“Whether someone is a CEO of a major corporation or is serving meals in a diner, failure to adopt a mindful approach will mean that mental and emotional exhaustion could become a habitual condition. Whether someone is stressed about their stocks losing value or being able to pay their bills, the internal underlying conditions of stress and pressure are essentially the same.”

― Christopher Dines, author of Mindfulness Burnout Prevention

Back in 2015, healthcare professionals such as Dr Barbara Mariposa, warned of burnout and the rise of mental illness becoming a silent epidemic by 2020. Then Covid-19 happened, and things took a turn for the worse. Individuals across many industries experienced extreme stress and burnout during the three national lockdowns and subsequently.For those working on the frontline and those missing out on the furlough scheme, at times unbearable workload was placed upon them.It was a terribly distressing time. Although we now appear to be out of the woods, the aftermath of the pandemic is by no means over. There’s still a huge bill to be paid by the taxpayer for projects such as the aforementioned furlough scheme, and additional mass borrowing. A massive backlog in health services has led to many (including cancer patients) anxiously awaiting treatment. Nurses and junior doctors in the UK have embarked on the most severe strikes in history. Add to that the cost-of-living crisis and inflation and you have the perfect storm for burnout to run rife. Even the ultra-wealthy have taken a hit, with the likes of Elon Musk, (who was the world’s wealthiest man in 2022), losing $200 billion last year. Gates and Benzos  also took substantial financial hits last year.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of acute mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. Mental Health UK describes burnout as: “A state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physical or emotionally draining role for a long time.”

A persistent feeling of being swamped and overwhelmed plays out when someone is experiencing burnout. Burnout is usually associated with a job or career. However, a person caring full-time for their elderly parents and managing a busy home can also be a prime candidate. Prolonged stress and exhaustion, and a lack of sufficient rest can eat away at one’s emotional and mental composure, and eventually lead to burnout.

Then there’s autistic (ASD) burnout which is much more frequent and impossible to prevent. A person on the spectrum (which now includes individuals with Asperger’s syndrome in the US and UK since 2013), who has got the right support and information about their neurodivergent self, will know that autistic burnout, meltdowns and shutdowns are a way of life. Thankfully, through autism lifehacks and supportive measures, there are practical ways to lessen the impact of  ASD meltdowns and shutdowns, there by reducing the chances of experiencing burnout. At Addcounsel, we know how challenging it is to recover from burnout in all its complexities. We have assisted our clients to heal and repair from this highly charged emotional and physical state of extreme exhaustion.

What are the signs of burnout?

Sleep deprivation leading to exhaustion goes hand in hand with burnout. A lack of basic self-care such as eating healthily, bathing daily, and maintaining a clean living environment are common signs of burnout. A person might appear to lack interest or empathy regarding family and personal relationships. An ultra-high-net-worth individual might neglect their calendar and continuously postpone appointments and procrastinate on executive decision making.  Here are some signs we have identified:

  • Struggling to carry out basic tasks such as returning a call, sending an email, or attending important appointments. Even showering/bathing or preparing a meal can feel like a tall order.
  • Feeling trapped, helpless and believing one is stuck and lacks any control over one’s life. Feeling trapped in a series of obligations is emotionally suffocating.
  • Having a cynical mindset is a very common sign of burnout. Whereas one might have had a more rational, optimistic mindset prior to burnout, dark and hopeless thoughts and feelings of anger will become habitual.
  • Feeling drained and lacking interest in personal and professional relationships are also signs of burnout. A lack of empathy towards others often occurs among health professionals. This often manifests as compassion fatigue. Medical doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, and criminal defence solicitors have been associated with compassion fatigue due to working in hostile or highly emotionally charged environments. Working with traumatised and vulnerable people makes the professionals themselves vulnerable to fatigue, chronic stress and dark thoughts. It becomes very difficult to separate one’s professional and personal life; the professional boundaries aren’t clear, and this creates further distress.
  • Feelings of anger, resentment may arise during burnout. Old resentments might rehash, with a sense of distrust pervading the mind. Feeling envious of those who appear to be getting on with life can become prevalent.
  • A loss of enthusiasm and a lack of creativity towards one’s work and career are all too common signs of burnout and compassion fatigue. This can be very confusing for someone who has charted their path and selected a field which they are passionate about, only to find that the joy of working has been stripped away and their confidence in their abilities to perform has evaporated.
  • Panic attacks,emotional outbursts, meltdowns and shutdowns become more frequent.
  • Extreme tiredness and not experiencing REM during sleep is frequently reported by those suffering from burnout. Some experiencing burnout desperately need a good night’s sleep but find themselves gripped by fear and anxiety at 3am, learning to fear their bouts of insomnia thus creating a self-perpetuating cycle.

10 ways to avoid burnout

  • Rest, rest, and more rest:

It might be difficult for an individual to remove themselves from everyday tasks and obligations, however it’s essential so as to avoid burnout. Everything in life has a price and it might feel that taking regular time off to rejuvenate will be disadvantageous in the short-term, but it’s far less deleterious than burnout. The time it takes, and the resources required, to fully recover from burnout will affect the individual and the organisation employing them far more adversely than simple prevention. We recommend short bursts of complete rest breaks. A change of scenery is a fantastic way to rejuvenate and give your senses an alternative experience.

