Is Burnout CHANGING Your Brain?! Here’s What to Do About It

If you’re feeling more maxed-out than ever, trust us, you’re not alone! It’s been a stressful few years, so to chat through how we’re feeling and more importantly, what to do about it, Wellbeings chatted to head clinician of BePure, Lisa Walker. 

Hey Lisa – tell us, is stress and burnout a global problem right now? 

That’s definitely something we’re seeing, – trends in both how people are feeling in relation to their life in general, based on what’s going on in the world around us. We can also see waves in certain health challenges as well: you might get a whole week of people that are battling with their hormones, or a whole week of those that are battling with their gut symptoms. There are definitely things which come through for us as clinicians – it might be because of a personal bias, but it is really fascinating how things seem to amalgamate and interconnect for our clients.

What are some of the typical stresses that are arising? 

Lots of people feel the pressure of time. I’ve had numerous conversations with clients around how they feel like they haven’t got enough time to do all the things they need to squeeze into their lives. Despite the fact that a mindfulness practice would be most helpful for someone in this situation, sadly, it’s a state the encourages us to put our well being at the very bottom of the to do list. It’s not a new conversation and in the many years I have worked with clients, the ideas of “time-poor” and “selfcare-optional” are things that come up time and time again – and it appears to be a reflection of the way that we are living in the modern world. 

And as well, it’s common for people to feel as sense of constant connection to their phones and a need to be constantly available for others via technology. Many of us find it hard to make time to just be present with ourselves and can feel “always on” due to the way we have learnt to communicate with each other with the addition of technology to our lives. 

Financial well-being is also something that I find comes up a bit right now, and is a very worthy consideration due to the impact of financial stress on on our wellbeing. A holistic approach to wellness needs to consider financial constraints because of the impact and influence financial stability has on our sense of safety.  We all want to feel like we’re making the right choices for our health and wellbeing but it can be more beneficial to make choices that fit with our financial constraints and reduce the stress that comes with financial woes. Stress hinders our ability to rest, heal and reach our wellbeing goals, thus, reducing our stress by fostering financial safety is an important for our wellbeing. 

This idea of feeling “always on” nicely leads into a conversation on why many of us always feel overwhelmed and exhausted. What are the things you’d suggest for someone to do when they’re feeling like that?

One, have a look at sleep. If you’re lacking in sleep quantity or quality, double down on your bedtime routine and prioritise getting to bed on time. Adequate quality sleep really helps rejuvenate the system and enables us to cope with whatever else is going on. 

Two, take a look at your hunger. Stress can take our hunger away, or increase it. It can  encourage us eat more processed food and for forgo nourishment which our body needs to feel safe. Whole foods are really important for us and can help to counterbalance the effects of stress in our body. 

Three, check in on your mood. Take stock if you’re feeling exhausted, disconnected, or negative towards things you’d traditionally enjoy. If this resonates with you, consider giving your body the opportunity for more rest, aim to eat more whole foods and ensure your main meals include a palm-sized  serving of protein and carbohydrates respectively. Quality sleep and nutrition go a long way when it comes to finding joy and feeling happy and optimistic. 

And lastly, get to know your bowel motions – our toilet habits are a great indicator of our health. While we may joke about bodily evacuations and flatulence, the reality is that daily bowel motions and a bloat-free belly are both signs of good health. Irregular bowel motions and gut discomfort can be a sign of stress, but also a red flag that we need for us to resting and digesting more. I often recommend clients aim to chew their food until liquid, eat in a calm state away from distractions, and work towards a 12 hour fast to foster good sleep and optimal digestion. 

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