Burnt Out Britain

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Row of people using their phones

Increasing numbers of people in Britain are getting burnt out – so says a report by Jenevieve Treadwell as part of the think tank, Onward. The report is an interesting read, laying bare the facts round commonly held beliefs, and proposing a new idea about why people get burnt out.

The report does not define “burn-out”, but associates it with tiredness, feeling overworked and feeling too knackered for leisure activities.

Busting the three burn-out myths

Treadwell argues that there are three myths about why more and more people are feel burnt out …

  1. We are sleeping less – wrong … statistics show we are now sleeping more on average than we did in 1974
  2. We are working more – wrong … at least for men, who are working very slightly less than in 1974. Woman are working slightly more.
  3. We are feeling more rushed – wrong … survey’s suggest that our subjective feeling of being rushed has not changed much.

So what is it that causes burn-out?

Different Times

In order to create more nuanced thinking about burn-out, Treadwell identifies four different types of time:

  1. Necessary time – This is the time we spend doing things that are necessary to keep our bodies working properly – sleep, eating, washing etc.
  2. Contracted time – This is the time we spend working, that is doing what we have contracted to do with our employer or clients.
  3. Committed time – This is the time we spend doing the other things that we have to do because we have no choice – taking the children to school, cleaning our house/flat.
  4. Free time – The time that is left to us to do what we want to do – leisure activities, volunteering etc.

These different times compete with each other, and it is often the Free Time that gets squeezed out. We now spend less time seeing their friends, visiting restaurants, going out, volunteering, and exercising than in 1974.

So Why the Burn-Out?

Treadwell proposes that a big contributor to burn-out is the fact that we now change activities far quicker than we did in the past. We move from one activity to another and then back again far more than we ever did. Modern technology allows us to check our messages in the middle of eating a meal, or check our social media before getting out of bed. This constant changing from one activity to another increases the stress and the likelihood of burn-out.

What do I Think?

I work with people how are only just coping with stress and anxiety. In each session we talk about their lives and what they could do to improve it, which all supports a therapeutic hypnosis trance. I find that many of my clients decide that they want to re-organise their lives – simplifying and restructuring so as to get as much done as they ever did, but in a better way. For example, having set times when they don’t look at their phones, stopping taking work home with them at weekends, or prioritising time spent with their children.

From my experience, it seems to me that taking better control of your time is a good way to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you find that you are unable to control your own stress and anxiety on your own, you may like to give hypnotherapy a go. I work in my clinic in Fleet, Hampshire and would be happy to hear from you.

The Report in Full

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

Tim Maude

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