Stress and Burnout

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.” Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats.

If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.

Burnout is a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterised by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability. Stress is one thing; burnout is a totally different state of mind. Under stress, you still struggle to cope with pressures. But once burnout takes hold, you’re out of gas and you’ve given up all hope of surmounting your obstacles. When you’re suffering from burnout, it’s more than just fatigue. Burnout may be accompanied by a variety of mental and physical health symptoms as well. If left unaddressed, burnout can make it difficult for an individual to function well in their daily life.

Who is this service for?

If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in today’s demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the ageing process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

What are the symptoms?

If you have been in the stress response too long and are thinking you now might be burnt out, you may notice the following:

  • Alienation from work-related activities: Individuals experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may grow cynical about their working conditions and the people they work with. They may also emotionally distance themselves and begin to feel numb about their work.
  • Physical symptoms: Chronic stress may lead to physical symptoms, like headaches and stomach aches or intestinal issues.
  • Emotional exhaustion: Burnout causes people to feel drained, unable to cope, and tired. They often lack the energy to get their work done.
  • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work—or in the home when someone’s main job involves caring for family members. Individuals with burnout feel negative about tasks. They have difficulty concentrating and often lack creativity.

How we can help you...

Although the terms “chronic stress” and “burnout” suggests they may be a permanent condition, it’s reversible. An individual who is feeling chronic stress or burned out may need to make some changes to their work environment. Outside of the work environment, you may consider taking a vacation to provide you some temporary relief, but a week away from the office won’t be enough to help you beat burnout or chronic stress. Regularly scheduled breaks from work, along with daily exercise, will be helpful in combating burnout and chronic stress. Furthermore, identifying the contributing factors to your chronic stress and / or burnout, practicing down-regulation and relaxation techniques, developing clear strategies that help you manage your stress going forward, and setting and reinforcing professional/personal boundaries are essential to manage stress levels and burnout.

Some of the therapies our psychologists at Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic may use include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Trauma-focused therapy, Schema Therapy, or Solution-Focused Therapy.

If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss any concerns or symptoms with one of our experienced therapists at Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic please call us on P: 0428 088 671.

Are you ready to take the next step?

We are dedicated to redefining your experience of therapy. Our client support team is available to support you with questions and enquiries. Booking your appointment is easy, call us on 0428 088 671 or book online by following the link below