Burnout and the Neuroscience Behind.

Anxious. Obnoxious. Crippled. Helpless. Disillusioned. That’s how you feel when you are on your journey to burnout. 

Burnout is a mental, emotional and physical state that leaves you mentally drained, demotivated and exhausted; and this occurs due to prolonged anxiety or stress. It can make you lose interest in what earlier motivated you and leave you feeling absolutely crippled. 

It’s even worse now with the pandemic going on, when most people are either working from home, or spending all their times looking for jobs, or people who have to go out and work, interacting with people, which often leaves them in fear of getting contaminated by the virus. 

The line between work, personal and private space has vanished somewhere, and we need to chase it and embed it back into our lives. 

If we don’t do that soon enough, we may be on the verge of facing a burnout. It steals all your energy, robs you of your productivity and you are left in a cynical and resentful state. 

And the adverse effects of burnout don’t just affect your work life, but it spills over into every area of life, including your home, work, and social life. It can leave long term effects on your body making your body more vulnerable to common illnesses as well.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can feel it creeping on to you slyly. If you feel helpless, overloaded, or unappreciated, and you literally have to drag yourself out of the bed every morning, you may be burned out. However, it’s not so simple to decipher. 

How can you tell if it’s stress or burnout, right? Stress is something that is challenging mentally and physically, but at the end of the day, you are able to get the situation under control. 

Burnout is when you just can’t do enough, you feel mentally exhausted and can feel some sort of hollowness inside you, things don’t feel good enough and you lack motivation.

Let’s see the effects burnout has on your brain. Neuroscientists discovered that burnout has the following effects on your brain:

It enlarges your amygdala: Amygdala is the part of the brain that controls emotional reactions. This results in you being more moody than usual and having a stronger response to stress when triggered. 

The effect on the prefrontal cortex : Prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for cognitive functioning, the part of the brain responsible to think. This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour. Burnout degrades the functionality of the prefrontal cortex – it usually occurs as you age, but in people who are stressed for prolonged periods of time, it occurs much more rapidly.

Burnout also leads to shorter attention spans, and weakening of the parts of the brain that control memory. This makes it more difficult to learn new things or to recollect thoughts.

The brains of people who are chronically burnt-out show similar damage as people who have experienced trauma.

How to fight burnout?

  • Validate your feelings, understand and accept what’s happening to your body and allow yourself the break your mind and body requires. 
  • Sleep well. Get some good rest. 
  • Eat healthy and keep yourself hydrated. 
  • Exercise. It boosts your physical and mental energy. 
  • Ask for help any time you need it, communicate about it with someone.

Please refer to this blog to understand more about the phases of burnout, the symptoms and how it can be dealt with: https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout

Let’s deal with it while there’s time! 

2 responses to “Burnout and the Neuroscience Behind.”

  1. Such an important topic. We need to take more care of ourselves, before we can for others and other things. A time ago this topic was quite new for me until getting to know it with my closest ones. It takes so much time to get well again – it’s not worth it to give yourself up for work (and often you realize quite late that you do so).. everyone deserves balance in life

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Leonie, it’s so important to have some personal as well as private time, and despite the amount of work, we need to value that. Thank you for this comment and yes, we definitely need a balance in life.

      Liked by 1 person

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