by Kathy Zering
In today’s fast-paced world, burnout is becoming more and more common. And the connection between burnout and your physical health and wellbeing is undeniable.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It’s a condition where you’re completely depleted and feeling hopeless, frustrated and fatigued. Chronic stress that’s tied to burnout has a significant impact on your body and mind, and it’s essential to understand the effects of this type of stress to prevent burnout and maintain good health.
Chronic Stress Causes Burnout
Chronic stress is the most common cause of burnout. It’s the result of prolonged exposure to stressors, like work-related stress, financial stress, relationship stress, or health-related stress.
In your body, chronic stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the body’s “fight or flight” response. When this happens, your body releases stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, to help you respond to the stressor. These hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, preparing your body for action.
While the fight or flight response is needed for you to respond to acute stress that lasts from a few hours or days to a few weeks, it can be harmful when it’s chronic (lasts for months or years).
Burnout’s Detrimental Effects on Your Body
Chronic stress can lead to the overproduction of stress hormones, which has detrimental effects on your body. These effects include:
Chronic stress is known to increase the risk of heart disease by causing the heart to work harder than necessary. It can also lead to high blood pressure, which can damage the arteries and increase the risk of a future heart attack or stroke.
Immune system dysfunction
Stress hormones can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to getting sick by picking up contagious infections and illnesses from others.
Chronic stress can also increase inflammation, which has been linked to a range of chronic health conditions, including chronic joint pain, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and cancer.
Stress can also lead to digestive problems like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux and excess stomach acid. Chronic stress is linked to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Mental health issues
Chronic stress can have a significant impact on your mental health, leading to brain fog, the inability to concentrate, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. It can also worsen symptoms of existing mental health challenges and conditions.
Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other sleep issues. Lack of sleep can, in turn, worsen stress and lead to a vicious cycle.
Muscle tension and pain
Chronic stress can cause muscle tension and pain, especially in the neck, shoulders and back. It can also worsen existing chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Managing Burnout and Chronic Stress
It’s important to understand that the effects of chronic stress are cumulative. The longer stress is present and not addressed, the more damage it can do to your body. So don’t ignore the signs of burnout and chronic stress. It’s crucial to take steps to prevent burnout and manage stress levels quickly.
Here are some ways to manage stress and prevent burnout:
Self-care is essential for maintaining physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Taking care of yourself can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. Some examples of self-care include exercise/regular movement, getting good quality sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or intentional breathwork.
Practice time management
Effective time management can help reduce stress levels by allowing you to prioritize tasks and manage your workload effectively. This includes setting realistic goals, breaking tasks into manageable steps, delegating tasks to others, and scheduling time for breaks and relaxation.
Crucial for preventing burnout is the setting of boundaries. It’s important to learn to say “no” to requests that are not essential or that will put too much strain on your resources. It’s also important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, and allow and plan your time to include rest and relaxation. Hint: add it to your calendar.
Seek social support
Talking to friends, family or a professional can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. Having a support system can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that often accompany burnout..
Practice being present (mindfulness)
Being present, or mindfulness, is a practice that involves being fully conscious of what you’re experiencing in the now – your present moment experience. And being fully engaged with it without distraction. If you’re lost in thought, reliving the past, worrying about the future, or going through the motions, it interferes with how you act in the present.
The famous philosopher Lao Tzu said “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Being present by focusing and listening to others during conversations, or with practices like meditation and deep breathing can help you feel more connected, reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Fully enjoying the little things in life, like savoring a hot cup of tea or coffee, or joyfully appreciating the blooms and wildlife in a garden during spring or summer, are other examples of being present.
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. It may not always be feasible, but a 5 to 10 minute break every hour is ideal. Taking a short walk, practicing deep breathing while stretching your body, or taking a brief nap helps recharge your batteries and keep stress levels in check. Listen to your body’s cues and don’t push through what it’s telling you it needs. Take that 10 minute nap if you’re exhausted. You’ll feel better afterwards.
Seek professional help
If stress levels are severe or chronic, it may be necessary to seek professional help. As an intuitive healing coach who specializes in burnout and stress relief, as well as a Corp HR burnout survivor, I believe everyone suffering with burnout deserves help to recover more quickly and effectively than suffering alone. I know first hand how important getting the right professional is to help you develop coping skills, manage stress and prevent burnout.
