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3 Stages of Burn-out!

3 Stages of Burn-out! A Global Issue!

Burn-out is a global health concern. Therefore lets explore the 3 Stages of Burn-out! In addition, addressing the signs of Burn-out could reduce this global problem.

The World Health Organisation have classified “Burn-out” as an “occupational phenomenon” not a medical condition. Resulting from unmanaged chronic workplace stress.

Case story highlighting the 3 Stages of Burn-out!

Today I want to share with you the story of one of my clients. Let’s call her “Sam”. As is quite often the case Sam was experiencing some signs of the 3 Stages of Burn-out!

Sam had a successful career within a large global organisation. She was a dynamic senior leader and a prominent role model for many in her team.

The Hidden Signs

Sam was an “A” type personality, always on the go with high expectations of herself. Very driven with such attention to detail, to mention a few of her attributes.

I had been coaching Sam for a few months in preparation for her next career move. She had identified that her energy levels seemed to be low despite claiming she had a healthy, nutritious diet, regular exercise etc.

After that we placed a strong focus around her health management. It was important to really understand what a healthy diet and exercise regime looked like for Sam.

Exhaustion can slow down recovery!

Her mantra had been “why am I doing all the right things but I have such low energy and always feeling tired, sluggish and it’s even an effort to get out of bed in the morning”.

Does this sound familiar?

The warning lights were starting to flash in my head!

Checklists create Awareness!

I suggested Sam use my health barometer check list to get a baseline of her health. I measure 10 key signs and symptoms to determine a baseline. Sam agreed to be honest about how she was feeling as she scored herself each day for 4 weeks.

At the end of this period we looked at where her high scores were consistently sitting. In other words, these were the scores greater than 7 /10. However, Sam scored greater than 7/10 for experiencing regular headaches, increasing levels of stress and sleep disturbances.

Furthermore, Sam was coping at work, however had identified her stress levels were increasing. Leading to her becoming fatigued. due to her erratic sleep patterns and irritable at the changes she was experiencing. She was not her “usual self”.

All things pointed to Sam experiencing stage 2 of Burn-out. This is what I call the “battling stage”. When her body fights against itself, working very hard, expending lots of energy leaving her feeling depleted and exhausted.

Decision time for Sam! Was she ready to “Show UP”  and commit to addressing these signs to get her health back on track. Her decision was easy! Monitoring her “health barometer” had allowed her to really be present with what was going on in her body and listen.  

When we become aware that our body is not serving us as well as it has done previously we have a choice. We can chose to ignore it or we can make changes. 

Failure to identify and act on these stages opens up the floodgates to acute and chronic dis – ease both on an emotional and physical level. Self awareness is critical in identifying these stages early so that they can be addressed. I believe the following stages lead to the full blown state of burn-out. 

3 Stages of Burn-out!

1. Warning stage: The body is alerted to something “not quite right”. An awareness of something different happening in our body, that may indicate there could be a problem in the future. Here is the opportunity to address these changes.

2. Battling stage: Suddenly having to work really hard every day. Everything seems to require maximum effort and energy. Fear is starting to creep in as there seems to be such internal conflict.
3. Debility: Extreme fatigue has resulted as a result of the impacts of pushing the body to extremes. Ignoring the signs that areas of the body and mind were not working as efficiently as before.

HRD sited US research that acknowledged that constant workplace stress is manifesting as physical and mental fatigue that can be contributing to burn-out. They found that 57% of workers aged between 23 – 38 years experienced mental exhaustion several times a week and 60% experienced physical exhaustion at the same rate.

Life is very fast paced and being too busy to recognise health changes is common. In conclusion, listening to the early warning signs and acting on these quickly may reduce burn-out.

 What strategies do you have in place to prevent burn-out? How do you discuss managing burn-out with your teams?

Would love to hear your thoughts?