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Jun 19, 2014

Healthy Living looks at burnout and how it severely impacts your life

It’s expected that we will experience stress every day in our lives for many different reasons. But when your responsibilities at work or home, or in some cases both become more than you can handle; you can be at risk for burnout. Tonight on Healthy Living we sit down with a Mental Health Professional to find out more about burnout and how it severely impacts your life.

Marleni Cuellar reporting

Your alarm rings in the morning and you begin your day feeling just as you have for the days, weeks and sometimes even months before: tired, helpless, hopeless, unfocused, cynical, and irritable. If this like the story of your life then it is possible that you may be experiencing burnout. As explained by Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Eleanor Bennett, burnout is far more than just feeling tired.

Nurse Eleanor Bennett, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administrator in Mental Health
“A state of physical emotional and mental exhaustion that usually happens among people who function in situations of prolonged stress and after a while when this person is under this stress; the person now feels overwhelmed and unable to cope.”


Eleanor Bennett

The causes and impact of burnout in the workplace has been extensively researched. To clarify it is NOT a psychological or psychiatric disorder but if left unaddressed it can have significant consequences to your physical and mental health.


Nurse Eleanor Bennett

“Burnout you have the physical and nonphysical. Some of the physical symptoms are tiredness, your body is just tired. There might be aches and pains. It has been quite extensively that stress affects your immune system; so people who are burnout are susceptible to common illness like colds and flus.  There might be issues with sleeping issues with eating then because their energy is so low, the might want to turn to alcohol or sleeping things or other things to change their mood.  Some of the nonphysical manifestations would be that the person at work alienate themselves, they’re not a part of the work environment. They might have difficulty to concentrate to meet deadlines. Things that would normally take them a short while to do now takes a very long time to do. This of course spills over into their home life and their relationships get affected.  What we call emotional bluntness. They can’t really feel emotions the way that they use to and they just don’t have enough to give to their families. So it affects their relationships.”


This continuous chronic stress if ignored is proven to lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol and even alcohol or substance abuse. A key point is that this does not only affect the working population but mothers and caretakers are also susceptible to burnout.


Nurse Eleanor Bennett

“Three categories or factors that lead to burnout: job related factor, people who work in environment, a high consequence for failure, no good structure, leadership issues, if they are always scrutinized. Micro manages, not a lot of recognition for their work. This environment has been shown to lead to burn out.  Type “A” people always on the go, this aggression and sense of urgency and the personality that doesn’t respond well to stress. Not everyone handle stress the same way. lifestyle factors; if you don’t take time to sleep; if you don’t have the support of your family it can also contribute to burnout.  You have to consider that not everyone who works in high stress environment become burnout so there must be other factors that mitigate, some of those factors may be the personality of the person the kind of support they have. But what is important is that people recognize these symptoms.  Then you have to do things to minimize the stressors, it might be that you have to talk to somebody at work. It definitely includes taking time away from your work. I always say vacations have a purpose. I guard my vacations zealously. I take every day that is allowed; because it has a function.”


There is the Three ‘R’ Approach: Recognize the signs, Reverse the damage and build your Resilience by taking care of your physical and emotional health.


Nurse Eleanor Bennett

“Burnout has been proved to improve if you remove yourself form the stressful situation. So my first advice would be to take your vacation. If you have vacation days, remove yourself completely from the stressful situation. I know some people who go on vacation and yet they are still checking the emails; and checking to see what’s happening at work. My advice would be, you need to separate first and foremost. you have to do things to manage your manage your stress since it is a stress-related situation.”

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