Hello, everyone. Welcome to preventing and overcoming burnout. This is the last topic in the 2021 Deer Oaks EAP services, pandemic support webinar series. We subtitled this series in 2021 Transitioning to the New Normal. I know that's a term that a lot of us have become very familiar with as we've continued on during these difficult times.
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We do have a lot of people-- well over 100 people on this session today. So I anticipate a lot of questions. And we will get to as many questions as we can this afternoon. Let's go ahead and get started folks.
I've got four objectives for our time together today-- number one, I want to talk about the different causes of burnout. Now of course, there's been a lot of research done in this area. And so I want to share-- I won't be sharing an exhaustive list, but I'll share a lot of the more prevalent, more agreed upon causes of burnout just so we can identify things that are-- if we get into a situation where we're moving towards burnout, I want you to be able to better identify that so you can make adjustments to better manage your stress, or get your life in better balance, and perhaps avoid burnout.
Or if you do find yourself starting to burnout, if you recognize the causes of burnout in your life more clearly, you should be able to make those adjustments and recover more quickly, at least potentially. In addition, I want to discuss the importance of managing our attitudes and emotions. How we think about the difficult circumstances in our lives, the challenges, the stressors. And how we manage our emotions about them during those times really can go a long way towards protecting us from burnout and keeping us healthy.
Next, I want to talk about-- I'm going to discuss several proven strategies for more effectively managing our stress and managing our time, which are two of the ways that when we start to burn out, if we can do a better job of stress management and time management, oftentimes that can help us get our lives back in better balance and overcome burnout more quickly.
And then last but not least, I want to talk about increasing our resilience and steps for increasing resilience. Resilience again, of course, is our ability to deal with stress and pressure in our lives well. And as we're going to talk about today, oftentimes, one of the more common causes of burnout is high levels of stress in our lives. The more resilient we can become, typically, the better able will be to cope with stress and manage stress more effectively.
All right. Let's talk about the causes of burnout. I want to start with the definition from the World Health Organization. I love this. I think it really puts the connection between the stress that we experience in our lives and proclivity for burnout. It makes a more direct connection, which is helpful. The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome of chronic stress that's not been successfully managed.
And so I want us to be thinking about that. And again, with chronic stress being one of the more prevalent, one of the more recognized causes of burnout in a lot of people's lives, I want us to recognize that the World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome. Not necessarily a diagnosis, but a syndrome. A grouping of things, of circumstances, of conditions that might predispose us to burnout.
But I think it's really important to remember that they say that burnout is a syndrome of chronic stress that's not been successfully managed, which lends itself to the hope that as we can better manage stress and get our lives in better balance, we can be more successful in perhaps minimizing our risk of burnout. And if we start to burn out, we can do a better job of starting to recover.
All right. Let me talk about six of the more commonly discussed potential causes of burnout-- so number one really is chronic stress, just like the World Health Organization discussed. And that can be-- chronic stress can be experienced by people in a lot of different ways. It can be due to your workload. And so at times, people will experience heavy workloads where we'll feel like we've got too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all done.
High levels of stress that can be a potential cause of burnout can also come at us through our day-to-day just normal stress levels. You know how some weeks tend to be easier than other weeks for most of us? Some weeks, the pace of life seems to be pretty reasonable for people, right? Sure, we're busy. We all have busy lives. There's a lot on our plates. And it's just the way of the world nowadays, but some weeks are easier than other weeks.
Some weeks it feels like we're not always in a hurry, or we have a manageable workload, or maybe we don't have very many out of the ordinary challenges or stressors that we have to contend with. But then there's other weeks or maybe periods of time like several months where we go through these really, really busy times where it feels like we're rushed a lot, feels like there's just always too much on our plate. And when we get into those periods of life, that can predispose us to burnout. Just when our stress level becomes unreasonably high for a significant period of time. Now, folks, I want to differentiate chronic stress as brought up by the World Health Organization and normal day-to-day stress.
Everybody has normal day-to-day stress. We all have stress to pay our bills, to meet our deadlines at work, to raise our families, to take care of our lives, keep our lives in order. But what I'm talking about here, it would be again, those periods of life where it's more stress than normal. Where we feel more rushed than normal for a period of time, or we have more on our plates than normal, or we have more challenges that we have to contend with than normal.
And I also want to talk about length of time. You remember the World Health Organization said that they identify burnout as chronic stress? Chronic would be over time, right? So I'm not talking about having a stressful week or a stressful couple of days. We all have that.
We all have one off weeks that are more busy than others or we feel rushed for a couple of days because we're on a particular deadline. And then we meet that deadline or we get through that week and the next week things get back to normal again. What I'm talking about is chronic stress for a period of time where it can be weeks or even months. Because over time, that can lead to burnout.
Now, of course, we're in we're still in this ongoing pandemic right in our world. And it's interesting, the American Psychological Association, they were talking about even into 2021 stress levels for many of us have been as high as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. And if you think about it, because of the need to adjust to a lot of changes during the pandemic, and all of the threat to our health, and all the transitions we've had to make to adjust to keeping ourselves and our family safe, that's put a lot more on our plates. And it's really increased people's stress level.
