- Burnout corresponds to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion often linked to overly intense work situations.
- Dr. Amelia Nagoski has been a victim of this and gives her advice on how to avoid it.
- According to her, you have to listen to yourself, not minimize the signs, take stress factors into account, be indulgent towards yourself and surround yourself with good people.
It can happen to all of us: burnout. According to High Authority of Health (HAS), this can be defined as a “physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that results from prolonged investment in emotionally demanding work situations”.
Doctorate, part-time jobs: overwork leads to burnout
Physically, a person in burnout can experience intense fatigue, sleep and musculoskeletal disorders, cramps, headaches, dizziness, or even suffer from anorexia or gastrointestinal disorders. From an emotional and mental point of view, the symptoms can be of the’anxiety, irritability, withdrawal, social isolation, aggressive behavior, low motivation and morale, doubts about one’s skills, etc.
The doctor Amelia Nagoski was a victim of this during her doctorate. At the time, she was working three part-time jobs and had a family. She was hospitalized because of this overwork and has since learned to read and respond to her body’s signs of stress. Together with her sister, Dr. Emily Nagoski, they wrote a book on this subject titled “New York Times Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle”, translated into French as “Why women burn out”. She shares her advice in an article by the canadian university The Calgary.
Better manage your stress to avoid exhaustion and burn-out
The author’s first advice is to listen to yourself and not minimize certain symptoms. “Emotions are physiological cycles that occur in your body, explains the author. These are not just imaginary ideas, people don’t make it up or act out in a dramatic way… They happen in your body, they are based on your overreaction to stress and you can act on this response cycle to stress before you even solve the problem that is stressing you.” She therefore recommends learning to manage stress, which can go through different things: physical activity, bonds with family, friends, pets or spirituality, affection and laughter, etc. .
The second observation of Dr. Amelia Nagoski is that some inconspicuous factors contribute to burnout. Knowing how to detect them therefore makes it possible to better supply them and above all to understand their consequences. “I knew sexism existed, but I had never experienced it, she continues. There are several other power dynamics like race, physical ability, mental health. (…) There is so much [de situations] where people without access to power are treated differently and suffer real physical consequences from this kind of minority stress. So knowing it’s real is [important].”
Last very important point to avoid burn-out: self-compassion, that is to say, be indulgent and benevolent towards oneself. “If you love yourself, you will be surrounded by people who love you too, indicates the Dr. Amelia Nagoski. There is you don’t have to conform to arbitrarily constructed social ideals to be safe. Having your own entourage is what matters.”