Vacations are not good at addressing burnout

 In Burnout, Fatigue, Recovery

Vacations are not good at addressing burnout, they are usually “trips” with just as much or more going on than your typical workweek; and despite your excitement, they are doing some but little to attenuate you accumulated fatigue and resolve burnout if you have it. This is why most people joke that they “need a vacation from their vacation,” particularly if you have kids.

In the Sunday, May 19 version of The Start Ledger in NJ’s Life and Culture Session, the headline reads:

Burnout: “Chronic Stress Gone Awry” — Modern Malaise can make you sick; give yourself time to rest and relax.

The article goes on to say:

“A common ailment is going around and you probably know someone who is plagued by it. Caused in part by Social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and the pressure to check work email outside of office hours, it could hit you too– especially if you don’t know how to nip it in the bud.

Burnout is everywhere.

Books are being published about it, high-powered medical groups are raising alrms, and ordinary people are feeling it. A recent report from Harvard and Massachusetts Medical organizations declared physical burnout a public health crises. It pointed out that the problem not only affects people, but the doctors who serve them.

Lastly, -Ninety-five percent of of human resources leaders say burnout is sabotaging workplace retention often because of over heavy workloads.

The WHO (world health organization) just registered burnout as a syndrome and now has an ICD code for it on May 28, 2019.

What’s that telling you? 

It’s telling you that we are “tired” people. And what it’s telling us, is that this is at the root of just about every disease condition out there. Literally, stress, and, in particular, the mounting fatigue that results from excess stress is at the root cause of just about every disease condition known to man. It may not be the direct cause, but because of most “root causes” of diseases such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are not, in fact, root causes, but rather distant effects; we needed a new understanding of what’s causing our diseases.

You may think poor diet or lack of exercise, and you would be right, these are both root causes of what are called lifestyle diseases; but I am suggesting you look even deeper. Look to your lifestyle as a whole, both in terms of the stresses bearing down on you and your responses to those stresses, which result in what is a primary cause of all disease–fatigue and then the poor lifestyle habits you engage in to cope with stress (including low energy itself).

It’s stress, fatigue and not enough personal energy that is at the root of most of our modern diseases.

So today, one of the key strategies that people use to deal with stress is the vacation.

A vacation, while often a new and exciting experience or a time for family bonding, is ultimately an escape from rather than a solution to your work/stress. But the thing is, vacations are not good at addressing burnout – the state of vital exhaustion that is experienced physically, mentally and emotionally, that often results not just from being overworked but overexerted period through any type of activity, including that trip you are planning.

A study conducted in 2018, found that nearly 2 in 3 working adults felt the benefits of their vacations to be fleeting, not lasting more than a few days after returning back to work. Often, vacations, really designed as “trips” are nonstop and leave you feeling more tired at the end than before you left!

Not only that but your work piles up when you’re away, which will only add to your job demands and stresses upon your return. You can run from it but you can’t hide – isn’t that what they say? Better face some problems head-on.

But before you think we’re saying typical trips and vacations are bad (they are not) let’s dive even deeper to see how vacations and trips need to be part of an overall solution.

For most of human history, people have naturally followed seasonal patterns. As hunter-gatherers, there were times when we worked hard and other times when we found natural opportunities to rest. It was similar for agricultural societies, where planting and harvest seasons were hectic, but other times were comparatively light in terms of workload.

It’s only recently that people have been asked to work all year long at an all-out pace. And to make it worse, now our electric lights and portable work access means that we are often expected to work all day and night now, too. These conditions are ripe for burnout.

Because it’s partly working all the time that leads to burnout, it’s natural to think that a vacation is a right way to address the problem. However, research shows that’s not the case.

Vacations Alone Don’t Address Burnout

Let’s be clear: there are many benefits to vacations. They’re a great way to break the routine and stretch your mind with new activities and new sites. Your mental spirit gets reset because of the change of pace. You find more time to read and more time to spend with your family and do, at times, nothing. The experiences you enjoy while on vacation are often priceless, and they can help to keep you feeling happier.

But vacations are rarely designed to address vital exhaustion, chonic fatigue, or burnout. They are usually trips, where you actually face more activity than when you are home, including travel, expense and more. Nothing wrong with that at the right time as you unleash your inner explorer, but terrible when you are suffering from exhaustion and fatigue.