Gallup, the polling company, came out and said 2020 was the most stressful year in history. And they said, basically, four out of 10 adults we're dealing with stress or we're worried or stressed on a daily basis. That's significant. And so just living during the pandemic has increased the chronic stress level for a lot of us.
All right. Next, I want to talk about a loss or a lack of control. Another potential cause of burnout is feeling like we don't have much input into what we do, or feeling stuck in a circumstance, or just feeling like we have no input or no control over our environment. And again, I'm not talking about temporarily. I'm talking about over a period of time.
The difference between dealing with normal day-to-day stressors and normal day-to-day challenges and getting to the point where our stress level is so high for so long that it can lead to burnout really is the length of time. And so that's where that word again chronic comes in. And so if you're chronically feeling like over a period of weeks or many weeks or months that you have no control in your environment, or you're not getting much-- you're not being given much input, or you're feeling stuck in your circumstances, if that goes on for a long period of time, that can lead to burnout.
Certainly, most of us will experience working at a task where maybe we don't have a whole lot of input or being stuck temporarily and then we're able to work our way through a situation and move on. So again, I'm not talking about temporary circumstances but more longer term chronic circumstances can again lead us to experience burnout. Another potential cause of burnout is not seeing much reward for our efforts.
Human beings, it's wired into us. We need to feel like if we put a lot into something, we're going to get something out of it. We need to see results. We need to feel like our efforts are appreciated. And if you're working really hard for a significant period of time and you just don't feel like you're getting rewarded for your efforts, after a while, that can lead to burnout as well.
Another set of circumstances that can be a potential cause for burnout is being in a group or community that's not thriving. That's not healthy. That might be toxic, or maybe negative or chaotic, or maybe unsupportive. And so again, I'm not talking about temporarily. But if you're in a situation like that over time, that can lead to burnout.
There was one particular study by the Global Culture Report I thought was interesting that said that when people end up in the long term in unhealthy environments where it's either toxic, or it's pretty negative, or it's just not a supportive environment, and if they end up being in an environment like that for a lengthy period of time, they just end up having a much higher likelihood of burnout. I thought that was really interesting. I wanted to bring that point up. That really significantly increases the risk for burnout when you're in a situation like that for the long term.
Another potential cause of burnout is being treated unfairly. If you feel like you're being disrespected, or you're not getting the opportunities that everyone else is getting, you feel like you're not being treated fairly over time, that can lead to burnout as well. And then last but not least, we all have wired into us the need to feel like our lives matter. That we're making a difference in the world.
And if you're not spending enough time in your day-to-day lives-- again, over the long term-- in ways that are meaningful to you, when you go home at the end of the day and feel like I really made a difference today. I really helped others. I really did things that are meaningful today. If you're not if you're not in a situation where you're experiencing that over time, that can lead to burnout as well.
Next, let me talk about symptoms of burnout. And again, burnout is described by the World Health Organization as a syndrome. Not necessarily a diagnosis. And so sometimes when we're starting to burn out, we may not recognize what we're going through as burnout. We may recognize it as exhaustion, as getting really negative, as feeling down and discouraged, or just not enjoying life like we used to.
So I want us to recognize that everyone displays symptoms of burnout a little bit differently. But I want to go through some of the ways that burnout can be recognized. Some people when they're going through burnout, they'll start to struggle emotionally. They'll get really angry, really upset, really resentful, really irritable. And again, I'm not talking about over a couple of days.
Everyone's going to get angry about different circumstances from time to time. That's normal. We're all going to have emotional weeks where we're bothered by things more than normal. So I'm not again talking about that. I'm talking about over time. If you recognize that your emotions are really, really getting the best of you over the long term-- again weeks or maybe even months-- that can be a symptom of burnout for some people.
There are others who tend to be positive or optimistic under normal circumstances, and all of a sudden, they go through a period of time where they're getting really negative and complaining a lot. Really cynical. That can be a sign of burnout in some people. Still, others can experience burnout in terms of their energy level, where it seems like they're always, tired they're always fatigued, always exhausted no matter how much sleep they get. That can be a sign a symptom of burnout in some people.
Still, others tend to experience burnout in the social arena where they normally love being around others and they're energized by relationships, but they go through a period of time many weeks where they just don't want to be bothered. So they pull away. They isolate. That can be a sign of burnout.
Some people also experience symptoms of burnout in the areas of spirituality or motivation where they're normally pretty hopeful people. They have a lot of faith that things are going to work out for them. And then all of a sudden, they go through this period of weeks or even months where they just feel like there's no hope.
Like they don't see the bright side of things like they used to, or they're just not as motivated as they once were. They're not enjoying things that they do like they did in the past. That, again, can be a symptom of burnout over time.
And then last but not least, one of the more common ways to recognize that we may be experiencing symptoms of burnout is when we have an unusual amount of stress-related health problems. So let me talk about the categories of stress-related health problems. And I think most of us recognize that almost any emotional or physical health issue that we experience can be either caused by or made worse by stress.
