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  • Winter of Our Discontent: Winter & Burnout Treatment 1

    What we call “winter blahs” may be a seasonal reflection of burnout, and the need for burnout treatment.

    burnout treatment

    January and February are months when many are aware of experiences similar to burnout.  Often people can become fully aware of burnout-like symptoms that have been semi-conscious for a long time.

    Burnout often relates to work, but can be much broader, often representing a whole disengaged and discouraged stance in life.

    Emotional Exhaustion

    Post holidays, it’s common enough for people to experience a sense of emotional exhaustion.  Leading burnout expert Dr. Christina Maslach defines this as physical and emotional depletion  resulting from excessive job and/or personal demands and continuous work related stress.

    The intensity of the holiday lead up causes many to feel that they are depleted.  Personal and work demands can be just too much.

    Often people anticipate the Christmas period with great enthusiasm as a respite from extremely demanding routines.  If for whatever reason the Christmas season isn’t able to fulfil those expectations, we may experience exhaustion and depletion.  Many find themselves lacking the necessary energy to engage the challenges of everyday living that return to confront us in January.

    Reduced Sense of Personal Fulfillment

    Often people experiencing burnout find that things which we hoped would be fulfilling, or that were fulfilling at a previous point in life, are not now.

    They are either not able to reach things that would bring a sense of personal satisfaction, or else we have gotten to the point where those things seem like they just don’t matter

    Feelings like these are a very common experience in the midlife transition , and, often throughout the second half of life, but can certainly occur at other points in life, too, and they point to the need for burnout treatment.

    Struggling to Deal with My Life

    Demands and commitments all come rushing back after the New Year.  I may find that I don’t have the energy or vitality to cope with everything on my plate.  It may be that everything just seems too overwhelming, or that I can’t find the motivation to take on all that lies in front of me  in the long march toward spring.  My struggles may stem from a deep level of emotional exhaustion, or from the awareness that my way of life or the values that I have lived for to this point are not serving me nearly as well now as they once did.

    I’m not generally a fan of country music, but this song by Alabama is very eloquent:

    “All I really gotta do is live and die” — and that’s the real art

    How Can I Re-Engage?

    If need burnout treatment, the first step in the process is to genuinely take self-care seriously, and to show myself genuine compassion.  It may well be that my burnout is telling me something essential about the fundamental attitudes in my life.  Burnout treatment in depth may entail a process of encounter with the undiscovered aspects of the self, and a discovery of the symbols and values that really matter to me at the present stage in my life.  This is the fundamental work of the /a-midlife-transition.


    PHOTO: © Astrid228 |  VIDEO: “I’m In A Hurry” © The Alabama Band and BMG Music, 1992

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