee (in the evening) or limit it as much as possible. Drink tea. There is a wide range of tea varieties with a soothing and relaxing effect.
Accept professional help
- Your own doctor (GP), but also the occupational doctor can properly map out whether (and to what extent) there is a (starting) burnout.
- Look for professional care providers that suit you best, that give you serious attention and that can offer you the support you need.
- Burnout is primarily an ‘energy disorder’. Therefore, seek good professional help for restoring both the physical (including hormone) and psychological, emotional balance.
Do you want to know if you have a burnout?
Take the free Burnout Test and test yourself for a burnout. And receive a short report and personal advice!