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Mental Health in the Workplace | Overcoming Burnout with Therapeutic Vacations

Are you a People Leader or HR Manager focusing on mental health in workplace, total wellness and employee engagement?

An important topic today around that focus is burnout. With the stress at work caused by high paced work environments and urban culture, a higher need for creativity and decision making, entrepreneurial zeal, hyper connected technologies and demands of life has created an unprecedented mental and emotional load that are causing employees to get trapped in a vicious cycle of burnout and poor mental health.

Overcoming burnout goes beyond the standard preventative remedies of an occasional Yoga class, sleeping in on a weekend or an afternoon break reading a book with a warm cup of tea.

At the Burnout Clinic, we’ve taken a deeper approach by combining effective clinical therapeutic practices with the vacation model.

Within a short vacation period, we use clinical processes that are fast, painless, and have very low to no remissions to address burnout. After the burnout intervention process, clients can enjoy a bucket-level worthy vacation to really integrate the change and have a life-changing and transforming experience.

Given the stigma that circles around mental health that confuse many people with mental illness, we decided to approach this challenge with the positive nature of how we associate with taking vacations as a preferred immersive experience for self-care.

  • People plan for and can get excited about vacations.  It can range from getting a break from work, having an escape, relaxation, personal growth and even cultural adventure and exploration
  • 51% of people travel to recharge their batteries when they feel stressed, busy, and tired (Intrepid Adventure Travel Index)
  • One in five people plan to take health and well-being trips
  • A vacation is an immersive experience, creates long lasting memories, and is something talked about for weeks returning back to work
  • It has been shown to be a great growth practice to support mental health with significant drops in stress just after a day or two of traveling

The Effectiveness of Vacations for the Workplace

While a vacation can make for a great personal getaway, it has many employer benefits as well.

Based on a report from the World Economic Forum, creativity and cognitive flexibility ranks within the top 10 skills for 2020

Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School has done numerous studies on the correlation between travel and creativity showing:

  • Increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought
  • Travelling makes you more open-minded as you meet new people and come across new situations
  • Travelling makes you more innovative

Many progressive employers offer unlimited vacation policies to give employees the sense of more freedom and autonomy. However it has also been shown that implicit pressures, unclear rules and cultural norms stop employees from actually using them leading to burnout.

Many people don’t know how to use vacations properly for the intention of breaking work habits.

During vacation time employees would check their emails, feel guilty for being absent, and even cancel vacations last minute to go back to work. This is especially true for those who struggle with burnout and refuse to face the realities of life outside work.

It takes some guidance and encouragement to help employees find that balance for productivity and well being, especially with our modern day hustle and immediacy mentality. Some companies go as far as to pay employees to go on vacation with a “use it or lose it” type offer.

Research has also shown that breaking away from routines has a significant improvement on creativity. By exploring different cultures and environments, it helps us to “think outside the box” and connects and build new neural networks that we wouldn’t get an opportunity to exercise in our regular hardened and optimized work routines.

Unfortunately with the exponential pace of technology and marketplace pressures to create more content and novelty, mental and emotional well being is being swept away as collateral damage. It takes more discipline and foresight to ensure the workplace doesn’t act as ground zero that churns employee burnout.

As productive creativity, higher knowledge work and critical decision making is becoming more important in the modern workplace - it is also requiring employers to think more creatively to encourage employees to optimally express their talents and perform at their best.

Clinical Intervention to Burnout

Day-to-day positive mental health prevention practices are great: meditation, mindfulness, going for walks or runs, hitting the gym, spending time with family and friends, having deep meaningful relationships, taking a Yoga class or a massage session and even a good annual vacation or retreat.

That’s where most workplace mental health programs and employee engagement programs focus on right?

However when it comes to burnout, like smoking cigarettes, is when unconscious habits and compulsive behaviours get people stuck in a vicious burnout cycle; many times even knowing that they need to change.
 
That’s when those who struggle with burnout get easily triggered and don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to be more intelligent about their thinking and behaviours. Generally, it’s easy to label these employees as being disengaged, distracted, unproductive and sometimes even toxic.

The deeper challenge that most HR and People leaders deal with are: it only takes a few of these employees to derail the productivity, engagement and the flow of a healthy workplace. It’s also a cause for other talented people to leave.

Couple this with the social dynamics of company culture and many times non-action, these burnout behaviours easily get baked into the company culture and spread to unsuspecting employees as the conforming of the rules of management.

That’s when rapid intervention is recommended for those who are burning out and are seeking support.

Mental Emotional Release TM

Using therapeutic processes like Mental Emotional Release TM (M.E.R.) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we’re able to help clients rapidly overcome their burnout by engaging the nervous system that controls behaviour, and releasing the limiting beliefs and emotions around their burnout behaviours stored in their neurology.