The pandemic has been disastrous for the American workforce, especially women. When I saw the statistics, I was shocked! I knew America had a workaholism problem but I could have never imagined that our burnout statistics would shot up to 62% for working women and 52% for men. America, we have a MAJOR problem.
Prior to the pandemic, we were already one of the most stressed workforces in the developed world but the stressors of lockdowns, child care, homeschooling, and the blurred boundaries between life and work have left profoundly challenging marks on our collective well-being which will likely take us decades to resolve.
If we define trauma as a state of overwhelm in response to a life-threatening and/or persistent threat from which we can not escape, then it is quite clear that the pandemic is a mass traumatizing event. To add insult to the injury, our access to many of our healthy regulating resources (community, adventure, nature, friendships, and hugs to name a few) were severely or completely limited so most of us did turn to the lowest common denominators (media, substances, food, and work) to distract, numb, and cope. Let me be very clear, there is NO SHAME in that! When we are in a state of overwhelm and don’t possess knowledge or access to effective tools to self-regulate and co-regulate, we turn to addictions and compulsions in a desperate effort to survive but sadly, there are consequences.
Our productivity and result-oriented culture promotes and rewards hard work above all. While substance, media, and food addictions are easier for us to identify and seek support for, workaholism is unfortunately often rewarded by our society. This is how mass burnout has taken root in our lives and many of us aren’t even recognizing it as a problem let alone invest time and resources to address it.
Burnout in essence is a boundary problem; when we don’t have clear, defined, and strong boundaries around our work and life balance, we are easily lured by the rewards of overworking; higher pay, bonuses, promotions, acknowledgment, and prestige. What makes this even more challenging is that we can easily overlook the early signs of burnout until it’s too late. In fact, most individuals don’t recognize that they are experiencing burnout until they drop deep into depression, develop debilitating fatigue or chronic pain, or are diagnosed with an autoimmune condition.
Burnout is also a cultural value problem; a culture of extractive economics doesn’t leave out humans from that equation. We are living in a sort of amnesia pretending that we have infinite energy and natural resources, infinite capacity for waging costly wars, an infinite ability to print money without consequences all to support a seemingly insatiable appetite to perform, produce, and consume. The cost of reducing our human ingenuity to a production and consumption machine is mass burnout, depression, fatigue, addiction, and mysterious stress-induced illness all of which have been on the rise for decades.
While sustainable burnout prevention requires a significant shift in cultural values, personal resilience-building offers the most effective and immediate pathway to remedy these troubling trends. Resilience building is part brain optimization, part boundary setting, and part capacity building; we need ALL THREE to address burnout.
By ensuring healthy and balanced neurochemistry in the brain, we provide the optimal conditions for cognitive function and focus. By building healthy boundaries to support our work:life balance, we are setting the stage to reduce our stress load where we have control, through capacity building, we are equipping our nervous system to better navigate the demands of our work and home life without going into a state of overwhelm.
Brain optimization is achieved through:
Personalized supplemental regimen to support cognitive functions
Dietary and lifestyle changes that support a healthy brain
Mindfulness, meditation, and fitness regimens for brain support
Microdosing psychedelics when appropriate
Healthy professional boundaries involve:
Learning to self-regulate through somatic techniques (TRE, PolyVagal, Breathwork)
Being crystal clear about our capacity, values, goals, and priorities
Designing clear separating lines between work and life
Deep knowledge of what supports our productivity and balance, and NEVER compromising
Identifying and addressing perfectionist and obsessive-compulsive tendencies
Learning how to maintain our energetic sovereignty from the struggles of our clients
Prioritizing only the most nurturing projects and client engagements
Learning to say “NO!”
Healthy professional capacity building involves:
Learning to develop nervous system capacity through osmatic techniques (TRE, PolyVagal, Breathwork)
Mastering the art of delegation
Building systems for staying organized and on mission
Knowing when to drop a dysfunctional project or client
Automate as many aspects of our work as possible
I have been utilizing this framework with professionals in high-power and high-stress careers like law, medicine, and corporate leadership for many years with great results. When properly designed, personalized, and integrated, this is a fail-proof model for burnout prevention and sustainable high performance.
True lasting performance takes work, intention, meticulous design, practice, and commitment. You CAN have both a healthy and balanced body AND lasting high performance.
Without a sustainable performance plan, you are bound to burn and crash. If you are ready to reclaim your vitality, crush your goals, and develop rock slid mental focus and performance all while staying healthy and balanced, book a free consultation with me today to explore the options together.