Did you know that more than 17% of employees in the Netherlands experience burnout complaints? And that more than 37% of employees’ absence is related to work stress complaints? This became apparent from the National Labor Conditions Survey of 2018. When you are overstrained or have a burnout, this is often because you have been over-questioned in terms of energy for a longer period. When your body is questioned, it gives signals that you need to refuel. For example, if you have slept a few nights worse than usual, you will get tired (signal). Sleeping well for a few nights is then often enough to refuel again, so that the “fatigue” signal goes away.

Recognise signals

If you have a burnout, your body is over asked for a longer period. Your body has probably released stress signals before, but it is possible that you have not noticed these or that you have continued despite the signals. The longer this continues, the more intense the signals become.

You can compare this with a thermometer. When you have a good balance in your energy, you are in green and your body gives green – positive – signals. When the stress rises you go to yellow and you get the first signals. If you continue, despite the signals, you will go to orange. If you carry on any way, your body will stop and you will be in red. The figure shows an example of what kind of signals these can be.

Example:

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Red: Exhausted, headache due to high muscle tension, pain in neck, shoulders and back, falling out against people around me, gloomy, concentration problems. To do: Take rest regularly, explicitly set limits, focus on reloading.

Orange: reduced concentration, high muscle tension, reduced pleasure in things I normally enjoy, no sense of social contact, tired, worry, irritable. To do: take a break, set boundaries, delegate.

Yellow: headache at the end of the day, no energy in the evening to do fun things, feeling chaotic, restless. To do: take a break, take time for things that give energy, move more.

Green: Happy, energetic, sense of planning activities, sense of overview, making jokes. To do: continue like this.

Source: Samen opgroeien

Many people know the green signals of themselves. If all goes well, they are happy, energetic, cheerful, they make jokes, they have energy at the end of the day and they enjoy activities in the field of work, study, hobbies and social affairs. The red signals are also known to many people. You then get clear complaints and have gone far beyond your limits. The more serious signals that you are familiar with may differ per person.

The yellow and orange signals are often more difficult. These are the first signals that you or your environment notice: “Hey wait, now you have to break.” And it is precisely those yellow and orange signals that are important to get to know. Because if you know those signals and know what you have to do to recharge, you can intervene faster. Even if you know these signals very well and know what can be done with them, you will probably end up in yellow or orange sometimes. Stress, tension and setbacks are part of life and will therefore ensure that you move up and down on the thermometer. The goal, however, is not to come in red, or at least as little as possible!

 

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