Jul 7, 2020

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Stress and Burnout Can Impact Your Health

Stress can have a significant impact on a person's health. According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Less likelihood of exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Sleep problems

These conditions can be a real detriment to all of the Core 4 areas of health. So it's important to make sure burnout is kept under controlled and managed.

Dr. Kyle Bradford Jones understands the difficulty of burnout personally. He first experienced the stressful condition during his residency. Between thirty-hour days, not seeing the sun for weeks at a time, and constantly dealing with life and death, Dr. Jones experienced an amount of stress he had never had before, and soon he started experiencing the signs of burnout.

Burnout doesn't only affect the doctors of the world. Burnout can happen to anybody, with any job. Nobody is immune to burnout.

"I saw one stat that said 45% of all workers in the United States experience some level of burnout," says Dr. Jones.

What is Burnout?

Clinical burnout is a "physical, emotional, mental, and/or psychological exhaustion from work." The condition usually begins with a feeling of emotional detachment from your job. You may have originally been successful and high performing in your position, but you may start experiencing a slip in quality or satisfaction with your work.

For most people, there can be an overlap in symptoms of burnout and depression. Because of the similarity in symptoms, a person may need a physician or mental health specialist to help discern the difference.

In general, curing burnout is more of a personal journey of finding coping skills and finding the right fit for what works best for you. Whether it be figuring out how to find satisfaction and a sense of worthiness in the job you have or - in more extreme cases - changing jobs.

It's important to be careful when self-diagnosing burnout. Everyone has bad days, bad weeks, and even bad months at work. This doesn't necessarily mean you're experiencing burnout. It could just mean you're human and having a rough run of things.

Burnout is a distinct type of emotional exhaustion and detachment, often ongoing and constant. But if you're finding that you're losing your motivation in work, it may be time to seek professional help.

Additionally, it's important to realize that depression and burnout are not always separate.

"That can be a chicken and the egg situation," says Dr. Jones. Depression symptoms can sometimes feed into burnout, and vice versa.

There's a certain amount of stress that's kind of needed to drive you to do your best. Once that stress gets to a point where it becomes the opposite and keeps you from doing your best you should be concerned about burnout and seek professional help.

Fight Burnout by Finding The Right Coping Mechanism For You

One of the best ways to minimize the chance of burnout is to take time off from your work. Research has found that burnout tends to get better with time away from work. If your job allows for time off, consider taking those vacation days. But for a lot of people in the U.S., taking an extended time away from work is sometimes not possible. For those situations, the best solution is to find some coping skills to help alleviate the stress that comes from your job.

These "coping mechanisms" can be anything that helps you destress in as little as five minutes. These are not mere distractions, but instead, activities that allow for a mental and emotional release. These mechanisms actually allow for alleviation of stress by allowing the mind and body a moment to process the mental and physical effects of high stress.

These coping mechanisms can be just about anything that helps you feel a little better. For Dr. Jones, he likes to do puzzles. Every week he finds an hour or two to work on a puzzle. These little breaks help him destress from the stress of work.

Dr. Jones also explains that it is vital to find more than one coping mechanism that you can do to relax. It's important to recognize that for one reason or another, you may not have the time or ability to do a single activity, like exercise. As such, it's important to have a variety of different things you can do in a week.

Some examples of good coping mechanisms are:

  • Woodworking
  • Going for a walk
  • Exercise
  • Jogging/running
  • Arts and crafts
  • Puzzles
  • Short mobile games
  • Watching or reading about your favorite sports team
  • Getting outdoors

It's important to remember to make sure your activities are generally beneficial or constructive. It can be tempting to slip into bad coping mechanisms like drinking too much, overeating, or substance abuse.

What to Do If Burnout Won't Go Away

If you're still feeling the effects of burnout from your job after trying out different hobbies and coping mechanisms, it may be time to involve your physician.

Burnout can lead to depression. Or in some cases, burnout may be misdiagnosed as depression. Seek help before the condition gets worse. It may seem trivial to see a doctor for stress related to work, but your mental health should be a priority. Just because stress isn't an illness or a broken bone, it does impact your life and your health. Don't be afraid to seek help.

It's not an illness or a broken bone, but it DOES impact your life, so get it looked at.

ER or Not: Really Badly Stubbed Toe

You've stubbed your toe pretty badly; It's bruised and hurts to put weight on it.. Should you go to the ER?

Even if your toe is broken, you do not need to go to the emergency room. Or even an urgent care. That's because the treatment they'll give you is the same as you could do at home.

If you go to the physician, they'll do an x-ray to diagnose if it's broken. After getting back the results, they'll tape the broken toe to the toe next to it and tell you it'll heal in four weeks.

If your toe has a normal alignment and bones aren't sticking out, you can tape your broken toe on your own and save yourself the time and expense of going to the doctor.

Housekeeping - Who Cares About Their DNA Giveaway

Scot received two at home genetics test kits over the holiday and is looking for someone to take the test with him. Troy doesn't want to do it. Mitch has already done it. So he's giving one away to a listener.

Over the last few episodes, the guys at Who Cares have been looking deeper into at-home genetic testing and there's a lot more involved with these tests than they originally realized.

Stay tuned as we look deeper into the complex issues surrounding these tests and interview a professional genetics counselor about these direct to consumer tests.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion feel free to comment on Facebook or enter to win a chance to win the test and take it with Scot.

Just Going to Leave This Here

On this episode's Just Going to Leave This Here, Troy explains what kama muta means and why we all should look for more of it in our lives. Meanwhile, Scot is fascinated by the peculiarities of corgi owner groups on the internet.

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