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Burnout, it's no picnic! - Why you can't switch off when you're on the brink of Burnout

The closer you get to Burnout the more people around you will be trying to get you to take a break, to take some time off work and to slow down. 

But you can't.

You don't even feel like you need to. 

You feel like you need to keep going. 

You don't understand why people are insisting that you make some changes. 

And you can't see the warning signs that everyone around you can.

So, what is it that others can see and why can't you just take the break that could stop Burnout in its tracks? 

For the answer to that, let's understand a bit about the brain science that's keeping you pushing forward.  

When you're calm, you're able to function from the intellectual part of your brain. 

The intellectual part of your brain is positive, creative, innovative, and when you're operating from this part of your brain, you're able to think clearly and make decisions quickly and effectively.

When you're experiencing high and chronic stress levels, however, you're operating from the primitive part of your brain - think caveman and cavewoman.

The primitive part of the brain can't innovate or be creative, it's negative, it operates from previous patterns and behaviours that have been stored, and it focuses on fight, flight, and freeze.

The longer you're experiencing stress, the more time you spend in the primitive brain, the less able you are to make decisions, the more negative your outlook and the longer you'll be in a state of fight, flight, freeze.

When we were all living in caves, hunting, gathering, keeping the fires lit and our community safe, we were on constant red alert, always on the lookout for danger and we'd have taken it in turns to be on night watch.

During the day, whilst out on hunts, we'd have stayed on red alert, watching out for our next kill, and when our next meal was in sight, we'd have been even more aware of what was going on around us.

Whether we see one wild animal, or a herd, we're conscious for our own safety and that of those we're hunting with. Danger could be lurking all around.

With the animals in sight, the danger increases, and we don't decide at that point to take our eyes of the prize, to enjoy the sun, to sit round with our friends and to have a picnic.

If we stopped to rest, relax, and take time out as the danger was present, we'd increase the chances of us being killed. 

So instead, we stay on red alert, on the hunt, trying to keep ourselves safe and protected to get us home in one piece with our next meal.

The primitive brain hasn't evolved.

It's designed to keep us safe and on red alert.

When our stress levels are high, all of the messages to the brain say we're in danger.  And when we're in danger, real or perceived, our fight and flight response kicks in.  

And in times of danger, it's not time to sit round in the sun enjoying a glass of something cold and tucking in to the picnic, so we keep going.

High stress, chronic stress and Burnout, keep you in your primitive brain. Always on the lookout for danger, and unable to switch off and rest.

Whilst you're no longer out hunting for your next meal hiding in the long grass, the perceived danger is coming from the next email, the next phone call, your fear of failure, the fear of losing your job, worrying about why the CEO has called you into a meeting or why that meeting request has suddenly popped into your diary.

All of this adds to your stress levels, keeps you in the primitive part of your brain, and stops you being able to take time off, to take a break, or to rest. 

So you keep pushing, you keep working, you keep going, and whilst everyone around you wants you to stop, your brain is only focused on keeping you safe.

The best time to prevent Burnout is today.

What's stopping you?

Kelly

#Burnout #BurnoutPrevention #BurnoutAwareness #WorkplaceWellbeing

 
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