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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.

Generally, other processes target cognitive relationships and use different re-framing techniques that could take anywhere from several weeks to years to address the surface level thought processes and get deep enough to realize a permanent shift.

Our burnout intervention process spans two days, totaling 8 focused hours to identify the root cause and personal history, and then applying specific intervention processes to release the limiting beliefs and suppressed emotions associated with the burnout.

Painless and No Reliving Negative Experiences

Many therapeutic approaches focus on a form of pre-sensitization that require several or on-going sessions that can be painful and traumatic. During these sessions, by triggering those traumatic experiences, it feels like you’re reliving it in real time and can be very daunting and frustrating.

Our approach is to disassociate those experiences from the system instead of battle-testing the client until they get numb from the feelings.

Deep traumas and phobias using Mental Emotional Release get resolved in about 20-30 minutes as we target and release the unconscious structure and relationships that hold the suppressed emotions and beliefs within the neurology.

That’s the reason we can quickly address the high anxiety, and chronic worry that comes with burnout.

Low to No Remissions

We take a very different approach to therapeutic work. Our goal is to address the root problem so clients don’t have to return. Our focus is around rapid and painless intervention.

By addressing the root of the issues and releasing limiting beliefs and blocked emotions from the nervous system, clients leave the session with a clean slate. It’s like having a deep mental and emotional detox.

That’s why the most common feedback that we get from this process is a feeling of freedom and liberation; like a ton of bricks being lifted off their shoulders. From there, clients use the freed mental and emotional capacity to take action and learn new behaviours that are aligned with a healthy and well lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about the process, you can get the book:
Mental and Emotional Release by Dr. Matthew James

It will cover the proven clinic process that’s been used for over 40 years, clinical case studies on anxiety, PTSD, phobias, depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, life enhancement, as well as the latest clinical studies and academic research.

Want to find out how you can bring therapeutic vacations into the workplace?

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We would love to hear from you, your needs and how we can help your organization rapidly overcome employee burnout.

A little about me... Hi! I'm Duncan So, Executive Director at I’ve been a child of corporate burnout that has led me into the field of human flourishing for over a decade. I’ve been a social entrepreneur and change agent ever since, on a mission to create a more passionate world building systems and programs for companies and communities on the path of making social good.

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