10 signs of burnout and how to treat it

10 signs of burnout and how to treat it

This article was contributed by Gemma Cribb, founder of Equilibrium Psychology.

We all have days when we are less than our best. We all have mornings when we’d rather be doing almost anything else than going into work. And if we can deduce anything from the proliferation of terms like “hump day” and “Friyay” we are not alone in feeling like this!

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It happens when we feel overwhelmed, lacking in energy, and helpless to meet the constant demands placed on us. Burnout often stems from our work whether it be our paid job or the labour we do at home and caring for children or ageing parents.

Burnout is a gradual process that can creep up on us. We may dismiss our feelings of burnout as a “bad week” at first, but they can become worse over time. Burnout reduces our productivity and saps our energy. It makes us vulnerable to illness and has a negative effect on our relationships and mood. It leaves us feeling exhausted, cynical, and inadequate.

Here are 10 signs of burnout to be on the look out for:

  1. You are getting stuck on work thoughts when you are home
  2. You are drinking to switch off from work
  3. You are finding it difficult to go to sleep because of work thoughts
  4. You are having difficulty remembering things
  5. You are having more days of work due to sickness or just not feeling able to face it
  6. You are getting neck pain or headaches
  7. You are finding yourself more prone to colds and tummy bugs
  8. You find you are making silly mistakes
  9. You find you are caring less about your work
  10. You have thought about quitting and finding a new job or new career

Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout as soon as possible. Think of the symptoms above as warning signs and try to change things for yourself as soon as possible. Trying to push through will only worsen the situation and could lead to break down.

Once you have recognised signs of burnout in yourself it’s important to seek support and try to minimise your stress in whatever way you can. Seeking out the help of a psychologist or attending an anti-burnout workshop (such as this one we are running) can teach you essential recovery skills.

One intervention that most people suffering with burnout find useful is “job crafting.” Job crafting involves redesigning aspects your role (at work or home) in ways that lead to satisfaction, engagement, resilience and thriving.

Job crafting can occur in three main domains: we can reduce the stressors in our roles (the boring or frustrating tasks); we can increase the healthy challenges in our roles (the meaningful and interesting tasks) and we can increase the resources available to us in our roles.  This can include gaining more feedback, more social support, automating a tedious process, or learning a new skill.  Job crafting can change the way we think about our work, improve our working relationships, foster positive experiences and, best of all, prevent burnout! 

Finding the right counsellor, therapist, or support for you is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards mental wellbeing. Start your search for the right mental health professional for you by clicking here.

Tips for breaking the people pleaser habit

Tips for breaking the people pleaser habit

This article was contributed by Gemma Cribb, founder of Equilibrium Psychology.

A ‘people pleaser’ is someone who will go out of their way to make others happy. They constantly put other people’s needs and feelings before their own. They will say “yes” when they want to say “no.” They will rush to the aid of friends and family regardless of what is going on in their own lives. They will back down as soon as there is a whiff of conflict so as not to upset someone.
 
Research has shown that people pleasers, who also tend to be high on the “agreeableness” trait, are not often as successful as people who are low on agreeableness. People pleasers tend to have more unequal and insecure relationships and tend also to be prone to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
 
Usually, because of a long history of emotional neglect and conditional love dating back to childhood, people pleasers fear conflict. They believe that any disagreement will cause rejection and that they will lose the love or respect they want unless they agree or give in. They believe they have to work hard for the love and admiration that they get, rather than holding a belief that they are valuable and worthwhile for just being them. People pleasers are often also relatively unaware of their own needs and feelings and will rarely ask for help even if they do know what they require from others.
 
Because people pleasing is often such an old, ingrained habit, it can take a while to break. However, if you are a people pleaser and want to break this habit, you can start by following these tips:
 

1. Spend time checking in with your own needs and feelings

People pleasers tend to focus on everyone else and rarely spend the time to get to know and understand their own needs and feelings. Paying attention and even taking the time to diarise your own patterns can really help. Useful things to take note of are: energy levels, mood, working hours, sleep patterns and even unhelpful habits like binge-watching TV, binge eating, drinking alcohol and other signs that things may not be all rosy for you.
 

