If you have a busier period for only a short while, a burnout will not occur. Before you burn out, you have been experiencing stress, pressure and fatigue for a long time. If you do not respond adequately to this, you could end up with a burnout. Although every person is different and the ultimate causes of burnout differ from person to person, it is often work-related factors in combination with personal characteristics that contribute to the development of a burnout. Stichting Burnout has developed its own tool to inventory the triggers of burnout: the BBTI, Blankert Burnout Trigger Inventory. Overwrite the sample words and numbers with your own words and numbers, and it will become clear to you what caused you the most. The BBTI also covers the private sphere: energy ‘guzzlers’ in it, as well as a lack of emotional recovery options in private life. The BBTI is the starting point for our treatments: PA – Problem Analysis UK
High demands, low control (prof. Karasek)
When you are motivated and enjoy working, you get energy from your work. Do too many things have to be done at work in too short a time? Do you experience an unpleasant work atmosphere? Have you been imposed too high or unclear responsibility? This creates pressure and stress that you cannot keep at work. You take the pressure and stress of work home with you and you can spend hours worrying about it in the evening, and even at night. This ensures that you do not get enough rest, the balance between work and private life is disrupted and that you slowly burn out. In this way you slowly slide into a burnout.
In addition to the level of the requirements placed on you, ‘the high degree of regulation’ = ‘control’ is very important for your own stress level. That is the freedom to organize and plan your own work as you wish, and perform it in a way that suits your own needs. When the way of implementation has been completely determined, you can no longer adapt it to your own needs and you will end up in a burnout all the more quickly.
According to prof. Karasek, the combination of ‘highe demands’ with ‘low control’ is a recipe for getting burnout.
The causes of burnout are very personal. Where one person gets motivation from work pressure, achievement and hard work, another person can succumb to it. Some people are more likely to get a burnout than others. That’s because of the personality. Suppose you and your colleague both have office jobs with the same workload. You are the perfectionist who likes to be in control, is overly loyal and has a high sense of responsibility. It is difficult to say no and you may be dealing with unresolved emotions and feelings. You will then burn out more quickly than your colleague who does not have these qualities, despite both having the same amount of workload.
It is important to check: what was it like at the start of the job, or first job at the current employer: did everything go well? Then you had the right personal characteristics. Check what has changed in the meantime: it is usually in the context. The function changed, the technology, the control space, the interactions … until the whole thing became too stressful, and ended in a burnout. That is why we say that burnout is almost always ‘work related’. Once you could, now you couldn’t do it under THOSE CONDITIONS: have you changed or has something changed in the work context?
In a burnout recovery coaching program we can transform you from a ‘fragile’ person to a ‘non-fragile’ or ‘resilient’ person, through change of amongst others your ‘coping styles’.
Fortunately, initial personal characteristics are not everything. Partly we can change them. And you can do a lot in your ‘response to circumstances’ = coping style(s).
Mindfulness and ACT (Achievement Commitment Therapy) are very strong forms of therapy that we use for burnout recovery.
We also solve problems practically.
The old-fashioned cognitive behavioral therapy is less successful for burnout recovery, because the old assumption ‘thoughts determine emotions’ does not hold true with burnout. It is also the emotions that take over and attract the wrong thoughts. At that point, mindfulness and ACT are much more powerful.
It is very important, with the help of the BBTI, to find out what happened in the build-up towards burnout. Because that is precisely where the lessons to be learned and the coping style to be changed. When recovering from burnout, the context that led to burnout is therefore very important. You cannot cure someone from burnout ‘who has driven in’ without finding out the past context. This is very different from a broken leg or depression, where the cause is irrelevant and the patient can be treated from diagnosis without having knowledge of the past and the current work context.
Stichting Burnout is ready to help you
Once the body is burned out and you have a burnout, you can experience various annoying symptoms. Resting for a while and then working again is often counterproductive. Often times, you can only fully recover from a burnout with an expert, professional recovery program. The Burnout Foundation has experienced consultants who have had a burnout themselves. They therefore understand better than anyone how you feel and can guide you optimally in your burnout recovery. Do you have a burnout and do you want to fully recover from it? Would you like to know what a burnout means for you and how the causes can be tackled? Please contact us by filling in the contact form. You can also come to us for a free exploratory meeting. We are happy to help you.