Stress and Burnout Counselling and Coaching
We’ve been providing stress and burnout counselling and coaching in corporate and private settings for some time now. The more companies we worked with, the more we realised that while some employees have an interest in and would like stress and burnout coaching and counselling, they just don’t want it in the workplace. They prefer more privacy. That’s why we decided to provide private stress and burnout counselling/coaching. Our goal is to create healthy workplaces for all, if that means providing extra services, that’s what we will do.
What is stress?
Stress is a vague concept which most of us find difficult to grasp. Our perception of stress is subjective; what is stressful for us may not be stressful for others and what provokes a stress response in us may not provoke a stress response in others.
Most of us describe stress as frustration, anger, anxiety or even feeling pressured. Frustration and anger are emotions, not stress. Anxiety is being afraid; the emotion is fear. Feeling pressure can be a sign we’re losing control. These are emotional signs and symptoms of our stress response.
We will always have stressors in our lives, so we need to learn to cope with them. It’s not the stressor in our lives that causes most of our problems, its the way we cope with them that cause most of the problems with our health, relationships and wellbeing. (Lazarus 1984)
Why stress matters
We are all forced to live with stress but very few of us understand what it is and how it makes us physically and mentally ill. Does this matter? Yes, because studies have shown that stress can cause physical illness; from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease and very real psychological illnesses including anxiety, depression, burnout and more. These are very serious illnesses which affect not only the quality of our own lives but also the lives of the people close to us. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the stressors in your life, get help, do not let the stress burn you out.
What is the stress response?
When we find something is stressful, we automatically trigger our acute stress response; this is a combination of our biological, physiological, psychological and behavioural stress responses. The purpose of our stress response is to help us survive the stressor; our Fight or Flight Response is our survival response.
We trigger this response every time we perceive we have been threatened on some real or perceived, physical or emotional level. This is an automatic unconscious response triggered by excessive demands and pressures from our environment. If we ignore the signs and symptoms of this stress response our brain automatically switches this short-term stress response to our long-term chronic stress response, if we ignore the physical and psychological signs and symptoms of this long-term chronic stress response we will burn out.
If we stay in chronic stress response for a long period of time burnout is inevitable; so, ignore the signs and symptoms of chronic stress response at your peril.
What is Burnout?
Burnout begins with our long-term chronic stress response that we ignored; fatigue, lack of motivation, no interest, irritability, depression, lack of sleep, eating issues, headaches, stomach problems, back pain, worrying, overindulgence of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs and more. Prolonged, repeated biological, physiological, psychological and behavioural stress responses triggered by significant stressors in our lives, wear our bodies and minds down. These repeated stress responses don’t only dictate our external behaviour, they change our internal biology, physiology and psychology.
Burnout is actually the ‘burning out’ of our stress response system. In other words, we have ignored our instinctive stress response system (fight or flight response) for so long that we have burnt it out. Our body and mind are now unable to respond to stress, we are just too tired to respond. We are burnt out, the body and mind have shut down, we are now physically and mentally ill. Burnout is no joke, it will take up to 8-9 months to physically and mentally recover.
If you are suffering from burnout, you will need guidance and support to get through the difficult times and help you recover. Our stress and burnout counsellors and coaches have vast experience and can help and guide you in your recovery.
How your stress and burnout counsellor can help you
Your stress and burnout counsellor is a shoulder to lean on in a very difficult time in your life. In stress and burnout counselling you lead the way, while your counsellor helps you:
- Identify and examine your stressors and stress responses.
- Assess your physical and mental health.
- Assess and monitor your energy levels.
- Lower your stress hormone levels.
- Develop your stress awareness.
- Evaluate and improve your coping skills and strategies.
- Help you develop tools to avoid future stress and burnout.
- Develop personal daily stress relief techniques that fit perfectly into your busy lifestyle.
- Become more energised, motivated, positive; and most importantly, improve your physical and mental health.
Reducing stressors, preventing and recovering from burnout is all about lowering stress hormone levels. To do this we need to understand the role our hormones play in our stress response and how we can put the brakes on our stress response. We need to reduce our stress hormone levels to be able to feel better and live longer healthier lives, with good personal and working relationships.