Transcript of the Feature Health Matters on Radio X from 11 November 2013
I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters here on Radio X. In Health Matters I take a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges to our health and wellbeing STRESS.
With what we’ve seen so far in health matters lets put the knowledge gained towards a condition that 1 in 4 employees in Belgium risk to experience: Burn-out.
That’s a staggering 25% of the working force that risks to be absent of work for months. Imagine the consequences not only for the person that ends up burn out but also for you that need to take over some of this person’s duties. Needles to say I think it will bring a cascade of other problems with it if this scenario becomes reality.
Seen from a biological perspective burn-out could be understood as a depletion of our energy levels due to long term over activation of the sympathetic nervous system that effects body, mind and behaviour. Suddenly one is empty. This can be explained through the influence of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol has an impact on the way our energy under the form of glucose is released, distributed and stored in the body.
During the stress response, cortisol will free glucose in the body which is then transported via the vascular system. At the same time the storage of glucose is inhibited. This way and over time the stores are empty and one day you wake up unable to move. Time out is needed to recover.
The doctor suggests rest and might prescribe energy boosters and vitamins. On average people with burnout stay home 2 months to recover. However have you noticed how many so called recovered people end up back at home after a week or 10 days at work? Why is that? Seemingly sufficient rest is not always enough.
An answer might be found in how cortisol also reduces the vascularisation of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is related to our memory but it also has a receptor that measures to levels of cortisol in our blood. When this part of the brain doesn’t function then there is no turn off switch for cortisol and your energy stores stay empty.
When this biological mechanism isn’t reset the person in burn-out can stay home for a long time but each time he or she is faced with excessive demands will fall back.
What can you do about this? Very little. However you can always contact me on for my thoughts on a solution which I think there is.
The best remedy is prevention. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to stop and take regular breaks and implement a reaset moment in your day.
The body has everything you want. Nature is perfect and you are nature. However nature adheres to laws and those laws you must understand and take into account to stay healthy. Health what is it? What does it mean for you?
I’m Tom Meyers stress coach and contributor of thought to a more joyful and healthy way of living.