Anyone who is working, whether in the workplace or inside the home knows workplace burnout is real. In fact, the World Health Organization classified burnout as a “syndrome” that is caused by “chronic workplace stress in its 2019 report. Since the pandemic the issue has become even more significant threat to our health.

Dr. Amy V.H. Blasen, founder and CEO of A Vita Nova, in Okemos recently talked about the need to address burn-out in the workplace. “Workplace burnout is a prime concern. It had been a growing issue pre-pandemic, but now post-pandemic burnout is even more of an issue. The peer-reviewed research I’ve studied is reporting that in the last three years 89% of females and 52% of their male counterparts are indicating burnout concerns. This is a significantly higher percentage and a troubling trend.”

National entities are responding to this increasing trend with many conducting studies to determine the extent of the change in burnout pre- and post-pandemic. The job site Indeed is one of those who’ve published data including its impact on different generations as reported in Forbes. The Indeed study revealed 53% of millennials were already burned-out pre-pandemic, now 59% are reporting burnout. Gen-Z study participants reported 58% burnout post-pandemic while Baby Boomers reported a 7% increase in burnout as compared to pre-pandemic levels of 24%. The uncertainty of the pandemic and confusion about the best way to proceed for the future have definitely increased the feeling of burnout.

Burnout can include fatigue or ongoing exhaustion, experiencing feelings of negativity or cynicism about work, a job or how valued a person feels. Mentally people can become distanced from their job, feel like they’ve lost a sense of purpose or experience depression. There can be increased anxiety about the future or negatively impacted decision making due to a sense of uncertainty. All of which can impact a person’s sense of well-being and health.

According to Amy V.H. Blasen, DO, FACEP, it is important for medical offices such as A Vita Nova and medical professionals to focus on determining if a patient is experiencing burnout and offering coping strategies to address this issue. “It’s important to help identify if burnout is what people may be experiencing vs a different health concern. It’s also crucial for working people whether in the workplace or at home to identify what resources they can access for help.”

Dr. Blasen says although very basic, just taking good care of yourself makes a difference. “We tend to all overlook self-care in our busy lives.” She states trying to exercise as much as possible, following a healthy diet and doing something you enjoy is vital. “For some people that’s reading a book while for others it’s going outside. Being in nature is important. I advocate meditation as a helpful coping tool too. There are free apps like Aura that can help.”

“Awareness of our breathing is another important coping tool. It’s interesting how we breathe differently when we’re stressed. We tend to start breathing more shallowly. This is a signal to the brain that we’re in fight or flight mode which means we now have a little bit of adrenaline and a little bit of cortisol which can mean our blood pressure goes up which in turn means we are in a stress mode. Even with just a few minutes of practicing breathing exercises we can decrease our cortisol levels. Exercising proper breathing off and on throughout the day helps increase a feeling of calm, happiness and increased energy. There are several free breathing apps like Calm.

Dr. Blasen offers vitamin therapies, both IM and IV as well as several other wellness treatments like weight management, laser and light therapies. One is the TheraLight 360, a full body treatment, one of only a few available in Michigan. She offers this light therapy treatment because it runs with a full 4 wave lengths all the time as compared to others which means it can penetrate deeper into the system to help at the cellular level. “We can channel the hertz to treat so many different conditions like inflammation, post traumatic depression and anxiety. The treatment plan I advocate for patients is for two to three visits a week for the first month. Then we can decrease the amount depending upon how they are feeling.”

While burnout is real and rising, we can take daily steps to help reduce how much it impacts our lives. Be well Michiganders.