The Reality of Burnout
Experiencing feelings of burnout is unfortunately common place in modern society. Characterised by feelings of shear physical and mental exhaustion and fatigue, many individuals often do not realise they are experiencing burnout or what their symptoms mean. In an effort to try and reduce this uncertainty, the phenomena of burnout alongside dyslexia is to be explored.
Characterised by feelings of utter exhaustion, fatigue and deflation, burnout can impact the entirety of one’s life (Scott, 2022). Often related to prolonged work place or educational-based stress, sufferers of burnout often report an increase in physical and mental health issues, a difficulty in managing workloads, reduced productivity, difficulties in regulating emotions, cynicism and reduced motivation and feelings of Imposter Syndrome (Mental Health UK, 2023 and Discussing The Dyslexic Brain, 2021). It is often reported that individuals with burnout can often inadvertently and unknowingly neglect their own basic needs and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. As such, symptoms can also impact sleep, diet, reliance on unhealthy foods or drinks and being unable to completely rest and ‘switch off’ from worries. It is highly important to note that burnout doesn’t discriminate. It can impact anyone at any time within their lives.
Crucially the links and connections between burnout and dyslexia have been explored. Termed as a ‘silent illness’, as often individuals do not realise what their symptoms mean, (Succeed With Dyslexia, 2022), individuals with dyslexia can have an increased proneness, susceptibility and proclivity to burnout. The reasoning is that so often dyslexic individuals, due to the nature of their neurodivergence, may have to work significantly harder and for longer to complete the same daily tasks as non-neurodivergents. As such, more energy and brain power is used and it may take longer for such individuals to process and sift through information, recall content, put ideas into action, possibly through writing, and build motivation. In having to work harder this can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and fatigued; being a major catalyst for a viscous cycle for burnout. From my own experience and observation I have definitely noted symptoms of burnout in recent weeks and months. The brain feels extremely sluggish and inefficient, whereby information is not being processed and actioned quickly and accurately enough. To use an analogy to help explain this, it is comparable to a room that is ever shrinking in size. Too many thoughts are floating around, colliding and disrupting each other with nowhere to escape. This is ultimately highly confusing and it is difficult to know which thought to attend to.
Research and literature exists to help combat this commonplace, but often stigmatised and overlooked state. The consensus seeks to identify and address the underlying root cause of individual’s symptoms; much like the classic saying ‘prevention rather than cure’ (Mental Health UK, 2023). Often individuals suffering from burnout will just keep powering on, inadvertently increasing their symptoms and allowing the circular pattern of fatigue and work to continue. Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution pointers to help can include (Dyslexia in Adults, 2020):
· Adopting reasonable adjustments in the workplace for neurodivergent staff
· Taking time off and time away from the root cause of the burnout.
· Identifying and breaking patterns for any unwanted or unhealthy behaviour.
· Try to make a plan or timetable for tasks, in order to manage ones time and to avoid work overload.
It is vitally important for an individual to restore and recharge ones proverbial batteries, as it is impossible to work continuously with no respite. Rest and recuperation time allows one to start afresh, think more clearly, reduce stress and ultimately become more productive and motivated.
As has been explored, burnout can have a huge detrimental impact on an individual’s wellbeing if left unconsidered without intervention. Moreover, as noted, dyslexic individuals can be of a higher susceptibility to burnout due to their dyslexic profile and symptomology. However, burnout can be combated at source to try and reduce feelings of immense fatigue and negative emotions in order to health boost ones health and overall wellbeing in life.
Discussing the Dyslexic Brain. (2021). Exposing the Imposter Syndrome.
Dyslexia in Adults, (2020). How to Recharge From Dyslexia Burnout.
Mental Health UK. (2023).
Scott, E. (2022). How to Recognise Burnout Symptoms. What To Do When your Job is Stressing You Out.
Succeed With Dyslexia (2022). Dyslexia & Me. Dyslexia and Burnout.