Chronic burnout is not just “no fun” but it can cause us to develop diseases we could do without. Diseases of modern civilization are related to eating bad foods that are quick to make because we don’t have time to garden and make our own food.
They are also related to chronic stress, which burns out our adrenal glands that are putting out epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which causes high blood pressure, stress on the heart and autoimmune diseases.
Burnout and Heart Disease
Burnout, the phenomenon of overextending ourselves on most days of our lives, can contribute to modern diseases that have increased since modern civilization has taken hold. One of these diseases is heart disease. Heart disease encompasses heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease.
We contribute to heart disease by eating junk food that is high in fat, calories, and salt. This causes weight gain and diabetes, which also increase the risk of heart disease. All of this rolls together to create high blood pressure from too much salt (and too much stress), high cholesterol, and diabetes—things that together contribute to causing arterial blockage in the major vessels supplying the heart, the brain and the extremities.
When the arteries become clogged with cholesterol and calcium plaques, they cause heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. These things can be reduced by reducing the stress in our lives caused by burnout.
Doing things like getting exercise every day, practicing yoga, and meditating can lower the blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Taking the time to cook good, fresh food from scratch can eliminate the eating of junk food that contributes to heart disease and diabetes. In order to do this, we have to find time and motivation to work on bettering our health instead of burning ourselves out on activities that are unhealthy.
Burnout and Diabetes
When we are burned out on activities that prevent us from eating right, we tend to eat too much junk food—foods that are high in calorie and sugar along with processed foods that don’t nourish the body. This puts us at a higher risk for getting diabetes.
Cortisol that comes from stress also increases the blood sugar and contributes to getting diabetes. Diabetes is rampant in today’s burned out society because cortisol is coursing through our veins, increasing our blood sugar and because we don’t eat right. If more people took the time to cook healthy foods and reduce stress, the incidence of diabetes would decrease and the population will be healthier.
Burnout and our Immune System
Burnout causes chronic stress and the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. This results in an abnormal immune system that doesn’t fight off infection well. The immune system also tries too hard under the influence of stress so that we develop autoimmune diseases. Instead of attacking pathogens in the body, the immune system makes antibodies against the tissues of the own body.
This can lead to diseases like gluten intolerance, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, psoriasis, and a host of other conditions created from having an immune system that has been hijacked by stress.
Burnout and Mental Illness
Burnout creates a situation in which we are stressed and unhappy much of the time. We don’t have the time to rest and enjoy things in life and we run the risk of suffering from chronic depression and anxiety.
Not only are we burned out but we lose the ability to cope with the stressors of life and end up with addictions, chronic anxiety, and depression. Many turn to alcohol and food to alleviate stress, and this can lead to more problems like weight gain, obesity, and alcoholism or drug addiction.
Self-medicating, either with drugs, alcohol or food to deal with stress is so prevalent or the problem is that many people do not realize that it is happening until these things get so bad that they have to face serious consequences of such actions.
By taking the time to relax and enjoy life, we can step back from the mental illnesses that surround us in order to get the help we need to begin to turn around our lives.