  • Take up meditation or yoga or both:

The health benefits associated with practising mindfulness are well documented. Being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations can produce greater clarity on one’s mental bandwidth. Stress levels can reduce by investing twenty minutes every morning to observe thought patterns and focus on the breath. This is why Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn said: “Breathing is central to every aspect of meditation training. It’s a wonderful place to focus on training the mind to be calm and concentrated.” This is also something that can be practised at times of mental or emotional overwhelm even if it’s a few snatched minutes in order to regain some kind of equilibrium. Similarly, yoga, especially pranayama (alternate breathing) helps to restore a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Controlled breathing can engender a welcome sense of calm and tranquility. Box breathing is another technique widely recommended by meditators to reduce fatigue or feelings of overwhelm.  For instance, box breathing requires inhaling through the nostrils for four seconds, then holding the breath for four seconds, exhaling through the mouth for four seconds, and finally holding the breath for four seconds. And repeat. Such is its effectiveness that US Navy SEALs have utilised box breathing during highly stressful and dangerously volatile campaigns.

  • Talk to a health professional:

Talking with a therapist or clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist about emotional and psychological issues can bring much relief. Sometimes an individual might need to unravel the past to make sense of the present and an excellent health professional will be able to assist. At Addcounsel, we have a great team of health experts and mental health professionals who will tailor a recovery programme to meet the needs of the individual.

  • Join a support group or create a strong support system:  

Many ultra-high-net-worth people feel isolated and suppress their feelings and concerns. It’s common practice to take on huge amounts of stress without properly processing and decompressing daily. This can lead to addictive and dysfunctional behaviours, and burnout. Attending a weekly support group to manage stress or an addiction has worked for millions of people worldwide. Having a strong support network of health professionals, fellow travellers in some sort of recovery or wellness programme and supportive friends can make a big difference. Addiction, depression, and stress thrive on isolation. Conversely, talking about one’s problems in a suitable space with trustworthy people will create an environment atmosphere conducive to recovery. Connecting with others going through similar challenges is crucial.

  • Good nutrition is vitally important:

Needless to say, a healthy and nutritious diet is key. We are what we eat (and drink). Food and water are essentially fuel for the human body and often come last on the list of priorities when stress takes over. What a person ingests has a huge impact on overall health and wellbeing. Good nutrition can enhance mental wellness and rekindle lost energy. Addcounsel provides a bespoke menu, nutritionally balanced meals to suit individual medical, dietary, and religious requirements. Addcounsel offers a private chef to each client that stays with us.

  • Creating personal and professional boundaries:

This can be difficult for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. So much is often demanded of them, and co-dependant habits often become ingrained. However, learning to create new personal and professional boundaries will make space for rest or to spend time on energy-enhancing activities. When a person has more clarity about their limitations, it’s easier to establish new parameters. A lack of personal boundaries is often at the root of burnout.

  • Journaling:

Journaling can be a very cathartic and rewarding practice. Writing or verbalising (voice messages) can generate a sense of relief from everyday pressures and stress brought about by family life. It’s a great way to get honest about one’s frame of mind and emotional health.

  • Practising gratitude:

Getting into the habit of remembering what we appreciate every day will enhance one’s mood. While it’s impossible to feel grateful all of the time, practising the habit will ensure it becomes a new focus in the person’s life. In a super fast paced, emotionally demanding world, it can be easy to get side-tracked with drama and taking on other people’s problems. This can cloud reality, steering an individual in a direction of cynicism. We’ve found that genuinely sharing our gratitude with at least one suitable person regularly can enhance wellbeing and calmness.   

  • Self-compassion:

If a person can learn to direct compassion inwards, and acknowledge their suffering, healing and self-acceptance can gradually manifest. When an individual can recognise their survival traits and view them with a compassionate glance, equanimity can be restored. Pema Chodron expressed   something similar: “Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.”

  • Delegate more or ask for help:

Many ultra-high-net-worth individuals are already accustomed to delegating in a professional capacity. However, their personal relationships might be overwhelming. We’ve found that asking for help and sharing personal issues and concerns with an excellent health professional can bring much relief and reduce internal isolation. It can be extremely hard opening up to a stranger. We understand how sensitive this can be. At Addcounsel, we have a brilliant diverse team which we can customise to meet your specific needs.

Summary It’s possible, through a few incremental changes in behaviour, to avoid burnout. It may feel strangely inadequate to change a few things, and such changes might not click straight away, but with practice and support, it can make all the difference. If you feel you’re on the verge of burnout or have crossed that threshold, we’re ready to talk.

Treatment at Addcounsel

At Addcounsel, we understand the impact that burnout can have on your day-to-day life, particularly your career. You might find it difficult to fully focus at work, lack interest in your career objectives, and feel exhausted.

You don’t have to go through this alone. With the right treatment and support, you can go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Our private clinic takes an integrative and ‘whole person’ approach to treatment, focusing on the symptoms, triggers, and causes of your burnout. We will set you up with a personalised burnout treatment plan designed to help you get back on track and ready to take on the world.

Our dedicated team is here for you every step of the way and will help you navigate treatment smoothly, giving you the support and care you need to recover and flourish after leaving our clinic in Mayfair, London.

Contact us today to start your recovery journey.















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