Just last year, a study of more than 1500 workers found that two-thirds of people felt that the so called anti-burnout benefits of vacation had disappeared immediately or in just a few days, and we all know that you actually can feel even more tired after a vacation. Part of the problem is having to come back and deal with the fact that work progressed while they were gone, and there are built-up problems they need to address.

Of course, that’s why people often feel more comfortable taking their cell phones with them to deal with critical issues so that they don’t build up while away. The world around us does not stop while we are on “vacation,” or care that we went on one; so, best not to make a problem out of this, and rather optimize your life, career, and business so well before leaving or you will surely need to hop on your smartphone regularly.

But part of it is that trying to get all your personal relaxation and reflection done in just a couple weeks isn’t enough for avoiding the constant tiredness, exhaustion, and fatigue that lead to burnout. Tiredness, exhaustion or fatigue, which are often described as vital exhaustion and burnout, but may not actually be either condition, just yet. If you don’t change course though, they will certainly lead to burnout even if you once loved your job and everything else about your life.

So, you need a better approach to dealing with it like understanding what’s referred to as regeneration transformation at the core of establishing a performance lifestyle.

Figure Out the Real Problem

Part of your attempt to addressing burnout is figuring out why, exactly, you’re burning out. The chances are good that if you have these feelings, there are some very specific causes. But here’s the thing; if you follow the traditional understanding of burnout as addressed in Maslach Burnout Inventory, for example, you will find yourself asking questions like:

  • Why do I want to do this job?
  • What rewards can I get from this job?
  • Is this the right environment for me to be working in?
  • How can I get to a better place where I’ll be happier?

Asking these questions can help you get to the bottom of perhaps your workplace triggers, the role(s) you’re playing, or the excessive expectations of either the company or the person(s) you work for or with, and find a better way to work so you don’t get burned out. But it won’t typically help you deal with your actual state of fatigue. Burnout is not just a psychological issue.

What if burnout wasn’t as much about the work environment you are in, and more about the fact that besides simply working too much, and being under too much stress, your body is not producing enough energy for you to function, let alone thrive; that it’s not so much your work environment, but more about how you are working and overstimulating your central nervous system, causing cells to produce less energy in the face of chronic stress?

What if, in your attempt to crush (achieve) your goals, you are getting crushed (overstrained), by all the stress and pressure you are experiencing or that you are putting on yourself? Specifically, what if you are simply running out of energy and if you had it, you would otherwise enjoy what you are doing?

Regenus Center’s (or centers like them) by Performance Lifestyle Can Help

Of course, part of avoiding the downward spiral, which starts with tiring out, exhausting yourself and experiencing fatigue, and then graduates to vital exhaustion or chronic fatigue and ultimately burnout, is making sure you’re getting enough regeneration to restore your energy. That’s why we created Regenus Centers with Performance Lifestyle® methodology to optimize the way you live, with recovery at the core of how you live, to ensure that your busy, engaged and often over engaged life does not wear you out.

First, unlike vacations which often come up once – three times a year (if you’re lucky), building recovery into your life, will keep you out of the mounting sleep and energy debt that’s distracting and hold you back from achieving your goals, and the vision you have for your life, by unleashing the full potential of your lifestyle.

We say the full potential of “your lifestyle,” because achieving at higher levels, requires lots of energy, and the way you get it, is to regularly and systematically, regenerate–recharge, repair and reactivate your body at the core of how you live.

The benefits of which are.

  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improved Health and performance…

The culmination of getting regular and systematic regeneration is that you perform better because you never really get on a sustained downward spiral, which almost always starts with tiredness. The thought of vital exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and burnout never enters into the equation because you are regularly spiraling up. So, it’s not just about getting your stress under control it’s also about learning how to meet stress from a position of strength.

You are better equipped to get more of what you love out of your job, from that place, because you have the energy to function and perform well.

In effect, you need daily vacations so you can sail past all the challenges that lead to burnout at work.

Fortunately, Regenus Center’s and other methods that you will learn when you get into Performance Lifestyle training, are both a daily ritual and alternative that can help you restore your energy the way a trip won’t, and much like the way true, genuine vacations that enable you to rejuvenate will. Only now, you don’t have to wait for that vacation, you’ll feel good regularly and when you go away, you can choose to a vacation or a trip and enjoy them both, no longer discovering the that you are exhausted beyond-all-belief the minute you stop.

You’ll go into your vacation or trip, ready to enjoy it!

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