Burnout: The Silent Epidemic
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
By: Dr. Tomi Mitchell
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I'm Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician, and Certified Health & Wellness Coach.
Who I Am?
I'm Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician, and Certified Health & Wellness Coach. I have been featured multiple times in Ariana Huffington's Thrive Global magazine as well as KevinMD, the leading social media platform for healthcare professionals. I'm an Executive Contributor to Brainz Magazine, a leading European magazine for professionals as well had been featured in many other media outlets.
I have over a decade of experience while running multiple businesses and being a mother and wife. I'm a bold, innovative, passionate, highly intelligent, and energetic woman.
What I can do for you?
I help transform my client's life, helping them go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling focused, energized, and optimistic. I have dedicated my career to helping individuals understand the importance of mental health, and how it is a huge proactive factor for reducing and preventing burnout.
Dr. Tomi Mitchell 00:07
Hello everyone, this is your host Dr. Tomi Mitchell for the Mental Health and Wellness Show. I am happy to introduce the third season of this podcast we will be talking about burnout the silent epidemic burnout became a buzzword during the COVID 19 pandemic. But frankly, the problem was there long before burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Burnout can affect so many aspects of your life, and it can show up in symptoms such as depression, anger, substance abuse, anxiety and relationship problems. Burnout happens when you're overwhelmed with responsibilities that feel too much to handle and address mental health concerns can often result in burnout and just say no, burnout is not exclusive to the healthcare field. Anyone who has had prolonged stress is at risk for burnout. The excellent news about burnout is that it's reversible. Once it's recognized, we all know someone who suffers from burnout, because it's staring us right in the face. But before we recognize it in our own lives, we often ignore the signs and symptoms of burnout or threaten our health or home life and work-life balance, if we ignore it, and choose just to push through it. And burnout can be fatal as suicide rates increase over time for those who suffer from burnout. And as a result, burnout is a serious problem that demands attention. Because as we know, your mental health affects everything you do. Burnout can be even more pronounced in individuals who have leadership roles because at times, they feel like the weight of their organization is on their shoulders. And not surprisingly, we often see this in caretakers, people who are looking after other people. You know, sometimes we call this compassion fatigue, right, and burnout occurs and people will feel that they can no longer work at this peak level, even though they feel like this is expected of them. And in these high-performing individuals, burnout might be defined by long-term exhaustion and diminishing interests. As mentioned, burnout is a silent epidemic that needs to be addressed immediately. But the question is how as we know, burnout has multiple factors, and it can present in so many different ways. So before we can address burnout and deal with it, we need to have a working definition of burnout is defined as a physiological or emotional response to chronic stress. It's essential to understand what burnout is not burn up isn't just being tired from a hard day at work. And burnout isn't being overwhelmed at work because quite frankly, this is part of a normal territory. For many professions. Having burnout doesn't mean you have a dysfunctional workplace. Either. Burnout can occur even when your workplace is actually a generally healthy environment. And also burn up is not necessarily to depression or post-traumatic stress disorders, although it can so if burnout itself isn't the problem, why do so many people exhibit burnout symptoms for one our society sometimes overemphasize the outcome or productivity over the process to get there? Basically, it doesn't matter how hard you have to push on what extremes you have to take to get there. What matters is the outcome. And as you know, in many professions, including physicians, it is seen as a badge of honor to work long end you mean ours in my first career as a physician who prided myself on being able to work long hours bounce between exam rooms, seeing countless patients with a happy go lucky kind of attitude while wearing a pencil skirt and stilettos. This was somewhat sustainable for many years until I got a few reality check. My pivotal moment was when I became pregnant with my first and from the get go. My pregnancy was very challenged and multiple occasions during the pregnancy. I was told my variable was no likely going to be with us or I was at risk of going into preterm labor. This rocked my world, but my professional life and responsibilities had taken a life of their own. I had already stretched myself too thin and then as life has it, I was faced with countless more challenges my professional life, my personal life, and everything in between was suffering. I, like many other stubborn, hardworking individuals ignored my exhaustion and kept pushing despite facing challenge after challenge. It took multiple near death experiences for me and be proud of with my second child, a pandemic, and frankly the feeling that the healthcare system had betrayed me as a patient, and as a provider did I then come to accept the fact that I was burnt out, I have to take the time away from the busyness of life to first stop, rest and clear my head. After several months, I was able to get more clarity on the changes I needed to make in my life. I felt guilty at first because I was so used to putting everyone else first. But after a few situations that made me come to my senses, I decided to put myself care. First, I say this often, self-care isn't necessarily selfish, and you need to be strategic in your yourself care. But next thing I did, I made a wellness lifestyle part of my everyday in life, and I fully embraced a holistic approach to wellness. As this is the mental health and wellness show, I will be amis not to talk about mental health and burnout. Mental health is the most critical aspect of this conversation because burnout happens when there are mental health concerns that are not being addressed. As I mentioned previously, burnout occurs when an individual begins to feel depleted and exhausted, emotionally and physically. Burnout can happen when someone has unrealistic expectations for themselves or others that they could not fulfill. And I'm honest with myself, I can say that happened to me I had unrealistic expectations of myself and also I allow other people's unrealistic expectations of me affect me. As you aware, burnout can lead to absenteeism with increased stress on the job, which can lead to poor mental and physical health. If we let it go untreated, it can lead to anxiety disorders, depression and suicide ideation. In this season, I enjoyed interviewing remarkable individuals who share their experiences with burnout and how they help others and how they are now actively working on preventing this from happening. As always, we bring practical strategies to help you overcome burnout and identify burnout without sugarcoating the truth. And as you know, I don't use a band-aid approach to life. Thank you so much for sharing your precious resource time and listening to us today. It will be an honor for you to share this podcast with others and leave a five-star review if you found this and other episodes to be of benefit. All right, everyone buckles your seat belts, you're going to go on a fascinating and thought-provoking journey. Until next time, this is your host, Dr. Tomi Mitchell from the Mental Health and Wellness Show.
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