The connection between burnout and your physical health and wellbeing is clear. Chronic stress has a significant negative impact on your body, and can lead to a range of health problems like cardiovascular disease, immune system dysfunction, increased inflammation, digestive problems, mental health issues, sleep problems, and muscle tension and pain.
Because of this direct link, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent burnout and manage stress levels before it’s too late. Prioritizing self-care, practicing time management, setting boundaries, seeking social support, practicing being present, taking breaks and seeking professional help are all effective ways to manage stress and prevent burnout. By taking care of yourself and managing your stress levels, you can maintain good physical and mental health and wellbeing and avoid the detrimental effects of chronic stress.
Additionally, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout. These can include physical symptoms like exhaustion, headaches, and muscle tension, as well as emotional symptoms like irritability, cynicism, and a lack of motivation. Burnout can also lead to a decrease in productivity, quality of work, and job satisfaction.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, it’s important to take action sooner than later. Get professional help, adjust your workload or take time off to rest and recharge. Ignoring burnout can lead to long-term and serious health issues and a decreased quality of life.
Photo by Alexander Grey, Unsplash
by Kathy Zering
The history of energy healing is a fascinating exploration from ancient times to modern practice. Energy healing as a practice has been around for thousands of years. It has been recorded in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, and India, with evidence suggesting that it was also practiced in other parts of the world during ancient times.
Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures. Keep reading to explore the history of energy healing from its earliest origins to modern-day practices.
Ancient Energy Healing Practices
Early energy healing practices were often closely tied to religious or spiritual beliefs and were used to promote healing on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Here are some examples of ancient energy healing practices that have been used for thousands of years.
The earliest recorded energy healing practices can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China and India. In Egypt, energy healing was practiced through the use of sacred symbols and amulets, which were believed to have healing powers.
Energy healing in China, referred to as Qi Gong, focused on the flow of energy through the body to promote healing. Also, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic healing system that has been in use for over 2,500 years. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the vital life force energy that flows through the body. TCM uses various techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine to balance the flow of Qi and promote health and well-being.
In India, the practice of Ayurveda incorporated energy healing through the use of prana, or life force energy, to balance the body’s energy centers or chakras.
Lastly, Shamanism is an ancient healing practice that has been used by indigenous cultures around the world for thousands of years. Shamanism involves connecting with the spirit world and working with spirits and other energies for healing and well-being. Shamanic practices include journeying, drumming, chanting, and other rituals.
In many cases, the healers themselves were seen as spiritual leaders in the community with the ability to connect with a higher power or divine source to channel healing energy. As such, they were an important and integral part of the culture.
Energy Healing in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, energy healing practices continued to evolve and adapt to the prevailing cultural and religious beliefs of the time. Here are some examples of energy healing practices from this time:
In Europe, the practice of laying on hands was used to promote healing, with religious figures such as priests and nuns serving as healers. This practice was based on the belief that the energy of the divine could be channeled through the hands to promote healing.
In other parts of the world like Africa and South America, traditional healers used a variety of energy healing techniques to promote healing and well-being in the community. These techniques often incorporated ritual, prayer, and the use of natural remedies such as herbs and plants.
Alchemy was a practice that originated in ancient Egypt and was later developed in the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various substances and techniques to transform base metals into gold, but it was also believed to have spiritual and healing properties. Alchemists believed that all matter was composed of four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – and that by understanding and manipulating these elements, they could promote healing and balance in the body.
Herbal medicine was another popular form of energy healing during the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various plants and herbs for their beneficial properties. Herbalists believed that different plants and herbs had specific properties and energies, and that by using these plants in specific ways, healing and balance in the body would result.
Mystical Christianity was a spiritual movement that emerged during the Middle Ages too. It involved the use of prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices to connect with God for healing, wellness and well-being. Mystical Christians believed that the body was a temple of the Holy Spirit and that by connecting with God through prayer and meditation, they could promote balance and healing in the body.
Kabbalah is a Jewish mystical tradition that originated in the Middle Ages. It involves the study of the Jewish scriptures and the use of various techniques, such as meditation and visualization, to connect with God. Kabbalists believed that the body was a vessel for the divine energy of God and that by working with this energy, they could promote healing, well-being and balance.
