Jan. 30, 2023

This paid piece is sponsored by Marsh McLennan Agency Dakotas.

You might think your co-worker always seems tired or stressed. They may be overly critical, irritable or often out sick. Or maybe you’re saying to yourself: “What’s wrong with me? I don’t feel like myself.”

Maybe it’s burnout?

Burnout is different from stress. Stress can be a positive, motivating force, and even when it’s overwhelming, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It often feels like too much, but we know at some point it will end.

Burnout, on the other hand, happens when we feel hopeless, incapable and empty. According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout is a state of emotional or physical exhaustion resulting from chronic stress that involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and a loss of personal identity. It includes physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms, including exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and procrastination.

Stress isn’t a psychology problem, it’s a chemistry problem

Jenny Evans, a speaker, coach and resilience expert, offers a unique approach to what she calls the chemistry problem of stress. She says stress and burnout are at all-time highs, noting how these issues have contributed to high employee turnover. Evans has designed a series of microstrategies based on how our brains respond to change and stress.

For a fresh start in the new year, Marsh McLennan Agency is excited to present “Banishing Burnout” with Evans, who is also the CEO of Powerhouse Performance and the award-winning author of “The Resiliency rEvolution.” Through her dynamic and engaging presentation, Evans will help listeners create a customized, transformative action plan to energize and optimize their body and brain, and expand their capacity in a healthy way.

This community engagement event is sponsored by MMA’s THRIVE career development initiative, which provides employees with coaching and mentoring opportunities. The annual community event brings topics to a wider audience, engaging local communities in learning and innovation.

Banishing Burnout will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 9. Register for this free event, or contact Karlie Solum, MMA director of community relations, at [email protected] for information.

Dealing with stress and burnout

There’s no one-size-fits-all fix for dealing with the effects of stress, so learning about your triggers and finding ways to cope is a personal endeavor. Here are some ways to help you deal in the moment with stressful situations or find solutions for ongoing care:

Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, exhale for a count of eight. Repeat the cycle four times.

Before responding to a stressful event, take a walk around the block or down the street. Focus on your senses: What do you see? What can you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel in your body?

Breathing deeply while stretching signals your parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart rate, release muscle tension and calm your mind. Hold stretches for a count of 20 to 30 to give your muscle fibers time to relax.

When affirmations and exercise aren’t helping to relieve the effects of stress on your life and you feel yourself heading toward burnout, it may be time to reach out.

  • Talk with your supervisor, team lead or HR representative.
  • Reach out to a trusted colleague, friend or adviser.
  • Text “HelpLine” to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at 62640 or call 800-950-6264.
  • Chat with a crisis counselor at 988lifeline.org — even if you aren’t having thoughts of suicide — or nami.org/help.
  • Find information, resources and support from NAMI at nami.org/home.

Visit MMA’s Workplace Stress Study Report for information and solutions, including two articles: Burnout is a critical organizational issue and Stress & your company culture.

Leader’s commitment to balance creates culture of stress awareness

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