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  • Writer's pictureCarmel Farnan

Mindfulness: A Solution to Professional Burnout

Recognising the Prevalence of Burnout Among Professionals

 

In today’s fast-paced professional landscape, burnout has become pervasive, affecting individuals across various industries. This is a year-on-year increasing trend that I witness with professionals and school personnel that attend our Mindfulness Courses, that are designed specifically for them. The demanding nature of work, reduced staff numbers, coupled with high expectations and ever tightening deadlines, frequently leads to chronic stress and exhaustion. However, even within these challenging environments, a helping hand exists: Enter Mindfulness.


A lady stressed in work sitting at a computer

 

Understanding Burnout and its Implications

 

Defining Burnout

Burnout is more than just feeling tired or stressed; it encompasses a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion resulting from prolonged workplace stress. It can manifest in various ways such as detachment from work, irritation, disengagement, a sense of inefficacy and a lack of joy in life, where work become the sole focus.

 

The Impact of Burnout

The consequences of burnout are far-reaching, affecting both individuals and organisations. It leads to decreased productivity, reduced job satisfaction, and increased absenteeism. Furthermore, burnout can have serious implications for mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression, and even physical health problems. In fact it was because of work-related stress in my corporate job that I retrained as a Psychotherapist and then went on to set up the Irish Mindfulness Academy, British Mindfulness Academy and Australian Mindfulness Academy




Carmel Farnan Photo from Irish Independent Interview
Photo of Carmel Farnan, Irish Mindfulness Academy

 

Embracing Mindfulness: A Solution for Burnout

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations with openness and curiosity. While rooted in ancient contemplative traditions, mindfulness has gained traction in modern psychology as a potent tool for stress reduction and self-awareness. It is to spend as much time as possible in your actual life, rather than to be endlessly caught up in thoughts, concerned about the past or the future, while missing the present.



A man in the workplace

 

How can Mindfulness help?

Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness offers a wealth of benefits for mental and emotional well-being. It reduces stress, enhances resilience, and improves cognitive function. Additionally, mindfulness fosters greater self-compassion and emotional regulation, key factors in preventing burnout.

 

Some practical tips to bring Mindfulness into the Workplace

 

Mindful Breathing

One of the simplest yet most effective mindfulness practices is mindful breathing. Taking a few moments to focus on the breath can help to calm the mind, reduce stress, and promote a sense of relaxation.


Body Scan Meditation

Body scan meditation involves systematically directing attention to different parts of the body, noticing any sensations without judgment. This practice helps to release tension, increase body awareness, and promote relaxation. Our contemporary Western culture emphasises the cognitive (thinking) domain over the domains of emotion and embodiment. Most of us are barely aware of our bodies at all. We can easily spend so much time ‘in our head’ that we almost forget we have a body at all. We can spend ages ruminating, daydreaming, planning, remembering and comparing. None of this is wrong but it's the overuse of thought that can become problematic and affect our well being. The body scan takes us out of the 'thinking/always on' modes and into the being mode.


If you would like to download a complimentary meditation delivered by our founder Carmel Farnan, you can do so by clicking here: Access to Complimentary Mindfulness Meditations (jotform.com)


Mindfulness at Work and Meditation at Work

 

It’s Definitely not all about Meditation Though

You may decide to do a daily meditation, which may last twenty minutes. But what about the other 15+ hours (allowing for an 8-hour sleep period). Here’s where integrating Mindfulness into daily activities will train your mind to be in the present moment.


Mindfulness of Daily Routine

It's very important to begin to make your life a mindful life, so start by bringing mindfulness into any activity you are doing.

  1. Why not choose one meal each day at which you are going to be deliberately mindful? Try to have this meal in an uninterrupted way, avoid reading the newspaper or being on your laptop or watching TV whilst eating. Really pay attention to each aspect of the meal, letting all your senses fully engage with the process and noticing what you discover in each moment as you proceed. Ask yourself what do you see / hear / feel / taste / smell right now? We need all five senses to be fully in the present moment. Pick a different mealtime each day to prevent your mind from making a particular mindful meal into an automatic habit.


A group of people eating mindfully

2.  Another practice is to do any routine activity in a mindful way. This time choose any of your everyday activities and deliberately concentrate on that activity each time you do it. Try to start as early as possible in the morning - in that way you will build many mindful moments into your day.


Some examples might be :

• Having your cup of tea or coffee - really taste it, feel the warmth of the cup, savour the smell.

• Brushing your teeth - try using your non-dominant hand!

• Showering - use your senses to really experience it.

• Drying yourself - feel the towel, notice what part of your body you are moving to.

• Getting dressed - try doing it in a different order.

• Walk to the bus, train or car - perhaps try walking on the opposite side of the street.

• Sitting at a red traffic light - instead of bemoaning the delay take a few deep breaths.


 

Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness

 

In the face of mounting workplace pressures and the ever-present threat of burnout, mindfulness offers a practical solution. By some of the practical tools, given above, it’s possible, with practice, to navigate the challenges of life with greater resilience and clarity. As the demand for mindfulness in the workplace continues to grow, organisations and individual staff members can benefit from its transformative potential in promoting overall well-being, both inside and outside the workplace

 

If you would like to know more about our bespoke Mindfulness at Work Training you can click here: Mindfulness at Work Training | Irish Mindfulness Academy or call us on 01 637 3934

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