The WHO has now included burnout in their guidebook for diagnostic classifications.
The WHO has now included burnout in their guidebook for diagnostic classifications. gpointstudio

How to deal with burnout, according to a health expert

IT'S normal to feel stressed at work every so often. But if you're so stressed you're feeling exhausted, and are feeling cynical and negative towards your job, you're likely experiencing burnout.

Recognising this, the world's peak medical body has now included burnout in their guidebook for diagnostic classifications.

Burnout, called an "occupational phenomenon" by the World Health Organisation, is described as "resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".

Coinciding with the WHO announcement that burnout is an occupational phenomenon, a Byron Bay based naturopath has weighed in on how it can be managed.

Parkes Ave Dispensary founder and naturopath, Jules Galloway has created a career out of helping women improve their health, and has herself experienced burnout.

Jules explained burnout "like you're wading through pea soup just to get through the day".

She said it started as feeling tired all the time, but was tired of an evening and found it hard to sleep, and then relying on coffee during the day.

"I started having hormone imbalances and then it also started experiencing my mental health," she said.

NATURAL MEDICINE: James and Jules Galloway have opened the doors to a naturopathic dispensary and clinic based within Habitat on Parkes Avenue in Byron Bay.
NATURAL MEDICINE: James and Jules Galloway have opened the doors to a naturopathic dispensary and clinic based within Habitat on Parkes Avenue in Byron Bay. Amber Melody Photos

"I was experiencing anxiety and depression and that was starting to affect my work performance.

"I had massive brain fog, which is something we see in burnout as well."

Jules said on a typical naturopathic protocol on burnout the first thing they would do is remove the thing that's causing the stress, but sometimes that's not possible.

"Sometimes we employ lifestyle changes to help you cope with the workload but while we're doing some of those things we are supporting the body with diet, nutritional medicine and herbs.

"We modify the diet so that you're getting a higher level of nutrients ... and also removing foods that may cause inflammation and fatigue.

"If stress hormones are higher we have herbs to help lower those or if cortisol is higher we can help lower that. Cortisol is one of the key stress hormones we look at in burnout."

Jules said a typical diet for burnout might be increasing protein, using nourishing whole-foods that are high in nutrients and then removing things that cause fatigue like sugar and processed foods.

"It's very typical what we see is a spiral of eating foods that don't serve you and then those foods actually make you feel more tired," she said.

For Jules, the biggest impact burnout had on her was toll it took on her mental health, which she said she found was "often the tipping point for a lot of women".

"The overriding symptom for both men and women is fatigue and weight gain."