A couple weeks ago, the World Health Organization recognized “burn out” as a legitimate health issue.
There’s now even a diagnosis code your doctor can use to bill insurance.
The technical definition put out by the WHO focuses around employment and the diagnosis is specifically limited to work situations.
Here are the 3 criteria:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
I have one word for the WHO: hallelujah! Practitioners in the natural healthcare world have known about this issue for decades because we see and treat it all. the. time.
I'm disappointed that this definition only applies to work situations. There’s plenty of other things that can burn us out in life, but at least we’re *finally* starting somewhere.
I want to make it very clear that you are NOT broken or a failure if you are feeling burned out in any aspect of your life.
Our culture is set up to push us to the edge of our limits day in and day out.
If you take a break you’re weak.
If you are burned out, take a few days to figure it out, then get right back at it.
→ This is NOT how health works. ←
We are not cars. We can’t just change out a part and be good as new.
And as weird as it sounds, that’s actually a good thing.
Because we are organic, fluid, dynamic systems, we can do something that machines like cars can’t even dream of: ADAPT + GROW.
This is the greatest gift of burn out.
The chance to grow into ourselves.
To make the changes in our lives that we’ve always wanted, but haven’t felt that we’ve deserved or had a right to pursue.
To sort through what we want and what we don’t want.
To let go of a bunch of obligations that aren’t really relevant to us, but that we've been hanging on to.
We need time to recover, and shift our perspective if something in our lives isn’t working for us and that’s totally ok.
Take the time to do that for yourself!
Get curious about burn out instead of shoving it down and soldiering on.
Ask yourself where your feelings of frustration, overwhelm, and fatigue are coming from.
Then ask what you can change to make them better.
Find people and professionals that support your process and build you up.
Create breathing room in your life to get to know yourself again.
These are easy words to type, but an entirely different matter to execute in your life.
Compounding the difficulty of this step is that it’s entirely out of our cultural norm to stop and question. To find ourselves.
But what I’ve seen time and time again in my patients (and in my own life) is that when we take that step into the unknown, we’re scared, but we already feel better.
We start serving ourselves rather than stuff that don’t have our best interests in mind.
And beautiful things begin to unfold for us.