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2014-03-03

Dr. Clark’s interview with Eric Michaels of eHealth Radio Network

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Eric Michaels of eHealth Radio.  You can listen to the interview at http://ehealthradio.podbean.com/2014/02/08/what-can-be-done-to-avoid-burnout-with-dr-heather-clark.

For your convenience, I’ve included the transcript below.  Enjoy!

playpodcast

 

 

Voiceover:

This is the eHealth Radio Network, your source for health advice on demand, and now your host, Eric Michaels.

 

 

Eric:

This is Eric Michaels, and once again, you have tuned in to the eHealth Radio Network and the Stress Management and General Health Channels. Make sure you connect with us on Facebook to receive the latest programming for your convenience, simply at eHealth Radio.

Today we are speaking with Dr. Heather Clark, PharmD, who is an author, speaker, functional medicine specialist and CEO of Vibrant that helps people reclaim their lives from burnout and adrenal fatigue using unique and comprehensive system to reverse burnout.

Dr. Clark, welcome to eHealth Radio.

 

 

Dr. Clark:

Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

 

 

Eric:

You’re very welcome. Dr. Clark, good to have you once again. What is burnout? Tell us about that.

 

 

Dr. Clark:

It’s almost easier to start with what it isn’t. We all have some experience with feeling a little burned out, but true burnout is more than just needing a weekend. True burnout is more than just needing a couple weeks vacation. True burnout happens as a result of chronic stress. What happens is your body’s physiology changes. As a result of chronic stress, your body changes how it works and it also changes how your mind works as well. You get a whole constellation of symptoms of which the more common ones are fatigue, foggy thinking, and trouble sleeping.

 

 

Eric:

As you know, everyone has stress but not everyone has burnout. Why is that and what is the difference?

 

 

Dr. Clark:

That’s where it gets really interesting because what I had noticed for my clients is there are some similarities. It really has to do with how we interpret the world and how we respond to it. It starts with personality. People who are Type A, or perfectionists, people who are highly responsible and highly reliable or people who are highly sensitive are much more likely to have burnout.

It’s also a case of nature versus nurture. Some people are just wired in such a way they’re more likely to get burnout. Other people are conditioned, usually in childhood, to accomplish task no matter what. These are the people that are much more likely to really push through an obstacle instead of taking a moment or acknowledging, “This might not work out.” These are the people that get things done no matter what. So that’s one element.

The other element is how much stress they have. It’s more than just the amount. It’s the intensity and the length of exposure, how long you’ve had stress. This is more than just, “Oh, that was inconvenient.” These are big stresses. These are life changes. These are problems at work. These are chronic food sensitivities. There’s all different types. That’s what sets people up for burnout.

 

 

Eric:

What can be done to avoid burnout?

 

 

Dr. Clark:

It’s especially important if you’re one of the people that have those personality traits that gets you setup for burnout, but its good information for everybody. It boils down to stress. It’s more than just stress management. To manage stress really feels to me like you’re just trying to adapt to the stress when really you can master stress.

 

Stress mastery, first of all, is a lot more fun than stress management. It’s finding different ways to eliminate stress and what you can’t get rid of you want to reduce. Then transform your relationship to the stress with all of the rest. That has to do a lot with how you perceive stresses and skills to develop for how to handle them.

 

 

Eric:

Today, we are with Dr. Heather Clark, PharmD, the CEO of Vibrant that helps people reclaim their lives from burnout and adrenal fatigue using a unique and comprehensive system to reverse burnout here on eHealth Radio, Stress Management, and General Health Channels, a part of the eHealth Radio Network.

Dr. Clark, what happens if you’re already burned out? Will the same strategies work?

 

 

Dr. Clark:

To a certain extent, the same strategies will work. However, if you’re already burned out, your body responds differently. Also, your mind responds differently. The way you perceive the world is different and the way you react to it is different. While it’s valuable to eliminate stress, reduce stress, and transform your relationship to it, if you’re already burned out, these are very, very difficult things to do. Like I said, it can be done but it can be quite challenging, especially in the more advanced stages of burnout.

 

The best thing to do is not start with your biggest stress because if you could’ve eliminated it or reduced it, you probably would have already. You don’t want to try and start there because when you’re already burned out, that’s very discouraging. Start it with the little stuff. Start with improving your diet. Start with sleeping more. You want to break things down into very small steps.

In addition, especially when you’re already burned out, you need a comprehensive approach. You want to address lots of different areas at once. It’s very important for people with burnout to do this because it’s difficult to get big changes when working on one thing. In addition, it’s very difficult to focus, so it’s hard to work on one thing. Starting in many, many different areas of your life, it’s more of the comprehensive approach and you get further.

What I’d like to add to that is people who are burned out or have adrenal fatigue often get relief from supplements. Now, I’m all for getting relief. That’s fantastic. What I want to share with you and your listeners is that supplements are not the do-all and the end-all. They do help you feel better but the underlying problem is still there. If you don’t address it, it gets worse so that when you stop taking supplements, often people with burnout feel worse than before they started.

 

 

Eric:

What would you say are some strategies that people can put into place with burnout? Where do they start?

 

 

Dr. Clark:

Again, this is starting small and breaking it down into small steps. The easiest place to start is, I call it “eat, sleep, and be mindful.” Now, there are lots of different types of stress, the mental and emotional stress we normally think of, dietary and lifestyle, pain and inflammation. The easiest place to start is with what you eat. You want to eat foods that are healthy for you in quantities that are right for you at the right times for you. Because when you improve your diet, and that’s going to look different for everybody, but if you improve your diet, you’ll just feel better and it eliminates a huge amount of stress.

Sleeping can be a little trickier. If you already have burnout, many people also have trouble sleeping. Again, we’re talking about small steps. Simply create a situation where you’re likely to get 8 hours of sleep. That means if the alarm goes off at 6 AM, don’t go to bed at midnight. Go to bed at 10 or earlier. It’s the little things that help.

Then bring mindfulness to everything you do. Now, this isn’t necessarily go meditate for 30 minutes everyday, which is helpful, except that’s hard to work into a schedule when you’re already burned out, just approaching things with mindfulness. When you eat, really savor the flavors. When you’re with somebody, really enjoy their company. Take a moment to be mindful and be aware. It makes a huge difference and it’s an easy place to start.

 

 

Eric:

Certainly appreciate your insight. How about telling our listeners where they can get more information and also to be in contact with you online to tap into your expertise.

 

 

Dr. Clark:

Oh, yes. You can get more information at my website, myvibranthealth.com. Also, if you’re interested in learning more, I do offer consultations and those can be scheduled online at TalkWithDrClark.com.

 

 

Eric:

Easy enough. Dr. Clark, always good to have you and thanks for joining us once again here on eHealth Radio. Have yourself a great day.

 

 

Dr. Clark:

Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

 

 

Eric:

You’re welcome. We’ve been speaking to, once again, Dr. Heather Clark, PharmD, the CEO of Vibrant that helps people reclaim their lives from burnout and adrenal fatigue, using unique and comprehensive systems to reverse burnout. The website of reference, once again, is myvibranthealth.com. For consultations, visit TalkWithDrClark.com.

This has been Eric Michaels and you’ve been listening to eHealth Radio and the Stress Management and General Health Channels, a part of the eHealth Radio Network. We do thank you for listening. Until next time, enjoy.

 

 

Voiceover:

Thanks for tuning in to the eHealth Radio Network. For more information or to subscribe to this podcast, visit ehealthradionetwork.com.

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