Prepared by: Sharon K. Summerfield, R.H.N.| nourishedexecutive.ca
Over the past 18 months rates of Burnout have increased. Transitions from working in the office to working at home, have accelerated the intensity. Technology continues to be a blessing and a curse.
My definition of Burnout:
Being exhausted on every level. The joy you once felt is gone. You feel isolated and alone. It is difficult to concentrate, connect and build relationships as that takes energy you are unable to find, no matter how hard you try.
When we stop celebrating the badge of busyness and begin to evaluate our relationship with technology, we can Beat Burnout. Consider each part of your life, is this helping or impeding your ability to rest and enjoy sustained sleep?
Burnout happens over a long period of time. Like a large pot that is filled with water and placed on simmer, we take on more and continually fill our schedules. As the temperature goes up, the pot boils dry and catches on fire.
The three essential pieces to Beat Burnout are:
• Psychological Safety
• Strategies to Nourish Your Wellbeing
“There is a need for workplaces to invest in initiatives that promote positive workplace mental health.”
The basics of Psychological Safety:
Feeling safe to speak up and be your authentic self.
Boundaries that align with your purpose and values, are critical to Beat Burnout to Nourish Your Wellbeing. Begin by doing a Calendar Reflection. Consider: Is this a true priority? Can this be delegated? Do I simply say no?
One of the gifts from the Pandemic, that will Nourish Your Wellbeing, has been the conversation to stay home when you are not feeling well.
Strategies to Nourish Your Wellbeing:
To Nourish Your Wellbeing to Beat Burnout routines that ground you are critical. Stop multi tasking, this is causing havoc on your brain. Many have been in a Sympathetic response, fight or flight, for a very long time. The Vagus Nerve is instrumental in managing inflammation and digestion, and can only be activated when you are in Rest and Digest, Parasympathetic Response.
A few ideas to stimulate your Vagus Nerve
- Develop a mindfulness practice such as meditation and breath work.
- Take part in activities that bring you joy.
- Look at photos of nature.
- For fun: join a choir, play an instrument, colour in a colouring book.
When stress levels increase sadly so does the inner critic. When we find ways to ground ourselves this helps quiet the roar of the inner critic. Showing ourselves compassion supports us to show up as our authentic, heart centered, imperfect self.
Incorporate more movement in your day
One of the misunderstandings with Burnout is, intense cardio is the answer. In Dr. Lisa Mosconi’s book “XX Brain” she shares for women the intense cardio workouts increase levels of cortisol. Look at movement such as walking in nature, Yoga or Pilates. This helps reduce levels of cortisol and improve sleep.
Nutrition and Wellness
The longer we are in “fight or flight” the more our digestion slows down. Caffeinated and sugary foods and drinks are how many survive. To improve your digestion, begin your day with a glass of water and lemon. Look for ways to reduce your intake of caffeine. Hydrate often.
Enjoy foods rich in Vitamin B and C, Magnesium and Omega 3s. Fermented and cooked foods are a great place to start, to Nourish Your Wellbeing, as they are easier to digest. Sit down and enjoy every meal away from technology and distractions.
A few ideas:
- Enjoy a warm breakfast of steel cut oats, chia seeds and/or ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and berries. Once this is cooked add hemp hearts and a nut milk. This breakfast is rich in Omega 3s, Vitamin C and Magnesium.
- Look for ways to add Nutritional Yeast. This is a great option as it adds a gorgeous cheese flavour and is rich in many B vitamins, especially B12. A wonderful addition to any soups, plant-based dishes, cheesecakes and popcorn.
- Two of my favourites are Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds as they are both filled with so many amazing nutrients. Both are high in fibre, rich in Omega 3s, a great source of protein and help improve digestion.
- Many are deficient in Magnesium, which is needed for more than 300 functions in our body, and critical to help manage stress. Some great sources of Magnesium are; nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, bananas, leafy greens and of course tasty Cacao.
- Some of the students and graduates from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, are also talented Chefs, and available to create meals that will Nourish Your Wellbeing.
Take Breaks and Schedule Downtime
Breaks are not a luxury, these are essential. Schedule and take downtime on a regular basis. Make a promise to yourself, you will not think or talk about work.
Notifications are increasing our levels of cortisol; please, turn off your alerts. This will make a profound difference to Nourish Your Wellbeing to Beat Burnout. Create clear boundaries on when you will be available.
Creating a ritual of self reflection is a beautiful way to invest in yourself. Disconnect from technology and reflect on your day, in a journal. This helps bring closure to your day and sets you up for sustained sleep.
The pandemic has highlighted our need to connect. To Beat Burnout, this begins by showing each other we care. Reach out. Invest in relationships. Ask, how can I help?
To Nourish Your Well Being to Beat Burnout, this is a multifaceted approach, one that takes time.
This begins with being kind and gentle with yourself, making rest and sleep a top priority.
What new choices will you make?
Be kind. Be patient. Be nourished in all you do.
– Posted November 2021 –
Clark, Timothy R. (2020) The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety – Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Oakland, CA
Collins, Paul; Sarkaria, Sartaj; Summerfield, Sharon; Alhusaini, Osama; Mohamed, Farzeena and Wiggins, Janice (2020) HR Strategy Council – Nurturing a Psychological Health and Safe Work Experience https://www.linkedin.com/posts/hr-strategy-council_psychological-health-and-safety-best-practices-activity-6727397005469085696-2qG5/ Accessed 2021Sep20
Habib, Navaz Dr. (2019) Activate Your Vagus Nerve – Unleash your Body’s Natural Ability to Heal” Ulysses Press, Berkley, CA
Jimenez, Jacinta M. Dr. (2021) “The Burnout Fix – Overcome Overwhelm, Beat Busy, and Sustain Success in the New World of Work. McGraw Hill, New York
Kraemer, Harry M. Jansen. (2014) From Values to Action – The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco, CA.
Marturano, Janice (2014) Finding the Space to Lead – A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership Bloomsbury Press, New York.
McKeown, Greg (2014) Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Mosconi, Lisa Dr. (2020) The XX Brain – The Ground Breaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Nagoski, Emily, PhD and Nagoski, Amelia, DMA (2019) Burnout – The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Summerfield, Sharon (2021) The Nourished Executive. Managing Zoom Fatigue by Nourishing your Wellbeing. https://www.nourishedexecutive.ca/2021/05/20/managing-zoom-fatigue-by-nourishing-your-wellbeing/ Accessed 2021 Sep 22