25 April 2023 Valerie Adolff

Burned out people will keep burning up the planet

Article TRIVE GLOBAL COMMUNITY @AriannaHuffington

I am happy to share an extract of Arianna Huffington’s post here, as she has written it so precise what I encounter in my daily work with people:

In the last few years, two major issues have moved to the center of our collective conversation. One is climate change, and the other is well-being and mental resilience. It’s time we connect the dots and bring the two conversations together. They’re not just both existential threats, they’re also deeply connected: simply put, burned out people are going to continue burning up the planet. It’s clear that the way we live and work is not only burning us out, but causing us to make decisions that are destroying our own health and the health of our planet.

The scale of this crisis is staggering. First, the health of the planet:

  • The last seven years have been the hottest seven years on record.
  • Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they’ve been for the last 800,000 years.
  • Coming into 2020, the biggest story in the world were the wildfires in Australia, which killed 34 people, burned over 44 million acres of land and killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals.
  • In 2020, the planet lost 100,000 square miles of tree cover — about the size of Colorado, and nearly 7% more than were lost in 2019.
  • 2020 saw the most named storms in the Atlantic ever, and was the worst California wildfire season ever, as was each of the previous 10 years before that.

And then there’s the destruction that’s been wrought on our individual and collective health — including our mental health, which was already in crisis by the time the pandemic arrived and intensified it: 

  • According to the C.D.C., an estimated 90% of our healthcare spending goes toward treating mental health conditions or stress-related chronic conditions that can be managed or prevented, like heart disease and diabetes, which by the year 2035 will afflict nearly 600 million people.
  • Worldwide, over 264 million people are struggling with depression.
  • In May of 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as a workplace crisis.
  • According to a study by Asana of 13,000 knowledge workers across eight countries, an astounding 71% had experienced burnout in the past year.

The connection between what we’re doing to ourselves and what we’re doing to our planet isn’t metaphorical. We know the science on climate change.

The consequences of what will happen if we don’t change how we live are dire. So if we know the science, why aren’t we acting? Because it’s hard to break out of habit and embrace any new ideas and ways of living when we’re burned out.

When we’re burned out, exhausted and depleted, we operate on short-termism and day-to-day survival, just trying to get through the day, or even just the next hour. We’re not just less able to create new and more sustainable habits, we’re also unable to think about the future, make the wisest decisions for the long term and come up with creative and innovative solutions to complex challenges — like climate change.

We’re much less likely to spot the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. Or to stop living in a way that melts the glacier the iceberg is attached to. In our always-on and screen-saturated world, we have a hard time looking up, looking out, looking forward and being part of the solution. So the best intentions and climate targets remain just that: intentions and targets.

Dealing with the realities of climate change is going to require a culture shift, but not one based only on how we burn fossil fuels. It’s also going to require a shift in how we burn energy as individuals. The solution is renewable energy at every level. That’s why achieving a sustainable planet must go hand in hand with living sustainable lives.

It’s all the more amazing that so much of our culture is still based on burnout denialism, given that the truth about how to live our best lives and perform at our best can be found in ancient wisdom going back centuries. And the latest science has validated that wisdom by uncovering how we think and make decisions under stress.
(Please read the entire post written by Arianna Huffington here: THRIVE GLOBAL COMMUNITY)

Once we understand that we have to make a shift in our mindset and that we need to make a change in our daily habits, the most difficult point is to start NOW. I observe that not knowing how to practise and be aware of many little habits that lead to important impact, people are overwhelmed and feel like they have to add more tasks to their cart.

And the lack of safe space in which we can learn how to make this shift with little step by step instructions and tools and having the real experience backing our will for stopping burning out.
I have experienced and seen the biggest shifts in people who shared their experience with others and took the committment together with others into daily practise.

Each time I hold a workshop in companies, I insist that each participant chooses a mate so that the learnt new experience can be continued as a team, committing to give each other the needed support.

We are wired to be social and our learning together with others opens up so many different ways of remembering each other what we said, to mirror each other when our level of stress increases again and to embrace moments of setback.

So ask a colleague
to set an intention with you
put a strategy how you want to achieve it
choose miles stones in your calender
and celebrate each step you make.

You will make the necessary shift, and you will experience that your attention towards nature will change with it, because you will be able to see with refreshed eyes.