Kenosha therapist shares how to recognize signs of burnout & embrace opportunities to pause
Feeling overwhelmed? Emotionally drained? Feeling like you’re drowning in constant demands from work or life and just feeling cynical in general? Well, you’re probably experiencing burnout.
While burnout is not defined as a medical condition, it’s described as a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that’s caused by prolonged stress. The negative effects of burnout impact all aspects of life, not just work.
As a part of Marquette University’s Black History Month Health & Wellness series, Dr. Dominique Pritchett, owner of the Beloved Wellness Center in Kenosha, delivers a keynote address on Thursday to lead a conversation about moving from burnout to breakthrough.
Pritchett, who is a doctor of psychology, says that it's important to remember what's happening in the world today when people are addressing burnout. "When we talk about burnout in terms of mental health, it can look like a sense of overwhelmingness and feeling like you cannot handle day-to-day stress. It could look like irritability, mood changes, and just not being able to adapt to what life is throwing at you — resulting in just being so overwhelmed. You're not showing up as your true self," she says.
It can be easy to burnout in an American culture that glorifies overextending oneself. It can be common even, that people often times don't have the opportunity to slow down. "Many young folks and students are breadwinners in their family. They're carrying the torch," notes Pritchett. "They may not have always been taught to look out for burnout or what to do if burnout happens."
At Marquette University's Black History Month Health & Wellness event, Pritchett says she will be going over her signature framework, which is the Care framework.
She says the framework provides ways to recognize when we aren't feeling like our true selves. "The key to burnout prevention is the awareness and the ability to recognize when enough is enough, and you probably can't pile any more on in. The Care framework is to explore and embrace all the opportunities you have to pause, slow down or even pivot from the pace you're going," says Pritchett.
It's important to go to therapy once signs of burnout are recognized, she explains. The process can help maintain and continue progress."That external therapeutic perspective can really help you look at a higher level and eagle view of what things you may be missing," says Pritchett.
She's had her own journey with therapy and understanding mental health and she recounts how the feeling of burnout was normal in her family. Her first introduction to therapy was in college and she decided she needed to take a mental health break.
"From there on, it catapulted my interest and my career into serving individuals ... I practice a design for Black women and girls to honor their experiences and catapult their interest into mental wellness," says Pritchett.
Therapy has received a mixed reception in the Black community, she says. While more people are starting to recognize and voice they're not alright, there's still a lot of things that make it hard to be vulnerable. "It's not easy to be vulnerable in environments where you should feel psychologically safe. Society in general still does not respect the sensitivities and the differences of how mental health concerns show up in Black communities," says Pritchett.
It's key to be in environments where people want to understand why their differences are unique. When there's a sense of shared understanding, there's an opportunity to problem solve says Pritchett. She adds there's also a need for room to not get it right all the time.
"I model when I need to take a break as well in my clients, and we have a shared understanding that we want to hold the best space possible, and I will let you know if I am not there. That's okay and I accept that," says Pritchett.