Beat Down Burnout

Are You Suffering From Emotional Exhaustion?

Have you ever gotten so bogged down with work issues that you felt stuck, trapped, and completely exhausted? Yet, you couldn’t sleep? You’re irritable, you feel hopeless. Some meals you can’t eat; others, you eat everything in sight? If so, you could be suffering from emotional exhaustion. Yes, this is a real thing. It even has its own ICD 10 code, Z73.0.


Emotional exhaustion is one piece of burnout. It is one of the physical manifestations. It can also include a lack of motivation, absentmindedness, apathy, headaches, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, irrational anger, increased cynicism or pessimism, a sense of dread, and depression. You may notice changes in your behavior at work, such as a failure to meet deadlines, lower commitment to the organization, or more absences. If you’re a member of the C-suite, you may be noticing these things in your employees. It’s a red flag!


How does it happen? How does emotional exhaustion come to be? I like to use the analogy of bank accounts. We all have several bank accounts. We have emotional accounts as well. We have them with our spouses and our children. We have them with our friends. We may not realize that we have them with our jobs as well. We give to other people out of these emotional accounts. We make withdrawals, if you will. When things are working correctly, deposits are made back into these accounts as well. If you have a good marriage, you are making deposits as well as withdrawals into your marriage account. The same with your accounts for your children, other family members and your friends. That should also be happening at your place of business.


Hopefully, your job works this way. You are making withdrawals, but you are also getting deposits. Your deposits from your job should be things besides just your paycheck. There should be job satisfaction, and a sense of helping people, and hopefully contributing to some greater good. Your job should make you feel important. If you are making more withdrawals from any one account than deposits, what do you do? Well, you do what you would do in your real banking life, you make a transfer, right? Don’t say you haven’t done this, because we all do, some of us more than others. So, you borrow from one of your other accounts. At first, it isn’t a problem. The amount isn’t noticeable. However, after several such transfers, you find that the problem at work is affecting things at home. You’ve been borrowing significant amounts from your spouse account and your children accounts, and maybe even your friend accounts. Eventually, you’re emotionally overdrawn. You might even become emotionally bankrupt. What do you do now? What can you do when you have nothing left to give?


This leads to feeling overwhelmed. Some people want to withdraw from life. Others lash out. The response can vary from person to person. This is what happens to people in chronic high stress. You can see why and how this is one of the key features of burnout.


There are a number of things you can do to avoid emotional exhaustion, such as making sure you eat right, getting enough sleep and exercise. However, these things build up resilience. They don’t solve at the underlying problem, which is why your job was so stressful to begin with. Resilience doesn’t address why your job left you feeling disempowered, unappreciated, and drained. These things to build resilience, they aren’t bad things. In fact, they’re very good things to do. They’re important to overall health. They just aren’t the answer to burnout. They aren’t the answer to emotional exhaustion. At least, not in total. They are just coping mechanisms. They don’t get to the root of the problem.


Another coping mechanism is setting boundaries. Setting boundaries are important, and they’re a great tool, but that’s really difficult to do in a work environment. You can set boundaries with an individual coworker, but not with the employment system. For example, if you have one or two coworkers that dump their work on you, you may be able to set boundaries with them. However, if the system is set up so that your call schedule assigns you more call days due to a lack of seniority, or because the community docs don’t fully participate in the schedule, or some other reason, there is very little you can do about that. Boundaries don’t necessarily get to the root of the problem. Neither does resilience.


This raises an important question. What does get to the root of the problem? What can we do that is actually effective?


To battle emotional exhaustion, we have to be able to take back control of our lives. We have to have not only a seat at the table, but a voice in decisions. For that to happen, we have to be involved in negotiations. We have to hear and be heard. That is where personality science comes in. That is where knowing the B.A.N.K. Methodology pays off. BANK helps us to be able to be heard, by teaching us to speak the language, or code, of the people making the decisions that control our lives. By speaking their language, we are much more likely to be heard. This will give us a seat at the table and a voice. However, that is just the beginning. If we only talk and do not listen, we offer no value. We have to want to hear as badly and as deeply as we want to be heard. BANK teaches that as well. You haven’t mastered BANK if you only speak the code. You have to speak it, and live it. Living it goes well beyond listening.


By knowing someone’s B.A.N.K.Code, their personality code, we are able to speak their language to be heard, as well as hear them better. Through higher communication, we are able to negotiate for better work conditions, such as protected time off, a reasonable workload, and sufficient rewards. We can fight for that sense of fairness in the workplace, and an alignment of values that is so critical to making one’s workplace livable. At the same time, we can build stronger communities within our organizations, and create positive work environments. Isn’t that what we all want? A positive work environment where we are all more productive and lift each other up, rather than tearing one another down? We can also look for tech that offers solutions, rather than adding to our work burden. We can work collaboratively for creative solutions to today’s challenges. Do any of these solutions interest you?


I can’t go into more detail without teaching you the course, but I will say that until you figure out a higher level of communication, you cannot achieve any of this. I’ve figured it out. I’ve found a method that works. I’m willing to teach it to you, along with things like emotional and spiritual intelligence. Just let me know when you’re ready.

Nanette Nuessle