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Burn-out: energy disorder

The real experts (those who have experienced it) always refer to their passion and drive. This passion was so all important that they did not even feel fatigue. This passion is for instance evident in their strive for perfection: perfect job, perfect family, perfect hobbies,… This pattern of perfectionism is an important trigger for burn-out.

Burn-out: you are really running on empty

Burn out
This is probably the best metaphor: the fuel tank is empty. Just like when you are driving your car and you see the fuel gauge, but you continue driving in the hope that….and then the car stalls. Refuelling is the only option. Except unlike with a car, it is not that easy.

Another metaphor is the on/off button. In most cars this button is now built-in. We also have this button, but we do not use it enough. And so, we go on, because ‘we have to, it is important’,…. And then we ‘stall’.

This is how a coachee described his ‘burn-out’ process:
My vision on the logical steps for successful recovery after burn-out

Burn-out: 7 symptoms (BAT – 2019/03)

4 core symptoms

  • Exhaustion (mental & physical)
  • Mental distance
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Emotional impairment

3 additional symptoms

  • Psychological tension complaints
  • Psychosomatic tension complaints
  • Depressive feelings 

It goes without saying that only a doctor can diagnose the illness.

Burn-out: the roots of a tree

Burn out
A coachee used a nice metaphor. A tree needs all its roots in order to stay healthy. The same goes for human beings. When a person uses only one root (job) and all the other roots are neglected (family, hobby, friends,…), sooner or later the tree will fall.

The moral of the story is: make sure you get your energy from all your roots so that you stay healthy.

Burn-out:: resilience + recovery + anticipation

Professor Elke Van Hoof (clinical psychologist) claims that just resilience (resisting) is not enough.
It is equally important to allow time to recover (to sleep, to walk, to do sports, to rest, to be idle,…)

Furthermore, also anticipation is important (proactive coping style): taking measures in order to balance the stress in our lives. For example: taking a 10-minute break so that you can participate in a meeting with a higher energy level.

Burn-out: through the eyes of the coachee

A lot of information regarding burn-out is available on the internet, e.g. the 12 stages of burn-out: by the psychologist Freudenberg.
A coachee described the stages as follows:

  1. Ignorance
    • ‘You have to, after all it is only “temporary”.’
    • “I will go on, even though my body and mind tell me to stop”
  2. Denial
    • “I deny the physical and mental signals I am clearly beginning to feel.”
    • “My immediate environment (family, friends, colleagues) are warning me, but I continue nevertheless. After all, it is only temporary and it really needs to get done.”
  3. Crash
    • “I am exhausted, I can no longer go on, my energy is completely gone”
    • “I can’t think straight, I have black-outs, I don’t sleep well,…”
  4. Passive phase
    • “I am home now, I don’t want contact with the office or my colleagues and…. I sleep a lot.”
    • “I feel guilty, I feel completely lost, I do not recognise myself anymore”
  5. Active phase
    • “This is the first step towards recovery.”
    • “I am starting a recovery process together with my coach, doctor, psychologist.”
      • First physically: “I go for walks, I move, I embrace nature and find myself again step by step.”
      • Later also mentally: “I discuss my life pattern, my beliefs and I think about a more balanced life.”
  6. Return
    • “After a sufficiently long recovery period I return to the job market.”
    • “I make clear agreements with my work environment, supported by my family, friends and colleagues.”

Below is a nice visualisation of the process as experienced by the coachee:

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Our peaceful coaching facilities: indoor or outdoor

We deliberately choose to organise the coaching sessions at our coaching facilities located in a peaceful and green environment, right next to the river Scheldt.
This creates inner peace and leads to deeper concentration and thus has more impact.

The coaching sessions take place

  • in our coaching rooms
  • in our quiet garden
  • or during a walking coaching session along the river Scheldt.

Before, after or during the coaching session the coachee can use our Ikigai Reflection Room, Wi-Fi and drinks included.

’Ikigai’ is a Japanese concept, meaning ‘Reason for being’ or ‘Purpose’.