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Expert: Set Boundaries Between Work And Personal Life To Prevent Burnout

Expert: Set Boundaries Between Work And Personal Life To Prevent Burnout
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A 22-year-old professional had to resign from her job last August as she got burned out at work, which took a toll on her in so many ways.

Vea Angela Quiamco, who worked for a digital marketing and events company for two years, said she came to a point in her life when she no longer had the ability to do her best in whatever she was doing due to her excessive and prolonged stress.

Nag-resign ako dahil ditoAyokong madamay ang flow of work because I can’t fulfill my role properly and it’s been taking a toll on my responsibilities,” Quiamco told The Philippine STAR / OneNews.PH in a recent online interview.

“I have to focus on myself. I have to focus on my healing,” she pointed out.

Although she was very passionate about her work, Quiamco said she was having a hard time focusing on her job as there were still “crippling negative thoughts” that she could not handle and as a result, she could not function at all.

According to her, there were times she would not have an appetite and won’t eat and even drink. She said she would just sleep for long hours because she was feeling very tired.

“When I wake up, I just simply went back to sleep because I’m already feeling tired… Longest sleep I’ve had…(was) 29 hours,” she disclosed. Aside from not eating and drinking, “I didn’t even have the urge to pee. You can say that I’m pretty ‘dead’ tired.”

Quiamco said she would always multitask and cram to meet her deadlines at work.

“When I'm trying to focus, mas lalong gumugulo since hindi ko rin naman alam ginagawa ko kahit pa kabisado ko na kung ano ‘yung gagawin,” she added.

Her sleep schedule, she said, had also changed as she would sleep in the morning and wake up in the evening. “I can find my temporary peace at night.”

Apart from her sleep pattern, the young professional said she would often experience headaches, severe back pains, and shaking even though it’s not cold.

Diagnosed with severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, anxiety and chronic insomnia since college, Quiamco shared that she had reached a point in her life where she didn't know herself anymore.

To cope up with her situation, Quiamco said she would take alcoholic drinks, overdose on her medicines and worse, even harm herself. She admitted that all she wanted was to escape reality.

“You can't think at all. Ang gusto mo lang mangyari is makaalis sa realidad. And after having an ‘episode,’ usually hindi mo na alam nangyariNakikita ko na lang sarili ko na may cuts or bruises at makalat na paligid,” she lamented.

Quiamco disclosed that she consulted medical professionals to address her mental health issues. “Because I know that what I’m feeling isn’t normal anymore.”

The marketing professional said she first asked the help of a psychiatrist to assess her condition and then consulted a psychologist for her therapy.

“I had to do something. I have to [take] action because who else would be besides myself, right?” she said.

But Quiamco confessed she had stopped taking her medications because they were “very pricey.” She spends P6,000 for her medications every month and P3,000 for a therapy session that would only last for an hour.

“I don’t take any pills anymore since I tend to overdose myself when I’m having an episode. Sometimes I feel guilty and I think it was a waste of money for an hour-long talk session,” she said.

“On the other hand, that one hour can take all of my thoughts away. I can freely talk to my doctor. Sobrang gaan sa pakiramdam na para bang wala kang pinagdaanan,” she added.

 Expert side

Christian Jasper Nicomedes, a clinical practitioner, said burnout is a state of someone's emotional, physical, and psychological exhaustion caused by extreme stress. It can potentially paralyze or stop one from doing regular activities.

“Burnout is a state wherein bumagsak ang emotional, physical at psychological capacity ng isang tao. Extreme state of stress na nakakaparalisa sa kung sino man,” Nicomedes said in a separate interview.

According to Nicomedes, burnout is different from being tired and stressed and it is not a diagnosable disorder. “It is possible din na ito ay may kasamang depression pero not always.”

Extreme physical strain is one of the signs of burnout, Nicomedes noted. “To the point na 'di ka na makabangon. ‘Di ka na makapag-function.”

He said for people experiencing burnout, any stimuli that would remind of the workload and tasks they have to do would cause breakdown.

Nicomedes said individuals get burned out when there are too many pressures from what they do or when work demands too much time from them – neglecting their personal time.

The medical expert said it is because people also forget to have proper self-care due to their workloads. He emphasized that people must realize that their body has a limitation.

“People get burned out kapag masyadong nakatuon sa workload ang oras nila at nawawalan na sila ng time sa sarilina kahit tamang tulogkaino pahinga ay wala sila,” he said.

Nicomedes also noted that too much pressure from social norms – in terms of work, financial aspect, and career development – as well as toxic environment can also contribute to extreme stress.

To prevent burnout, the clinical psychologist said people need to love and take care of themselves as well as set boundaries between work and personal life.

He also advised people to make a to-do-list to manage time at work. “Always think na mas magiging efficient worker or student tayo kung husto sa pahinga ang isip at katawan natin.”