Right now, you may be working more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing some level of burnout. Burnout can truly take a toll on you physically and emotionally, leaving you struggling with how to practice self-care. Whether you are on the front lines or an entrepreneur, burnout can wear and tear on you after a while. Burn-out is an occupational phenomenon and a condition resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
When trying to prevent burn out, remember no two people are alike, so you can try a combination of regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, hobbies, or learning new coping strategies to deal with stress. The most important thing is to put aside some uninterrupted time to check in with yourself and identify how you're feeling. You can check in with yourself by doing a body scan, which includes identifying where, in your body, you feel, or are experiencing aches, pains, and other symptoms that may indicate the need for stress management. Ignoring the crucial clues that your body is trying to communicate to you will bring on more issues to an already stressful situation.
There are a variety of burnouts, so different symptoms require different solutions. One intervention can be practicing targeted self-care! Self-care varies and looks different from person to person. Generally, self-care involves engaging in behaviors or activities that promote health and well-being to feel better physically and emotionally. However, humans are more than their physical body and emotions.
I like to approach self-care from a model I coined as the "PEMSS" model - a holistic approach that is targeted for your specific needs when feeling burnout in these five areas: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social and Spiritual.
When you assess yourself for burnout accurately, you can implement applicable, direct self-care that will leave you recharged and rejuvenated. Looking at self-care from this approach will eradicate the challenge of identifying self-care behaviors that are ineffective for maintaining personal and professional well-being in the face of the unique demands of work and the current pandemic.
If you are fine physically, but emotionally burnt-out, identify which of your emotions are running high or low impacting your mood. You could practice self-compassion with gentle, affirming words you say to yourself. You could practice self-compassion by taking the time to complete tasks. You could watch a funny movie to make you laugh. For pet lovers, cuddle with your pet to increase positive emotions.
If you are fine emotionally but are physically burnt-out, try unplugging from social media to rest your mind. Based on the climate right now, you may not be able to take time off from work, but instead, you can read a good book to help shift your mind away from the pandemic. Not everyone likes to journal and practice self-reflection, however, thought dumping or journaling can be very therapeutic. I would also suggest drawing, coloring, doodling, doing a Zentangle, painting, listening to your favorite music, monitor your screen time (computers, phone, television) as needed, and most of all, ask for help and be open to receiving it.
If you need spiritual self-care, pray and meditate in a space, even if it is your bathroom, to align and anchor yourself spiritually. If you have a patio or porch, do it outside in nature and practice deep breathing and relaxation before going to work and before bed.
Lastly, set boundaries with your supervisor, co-workers, and/or staff. Sometimes, we do not know how to treat ourselves, overdo things, and push ourselves past a healthy limit. The choices we make are sometimes not made in our own best interest even when we want to say or do otherwise. When you set boundaries with yourself, you learn how to monitor your behavior and create a healthy structure for your life overall so it can run smoother. You are literally identifying what is "good" for you and what is not. Self-boundaries also help with preventing burnout.
Here are 16 questions to consider for targeted self-care:
Methadone is a medication that can be used to help treat persons with an opiate use disorder maintain sobriety and not experience withdrawal symptoms by occupying areas of the brain that opiates target and make them less severe for those that have stopped using opiates. Methadone also helps with eliminating cravings for opiates.
Many people stay on methadone long-term and many gradually reduce their dose to completely stop taking methadone altogether. Methadone should not be taken with any other illicit substances and alcohol. The impact of mixing benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, etc.) and methadone can be deadly. There is an increased risk of overdose when benzodiazepines are taken with Methadone. Since Methadone is a depressant that slows the central nervous system, which includes heart rate and breathing, so does benzodiazepines. As a result, the combination of taking the two can slow the heart rate, risking the heart for cardiac arrest and stopping one from breathing.
Methadone can be prescribed and lasts longer in the body to help those with an opiate use disorder once someone stops using. Most persons are referred to a community treatment center for assessment. Most treatment facilities have a general practitioner on site that can complete the assessment. After the assessment, an initial low dose is prescribed. The low dose is prescribed out of safety and can be adjusted frequently. This stage is very important because this is the phase where a regular maintenance dose is identified over a few weeks time period. The maximum effect can vary person to person as it takes 2-4 hours for Methadone to reach its peak effect level.
Once the correct dose is identified, the person is now in what is called Methadone maintenance. Methadone is a once-daily liquid dose taken under supervision of a nurse or pharmacist who dispenses it. Methadone must be taken regularly and if three or more doses are missed, the body may lose its ability to break down the drug. If three or more doses are missed, persons can return to taking Methadone, but at a lower dose. Detoxing often takes years as it is safer to stay on Methadone than to detox before the person is ready.
People that use Methadone are more likely to stay off opioids if they are supported by friends and family. Too often, family and friends do not support persons with opiate use disorders because of their lack of knowledge regarding Methadone. Methadone is a medication used to help those persons with an opiate use disorder so they no longer use opiates. It can be viewed as taking medication for high blood pressure or insulin for type 2 diabetes. The way people can change their diet to reverse type 2 diabetes while taking medication is the same as those using Methadone to reverse their opiate use disorder. Support from loved ones goes a long way for a person using Methadone. Persons with opiate use disorders also do well when attending outpatient treatment coupled with group and individualized therapy. It is much harder to do it alone.
Please educate a friend, coworker and loved one on the benefits of supporting a person with opiate use disorder when they have made the choice to use Methadone in their recovery efforts. There are plenty of successful people around us, you may never know, that have or currently use Methadone. As America is going through the opioid epidemic, being educated on the various ways Methadone can help just might save your loved one’s life.