Addressing Stress and Burnout
The last couple years have hit us hard. The motto of ‘work hard, play hard’ (which is already a fallacy) has been replaced with "work hard and then worker harder because playing and fun are hard to come by".
Burnout tends to affect both women than men due to the numerous plates we are supposed to keep up in the air. Our roles as a parents, partners, worker, child, friend etc…. are putting constant demands on us. in this hyper connected yet disconnected world.
So that feeling of running on empty, whilst not giving ourselves the time to refuel and recover is an all too familiar feeling.
What is the burnout trifecta?
While no gender is immune to burnout, research discovered that men and women process these burnout dimensions differently. Women typically experienced exhaustion first, followed by cynicism, then inefficacy. The men, on the other hand, tended to experience cynicism first and then exhaustion.
Physical and Emotional symptoms
Burnout and Fatigue in Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine, there is a saying: “one disease, many roots; one root, many diseases.” The exemplifies how burnout can present in slightly different ways depending on the person. In TCM the common root is a Kidney Deficiency.
TCM aside, our Kidneys (combined with our Adrenal Glands) are one of our most important organs systems. Together, they connect our brain to our instincts and intuition. The Kidneys influence our hormonal rhythms and response to stress, shock, fear, and trauma: think, the release of cortisol and your body’s Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. That pathway is responsible for regulating your body’s sympathetic “fight or flight” response.
In TCM, the health of the Kidneys are expressed through the brain, bones, ears, and hair. With that theory in mind, doesn't it makes sense that when our Kidney Qi declines that mild memory loss, osteoporosis, deafness, and hair thinning become more prominent. While this can all occur with age, environmental and lifestyle factors also weaken Kidney Qi. These include sleep deprivation, substance abuse, nutrient deficiencies (from poor appetite/diet/digestive issues), and long hours of physical/mental exertion without rest.
On an energetic level, the Kidneys are the root of our body’s life force, they hold our reserves of Inherited Qi and Vital Essence (Jing). Think of the Kidneys as our body’s savings account, a reservoir that we too often take from but don't often replenish.
When your Kidney Qi is abundant, you’ll have a healthy sense of self, direction, and will-power to pursue your goals.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture is a gentle, safe, and effective therapy that promotes your body’s own physiological processes which become weakened or pathological from chronic stress, trapped emotions, as well as long-standing illnesses and injury.
Acupuncture reminds the body how to repair, regulate, and heal itself again.
From a Western-scientific standpoint, it:
For patients that come in during and in the aftermath of burnout, their appointments are their designated time to unwind, re-cultivate their energy reserves, and re-establish resilience to life’s stressors. It’s a time where you are not on high-alert so your body can heal in the ways it needs to.
We can also pair this with functional medicine and herbal medicine for a knock-out combo.
5 Easy Ways to Address Burnout