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Newsletter Vol. # 51 That's how I see it!

Here is what a reader expressed in comparing the summer Mid-Week newsletter and the That's how I see it! newsletter:

"I much prefer your new Mid-Week concept to your other blog. The Mid-Week is focused on your experience and knowledge, the other blog seems to be random thoughts with no cohesion, or connection to your message.
That's just the way I see it!!!"

Thank you so much for your opinion. Now which way to go? Do you have an opinion? Let me hear from you. Until I get enough feedback, I think I will share with you something I wrote (and some will stop reading at this point), and then I'll add other, what I consider interesting, articles and bits.
Feedback please.

Thank you to those of you who picked up (or are going to pick up) my new book Communication & Relationships to review.

If you would like a copy for free - to review, please call me or email me. I am afraid that you will be on the hook for the postage ($6) if I have to mail it to you. See pick up information at the end of newsletter.


How to be Helpful to People Who are Burning Out

We can see it; they can't!   Simple changes in their behaviour.  We see their irritability and anger occurring more often at their children, colleagues, the organization, government, themselves.  We see that they are more critical and cynical in their language and are getting extremely hard to please.

We see their fatigue, that they are literally dragging themselves through the day and that everything is becoming a big deal.  Their once creative approach to their work is no longer there and is replaced by a 'let's get through it' attitude and the 'thank God it's Friday' theme is prevalent.

Eventually the tears, the anger, the fatigue, result in a total shutting down of the physical and emotional system.  The body gives in and the results are more physical illnesses, more colds, more flues, and more headaches.  'The Sunday night dread' of having to get up and go to work the next morning becomes almost overwhelming and there are fewer hopeful thoughts and feelings and more negative symptoms when thinking about the workplace.

Additional Burnout symptoms as reported by the experts in the literature include: 
depression, irritability, anxiety, inability to concentrate, inability to make simple decisions (Psychological); insomnia, fatigue, muscle tension and pain, headaches, high blood pressure, stomach disturbances, respiratory problems, menstrual and heart irregularities (Physical), sudden weight loss or gain, increased smoking, increased drinking, increased medications, and hyperactivity (Behavioural).

Let me paraphrase the Literature on Burnout:
 "For a condition to be properly labelled as burnout, a person must
 have difficulty with his or her response to the work itself, the workplace,
 the system, the organization, the administrators, and to conditions within
 the workplace that may or may not create a similar response in
 others.  In other words, the conditions surrounding the job must be the
 central reason for the person's dysfunctional state.  It must be
 work-related for the condition to be labelled as 'burnout'."
My simplistic reasons for why people are burning out as stated in the article, "Who Burns Out In Education":
 "Why people are burning out is no longer a mystery.  Work stress-overload, poor management (employer and self), poor job fit, inadequate rewards, lack of support; and personal problems, ." 

So how can we be helpful to colleagues, when their behaviour begins to reflect unhealthy symptoms and they are beginning to slide down the slippery slope to burnout?  I do make the assumption that there is something we can do to be helpful to our colleagues, to assist them to get the help they need and to short circuit the path they're on to poor health.

Perhaps I could start with what I do to be helpful to people.  In our sessions we talk about:  GETTING A LIFE; about understanding our addiction to work and learning to separate work from the most important part of our life which I call the REAL LIFE; about working towards a more BALANCED LIFE, one with BOUNDARIES; about the importance of making yourself Number One 'so that there is enough energy to take care of self and invest in other people'; about re-emphasizing the importance of PLAY; about re-learning (from our blue collar days) to work to TIME and not until the job is done.  About how early learning's in our family of origin taught us to be 'nice' and how we have stretched that role into one of Rescuing people, and how that role has led to a dependency on the strokes received for being a Rescuer so that now as adults it makes it very difficult for us to live healthily ourselves.  I would also talk to them about COMMUNICATION and emphasize that only they have the power to change their lives.

These are some of the concepts and issues that people who come to see me, and who are burning out or who are burned out get a chance to explore.  Of course everybody is unique and has a unique story and that will require unique interventions.  I do believe that understanding our past history and the effect that it has had on us is important, but we have to balance that with the understanding that talk is only theory.  If you and I are to make changes that will allow us to live healthier, then our reality needs to be tied to our Actions.  We need to start 'doing things' differently.  If we aren't challenged to see there are different ways to do things, to live life differently then we will continue with the same old familiar patterns.  My job, and I suppose yours as their colleague, is to challenge these individuals to see that perhaps what they are doing isn't working. They need to explore better ways, new behaviours that net better results, better feelings, and a more enjoyable and productive lifestyle.

How can you help a colleague?  If talk is just theory, then my hunch is that the burned out person doesn't need more theory, but rather some action.  Perhaps some help, somebody to help pick up the slack, to be patient with them, to give them some time (not easy to do when you're paddling like hell and barely staying afloat yourself).  To give them feedback, in the sense that you point out what you see, using only "I" language and keep it short, to about thirty seconds or less.  Remember the only real power you have in this world is to State what you think, feel, value and believe (T, F, V, B).  You can't make people change.  You can't make outcomes happen; people decide for themselves.  Of course the easy way to deal with a burning out colleague is to say nothing, and tell self it's none of our business.  In fact you may be told in no uncertain terms to mind your own business by the very person you want to help.  Their anger is intended to frighten you off.  Persist!  People who are on the slope to burning out are the last to know that they are on that slippery slope and are not all that credible in assessing their own behaviour.  Brutal honesty is not generally my style, but stating what I think and feel is.  With the understanding that, "I have been wrong many times before and I don't have the Universal Truth, only my truth".  I encourage you to discuss your T F V B's with people in a way that doesn't invite them to defend themselves, and eventually/hopefully they will make the changes themselves.  Your feedback (T, F, V, B) can be the catalyst that helps them to start the change process.  Without your caring and, of course risk taking, they may take too long a time to arrive at the same place of action and may be forced to get really sick before they will explore making changes.

Let's all do our best to assist our colleagues.  Take the risks, do it gently with patience and action.  Be prepared to be a part of the changes they need to make.  Be willing to invest some of your time. Help them where and when they need help.  Remember talk is just theory; do they need more theory and platitudes, or a helping hand (action)?
Some of us need to listen more closely to ourselves and take our own advice.


Walk-The Four Seasons  (Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter)

Each season has its beauty. And with each season, refreshing changes in the weather, wildlife and wonderful flowers to inspire new walks and energies within each of us.
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Dan rosin, 178 Elm St. Wpg. R3M 3P2; Telephone 488-0359 or email me at danrosin@drcounselling.com

 

 

 

 

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