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  • How many times have you had that feeling of impending doom

  • as you watch your mobile phone battery drain away

  • knowing full well you don't have a charger?

  • Well I had a moment like that on a train

  • and it got me thinking about my own emotional battery

  • and the fact that it needs attention.

  • I started to think, how do I recharge myself

  • and stop myself from being overwhelmed

  • and tipping into emotional burnout?

  • So what exactly is emotional burnout?

  • The term was first used by Herbert Freudenberger

  • in a research paper in 1974.

  • He himself had many major life challenges

  • including fleeing persecution in Germany,

  • setting up a whole new life in the US,

  • learning a new language and studying for his degree in night classes

  • whilst working in a factory.

  • He described emotional burnout as a state

  • of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one's professional life.

  • And he described many different phases,

  • including a compulsion to prove oneself.

  • These days we describe emotional burnout

  • as excessive and prolonged stress

  • leaving us feeling unable to cope with life's challenges.

  • And crucially these stressors come from many different areas

  • of our lives.

  • It could be financial, our relationships,

  • moving home, losing our job, or exams.

  • Any major life change or event.

  • So how do we keep an eye on our emotional battery

  • and prevent ourselves from getting overwhelmed

  • and tipping into emotional burnout?

  • Be a compassionate listener to yourself.

  • When someone experiences a physical knock,

  • we tell them to take it easy

  • and we fully expect them to take time to recover.

  • Well it's the same for emotional knocks.

  • So start checking in with yourself daily. How are you feeling?

  • Agitated? Tired? Stressed? Run down?

  • We very rarely take the time

  • to really check in with how we're feeling.

  • And when we do, we often get stuck in our heads and analyse things.

  • But it's really important to listen

  • to what US philosopher and psychologist

  • Eugene Gendlin called our felt senses.

  • Having butterflies in our tummy when we're feeling nervous

  • is an example of this.

  • We very rarely stop, reflect and really tune in to how we're feeling.

  • Think about a time when someone you know well really listened to you.

  • How did that feel?

  • Be a good and compassionate listener to yourself.

  • Set aside time, about 20 minutes,

  • to really stop, tune in and listen to how you're feeling without judgement.

  • Are you the type of person who can usually cope

  • with stressful and challenging situations at work

  • but are struggling at this time?

  • Well that might be a clue that one of your emotional buckets

  • is low on reserve.

  • Think of your reserves like this -

  • you have a work bucket and a home bucket.

  • If one of those gets low but the other one is well supplied,

  • you'll probably be able to cope.

  • But if they're both low, and you have no reserves to draw on,

  • that's when problems can occur.

  • When one area of our lives is undergoing a battering,

  • other areas can help recharge.

  • Focusing on an area that's going really well

  • and squeezing as much good feeling out of that as possible

  • can really help.

  • Strong relationships are really important for building resilience.

  • So is exercise and doing things that you enjoy.

  • So you can think of these as chargers.

  • Don't be like I used to and look for a charger

  • when you're already in the red zone.

  • Build habits and routine into your daily life.

  • It might be going for a coffee with a friend, listening to a podcast,

  • watching your favourite comedy, anything that you enjoy.

  • Make time for that and prioritise it like it matters, because it does.

  • Babies are often put to sleep with a lullaby and research has shown that

  • actually listening to relaxing music before bedtime

  • can help us all get more sleep and better quality sleep.

  • Music impacts our parasympathetic nervous system

  • which is all about relaxation.

  • So do whatever you can to get the best sleep possible.

  • The American Sleep Association found that adults who sleep

  • less than eight hours a night report higher stress levels

  • than those that get enough sleep.

  • When we don't have enough sleep or poor quality sleep,

  • this impacts our mood, our focus, our concentration

  • and our ability to deal with challenges.

  • And no-one wants that.

  • So now you might just understand why that moment on my train journey

  • helped me with my mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • And hopefully it will mean you will start to check in

  • with your own emotional battery and prioritise it just as much

  • as you prioritise your mobile phone one.

How many times have you had that feeling of impending doom

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B1 emotional burnout sleep battery cope mobile phone

How to burn emotional burnout | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/10/08
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