2. Be aware of your “shoulds” and compare them to your “authentic yes”

People pleasers often make decisions based on what they feel is the “right thing” to do, what they “should” do or what will make others happy. Becoming aware of this rationalisation process and comparing it to when you actually, genuinely FEEL like doing something can really help you separate out your authentic needs from your conditioned habits. And, if the feeling you have in response to a request is not 100% ‘YES’ then treat it as a ‘No’!
 

3. Get used to slow ‘No’s or buying time

People pleasers often react on impulse and say “yes” before they give themselves time to feel their own energy levels and think about the consequences of saying “yes” for them. Getting practiced at “let me have a look at my diary and I’ll get back to you” or “let me sleep on it” can give you the time to do some self-reflection and reality testing before you respond to any request.
 

4. A “yes” is always a “no” to something else

Take the time to reality test the request. What WON’T you have time for if you agree to this request? What will you have to put off to fit this in? What is the real consequence of doing this for you? Most people pleasers trick themselves into believing that each request they say “yes” to is “not a big deal” and rarely stop to consider the cumulative consequences of these decisions.
 

5. Practice saying “no”

Most people pleasers fear conflict. To lessen your anxiety start practicing saying “no” to people and requests and see what happens. Most of the time the consequences won’t be as bad as you fear and you will be nicely surprised at how reasonable people can be. If this is a real challenge for you begin your practice by saying “no” to the people and requests that are most easy for you (e.g. saying no to a telemarketer) and work up to saying “no” to the people and requests that are most difficult for you (e.g. saying no to your boss or parent).
 
Finding the right counsellor, therapist, or support for you is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards mental wellbeing. Start your search for the right mental health professional for you by clicking here.

 

Let’s get this straight, his erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with you

Let’s get this straight, his erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with you

This article was contributed by Gemma Cribb, founder of Equilibrium Psychology.




He swiped right on the app. He chased you for months. He said you were a “10”. He told you he couldn’t wait to get you naked. You finally end up in the bedroom together and then… nothing! He just can’t seem to get it up! What is going on?! Is it you?

Well, before you go buying fancy lingerie, getting waxed or losing 10kg – please, let me assure you: his erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with how hot you are!

In fact, if anything it is the opposite!

The most common cause of erectile dysfunction in young men is anxiety (and in older men it can be about vascular and health issues.) Most men put a lot of pressure on themselves to please their partners in the bedroom. Often more so if they find their partner super hot! So in some sense if he is anxious about performing and wanting to please you then it may be that he finds you VERY attractive!

Of course it’s not your fault if you are blaming your looks. We live in a very superficial society and we’ve all heard guys judge girls on the basis of attractiveness. Few of us look like porn stars and so if that is sexy then what hope do we have? What is more, guys often use the excuse “it’s because you are so hot” when they come too quickly! It’s only natural to assume the reverse when they can’t get an erection!

However, far more commonly, erectile dysfunction in younger guys is as a result of a guy being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or getting too worried about his sexual performance. As you are getting it on, a guy will either be thinking about sexy things, OR he will be thinking about his own sexual performance. You can imagine that the more they focus on their penis and whether they are getting hard or not, the less aroused they will be. Men, in general, aren’t turned on by thoughts of their own penis! Then, the more they freak out about not getting an erection, the less likely it is that they will gain one over time.

The best thing you can do to help your guy is to relax and just enjoy the sexy stuff that you can enjoy without the erection. The less of a big deal you can make it, the more likely you will take his mind off it and the more likely his erection will perk up. Please don’t turn off the lights, cover up, stop what you are doing, or start questioning him about whether he finds you hot. Know your own worth and believe in yourself. He wouldn’t have taken you to bed if he wasn’t interested in you!

As a sex therapist, I have heard the occasional guy get defensive and try and blame their partner’s lack of attractiveness for their own sexual dysfunction. For guys with big egos, it’s easier to blame their partner than admit that their penis doesn’t work as it should! If you find that your guy is criticising your looks and blaming you for his problem then please, put on your clothes, walk right out of there and don’t look back! Not only is this insensitive to your feelings, it’s a good indicator that any other time there is a problem in the relationship he will blame you – don’t give him that chance! There are plenty of guys who will worship you for the goddess you are so you can leave him and his dysfunction for the next unlucky girl – let’s hope she too knows her worth and can tell him where to go if he tries that again!

Finding the right counsellor, therapist, or support for you is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards mental wellbeing. Start your search for the right mental health professional for you by clicking here.