The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” conceptualized from chronic workplace stress that’s not successfully managed. It’s an epidemic, and those in the healthcare industry are prone to it. Fahed Essa, founder of Dala Wellness shares some tips on how to avoid burnout while giving your patients the best care. This is Fahed Essa’s third start-up and it’s focused on delivering a holistic complement to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune conditions that affect joints.
Burnout can be defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. The health industry is both demanding and competitive. As a result, those working in it must expend a great deal of time and effort, often to the point of exhaustion. Healthcare professionals have to deal with the daily feeling of being helpless, stressed, trapped, angry, or depleted.
Essa advises finding something structured to do to deal with stress. His personal methods include baking and building Ikea furniture, which helps him to avoid burnout. As mentioned, this is Essa’s third start-up, and he explains “spending time on the processes of my business can take up most of my day and requires me to unwind. Following structure for a hobby instead of for work helps mimic these processes in a low-pressure environment.” Managing burnout and stress have been of growing importance to him and his team as Dala seeks to holistically solve issues related to RA.
Essa meditates in order to maintain mental clarity and to enhance focus. Meditation is a proven way to reduce symptoms in a number of disorders, including anxiety and depression. Meditation also involves the development of awareness of present-moment experience with a compassionate, non-judgmental stance and can improve your focus. In most cases, meditating for just 10 minutes a day is powerful enough to rewire your brain. When you meditate, your hormonal levels balance, cardiovascular health improves, cognitive functioning becomes restored, and depressive symptoms tend to lift. As this takes place, your energy levels rise, and your ability to engage with people and work is improved greatly. To start meditating, all you need is yourself, a place where you feel comfortable enough to close your eyes, and time. If you are a beginner, the simplest way to practice is with a guided program. He even includes meditation as an extension of Dala’s online platform. Dala offers access to yoga studios and physical therapists to assist with achieving the meditation goal for those suffering from RA. These are all part of the company’s focus to empower users through a better lifestyle.
Comedy and Humor
Often, stress leading to burnout can manifest itself through various physical forms (i.e. falling hair, weight gain, nervous habits, etc.). Essa states “whenever I feel tense, just watching a comedy can help me release some of this through a hearty laugh.” Science has found that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. A healthy sense of humour acts as an emotional distraction and creates a fresh perspective on your situation.
Health and Fitness
It’s essential to recognize that burnout affects professionals regardless of industry. One measure you could take to protect yourself from burnout is to exercise regularly. Exercise can help alleviate stress and create a sense of well-being. You will also experience increased energy and productivity when you exercise regularly.
You might also be more motivated to exercise by teaming up with colleagues or by setting up an office fitness challenge. Creating a community around achieving your goals can help you build support, and this does not go unrecognized by Essa. For example, through the Community Board feature, Essa seeks to engage Dala’s RA patients and medical professionals to reduce confusion around the disease and encourage disease management. As a business and public health professional, Essa has carved out time for exercise into his own daily routine (i.e. biking, swimming) in order to stay disciplined.
Burnout is a real threat to performance. If, at any time, stress and burnout are causing you to worry about your health, seek the advice of an appropriate health professional.