Prince Harry opens up about experiencing 'burnout' – but what is it?

Prince Harry opens up about experiencing 'burnout' – but what is it?
Prince Harry opens up about experiencing burnout after 'burning candle at both ...

Prince Harry has opened up about his experience with burnout and said he needs to start meditating "every single day" to increase his "mental fitness."

During a conversation with Better Up, a personal coaching company, the Duke of Sussex described the feeling as "burning the candle at both ends."

"And it was like boom, that is when you are forced to look inside yourself, because with everything else around you seemingly, you feel as though it's working against you, the only way that you could really combat it."

Admitting he uses the platform himself, he emphasised the importance of self-care, especially as "the world's becoming harder and more complicated... And it's going to get harder."

He said: "The self-care is the first thing that drops away. I'm happy to admit that as a husband, as a dad."

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"And I think people are going to need to rely on each other and on professional help, but not just professional help. Friends, family, maybe complete strangers, anyone can actually help you in that coaching process."

We've seen burnout crop up a lot, but what exactly is it?

What is burnout?

Burnout is "the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress", says Dr Jeff Foster, Medical Director & Male Health Lead, at H3 Health. He told Indy100 that people are being signed off work with burnout is at an all-time high because it can become "really unhealthy to the point of unsafe."
The condition has almost become a characteristic of our age due to the gap between our shared ideals about work and the reality of our jobs. It can also be caused by other areas of life.

What are the signs of burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, burnout comprises three components: exhaustion, cynicism, and diminished performance.

The common symptoms tend to consist of "tiredness, fatigue, irritability, stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness, poor motivation, decreased sex drive, feelings of helplessness and despair."

Dr Tom MacLaren, Consultant Psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health explained that the triggers can stem from "feeling unsupported, additional pressures from your employer, worries and concerns about an increasing workload and a feeling of lack of control over your work or home life."

How can it be treated?

It comes down to self-reflection and stepping back to evaluate what is achievable VS what is not and disconnecting from work pressure.

Dr MacLaren shared the following to help improve mental fitness and alleviate symptoms:

  • Make time to relax, enjoy hobbies and focus on doing things you enjoy
  • Plan time at work to include breaks and take some time to get time to know your colleagues, which can be hugely beneficial to your enjoyment of the work environment
  • Brighten up your office or work space with things that bring you joy, such as flowers, photos or home comforts which can help improve concentration and help get you through your work day easier (but ensure to eliminate clutter as this can be distracting!)
  • Talk to friends and family and share your thoughts, feelings and concerns – it's important not to keep things to yourself. A new perspective can sometimes be revolutionary
  • Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle
  • Employ good sleep hygiene – ensuring you get 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night
  • Being active and taking regular exercise is so important for mental health, helping to get the feel-good endorphins flowing and clearing the mind (even brisk walking for about 20 minutes per day is great!)
  • Career coaching can be particularly beneficial, especially for boreout
  • Make time to see friends you might not have seen in a while

If symptoms persist or worsen, it is advised to see a professional.

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