If you feel like burnout is everywhere you look these days, you aren’t just imagining things. Headlines tout everything from “job burnout” to “COVID burnout.” And while the word is certainly overused, the phenomenon it describes is real.
“In the early part of the pandemic it was clear that our mental health was going to suffer almost as much as our physical health. And I’ve seen how much physical barriers are often the block to our peak emotional being, but we aren’t connecting the dots,” says Dr. Robin Berzin, Founder and CEO of Parsley Health and author of the new book, “State Change: The New Science of Ending Anxiety, Beating Burnout, and Reaching A Higher Baseline of Energy and Flow” (S&S/Simon Element). “I wanted to write an actionable road map to help people address some of these physical barriers.”
Her book presents a 30-day program to boost energy and achieve wellbeing. It’s based on the idea that to change your mental and emotional state, you have to start first with your body — what you’re eating, how you’re sleeping, and what kind of exercise you’re getting.
“We often use the term [burnout] loosely, and it can vary from ‘I had a bad day’ to ‘I can’t get out of bed.’ Real burnout is feeling exhausted and unmotivated on a daily basis in a way that is impairing your ability to live a full life,” says Berzin. “There could be hormonal imbalances, imbalances in the way the body produces cortisol — it’s not a purely mental health condition. It’s often a combination.”
Conversations around burnout often focus on external factors and the idea that changing one of those factors (a stressful job, for example) will instantly improve things. It might improve one source of stress, but Berzin points out that stressors of some sort will always exist — and good overall health involves dealing with those stressors.
“We have to start doing the things for ourselves that will help combat burnout — regardless of where we work or where we live,” she says. “Life is going to throw us stressors. Worsening those stressors because of screens or how we’re eating, scrolling through newsfeeds — we’re getting in our own way.”
“I hope that people read the book, identify one aspect of their lives and think about how it might be impacting their mental health.”