Energy Healing in the Modern Era
In the early 1900s, Austrian-American chiropractor, osteopath and naturopath Dr. Randolph Stone developed a system of energy healing known as polarity therapy. This practice focused on balancing the body’s energy centers, or chakras, through a combination of bodywork, diet, and exercise.
In the early 20th century, the Japanese physician Dr. Mikao Usui developed a system of energy healing known as Reiki. It’s based on the belief that there’s a universal life force energy that flows through all living things, and that by channeling this energy, a practitioner can promote balance and the body’s natural healing abilities. Reiki involves the use of hands-on or hands-off techniques to balance the flow of energy in the body. Reiki has since become a popular form of energy healing around the world.
Here are some more examples of the many forms of energy healing that have emerged and gained popularity in the modern era.
- Quantum Healing: Quantum healing is a modern approach to energy healing that incorporates principles from quantum physics. It is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made up of energy and that by working with the energy fields of the body, a practitioner can promote healing and balance. Quantum healing may involve techniques such as visualization, intention setting, and energy work.
- Crystal Healing: Crystal healing is a modern form of energy healing that uses crystals and gemstones to promote healing and balance. It is based on the belief that different crystals and stones have specific vibrational energies and properties that can influence, or entrain, the body’s vibrational energy. By working with these energies, a practitioner can promote a better flow of energy, healing and well-being. Crystal healing may involve placing crystals on the body, using crystals in meditation, or wearing crystals as jewelry.
- Sound Healing: Sound healing, a type of vibrational medicine, is a modern form of energy healing that uses sound waves to promote healing and balance. It is based on the idea that sound has a powerful effect on the body’s energy fields and can be used to shift and balance these energies. Sound healing may involve techniques such as using singing bowls, tuning forks, or chanting to create a healing vibration.
- Energetic Emotional Release™: EER is a modern form of energy healing based on the belief that unhelpful negative emotions and beliefs can become stuck and create blocks in the body’s energy fields. These blocks cause imbalances and a host of other problematic issues if left unresolved. The practitioner can locate and remove these blocks to promote deep healing and restore balance.
These are some of the techniques I use with clients with successful results, and just a few examples of modern energy healing practices that have emerged in recent years. As energy healing’s popularity grows, it continues to evolve and adapt to new beliefs and practices.
Although each of these methodologies has its own unique approach, they all share the common belief that we as humans have the innate ability to heal ourselves and that energy is a key component of health, wellness and well-being.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Energy healing promotes healing and well-being on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In other words, it impacts the mind, body, and spirit for complete relief and healing. Here are just a few of the potential benefits of energy healing:
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: energy healing helps reduce stress and anxiety by triggering the relaxation response in the body and calming the mind.
- Improved Immune Function: energy healing has been shown to boost immune function, which can help the body fight off illness and disease.
- Enhanced Physical Healing: energy healing enhances physical healing by improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting tissue regeneration.
- Increased Energy and Vitality: By balancing the body’s energy centers, energy healing increases vibrational energy levels and vitality, helping you feel more vibrant and alive.
- Emotional Healing: Energy healing is a powerful tool for emotional healing, helping you release negative emotions and promoting feelings of peace and well-being.
- Spiritual Growth: energy healing is beneficial on a spiritual level too. It can help you connect with a higher power, divine source or inspirational creativity, and provides a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
It’s important to note that while energy healing is beneficial for people, it’s not a substitute for qualified medical care. Energy healing practices have continued to evolve and adapt to new cultural, scientific, and spiritual beliefs, and have become a popular form of complementary medicine in modern times.
The practice of energy healing has a long and rich history. Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures.
Today, energy healing continues to be a popular form of complementary medicine and tool for personal and spiritual development, with many practitioners combining traditional techniques with modern scientific understanding of the body’s energy fields. Whether used for physical healing, emotional healing, mental healing or spiritual growth, energy healing can be a powerful tool for promoting health, wellness and well-being.
Personally, I find energy healing the perfect complement to the life coaching, personal growth and spiritual development work I do with clients. We all have an inherent ability to heal ourselves on all levels – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – with the help of using energy healing techniques. Energy healing provides a more thorough and direct approach to transformational change, typically with faster results.
Featured Photo by Greg Rakozy, Unsplash