According to family physicians anywhere, from 70% to 90% of all illness is either caused by or made worse by stress. And so that's that term stress-related illness that so many of us are familiar with. But what I want us to recognize is that oftentimes, we can become more aware that we're starting to burn out because we're struggling with our health.
I'll give you an example-- about 30 years ago, the first time I went through burnout, I started to have anxiety attacks. Folks, I had never had anxiety like that before. So I was really concerned. So I went and saw a counselor. I'd never been in counseling before. I'd never had anxiety attacks before.
And what the counselor helped me to understand was that I had been through an awful lot of stress over the previous year. I had moved cross-country, changed jobs, I met a woman that I was going to marry and we got engaged. And so I went through a whole lot of change. And change as most of you recognize can be stressful for people, especially when you go through a lot of change in a short period of time. And what started happening was I started to burn out from all the change, and I started to have anxiety attacks.
But I didn't recognize that. I just wanted the anxiety to stop. But once I met the counselor, and the counselor helped me understand as he got to know me better and recognize just how much change I'd been through in the last year, he helped give me some insight that I was really suffering from anxiety and burnout because of all of the different changes that I had to work through in the previous year. It was overwhelming for me. And I wasn't doing a good job of managing it. And so he really helped me to recognize that was an example of a stress-related health problem.
That anxiety really came upon me because of all the stress of the changes that I was going through. And it was overwhelming for me over time. And I eventually started having anxiety attacks. And so that was an example that I had.
Another example of a physical health issue that I dealt with is a couple of years ago, my daughter was going through-- my adult daughter was going through a divorce. She moved in with us with the kids. And the kids were 2 and 1 at the time. And we love our grandkids and love to be with them. And that's one of our favorite things to do, my wife and I. But we'd been empty nesters for quite a while.
And so we weren't prepared to all of a sudden be caregivers again 24/70-- excuse me, 24/7. Like most of you know, if you have small children or small grandchildren, when the children are really small, they really need a lot of time, and attention, and care. And it just it got to the point after a couple of weeks of having the kids with us, I went from being an empty nester to literally working hard all day in my career and then going in the house and helping my daughter with the kids every night and on the weekends.
And in about a month, I got the worst head cold that I'd gotten in probably five years. I'm an ice hockey coach, and I'm on the ice about 10 hours a week. And I'm pretty healthy. I very seldom get sick. But after helping her take care of the kids for a month, especially after not having had that responsibility for a long time, it really was overwhelming for me. And I ended up getting really, really sick and had the worst head cold I'd had in five years.
And then my wife got sick a couple of times as well. And so we quickly identified that it was getting to us. We certainly wanted to help our daughter and be with our grandkids, but we needed to make sure that we were keeping our lives in balance during that time so we could stay healthy and recover from the burnout. But those are examples, folks.
Oftentimes, the best way to understand or the best way to identify that we might be starting to burn out is if we experience stress-related health problems. Either emotionally-- like things like more anxiety than you normally have, or more depression than you normally have, or maybe you're having a hard time concentrating, or being forgetful when you're normally not. Over a period of time, those can be signs that you're feeling overwhelmed and starting to burn out.
And then physically, getting sick more often than you normally do. If you're the kind of person that doesn't get sick very often and all of a sudden you're getting sick every other month, that, again, can be a sign that perhaps you're starting to burn out. Now, these, of course-- my caveat is, these, of course, are all real health conditions. So if you do experience obviously any of these health problems, please seek professional attention. If you're dealing with emotional issues, see a doctor or a counselor. Or if you've got physical health issues, of course, you want to see a doctor. You want to take care of those things.
All right. The next thing I want to talk about is managing our attitudes and emotions. I've come to recognize that having a good attitude, thinking well, having positive self-talk, and managing our emotions well, particularly when we're going through stressful times, are great stress managers but also protective factors against burnout.
That people that tend to have really good attitudes and manage their emotions well tend to manage their stress pretty well. And that of course helps us since high levels of chronic stress is a primary driver of burnout in a lot of us. That those of us that they maintain good attitudes and manage our emotions well oftentimes can reduce our risk of burnout. And so here's some strategies for improving our attitudes and our thinking that are very helpful.
So I want to start with the connection between how we think and how we feel. This is really important. What I learned 30 years ago when I was talking to that counselor was one of the reasons I was having a lot of anxiety was that I was-- my self-talk was pretty negative about what I was going through in my life.
So for example, part of getting engaged and getting ready to get married scared the heck out of me at the time. And the reason it did and the reason I was worrying about it a lot and I getting negative about it was that my parents got divorced when I was a kid. And so when I got engaged, I started worrying that my marriage wouldn't last.
And so that was an example of what my counselor helped me to see. That self talk about what if this doesn't work? What if my marriage doesn't last? Even though my fiance and I were getting along great, and I really cared about her, and I was really looking forward to-- by the way we're still together and been together for 35 years.
But back then, I was worried. I was thinking a lot of negative thoughts about our ability to maintain a marriage. A healthy, happy marriage long term. And so and all of that negative thinking really created more anxiety in me. I want you to see that. How you think about what you're going through in your self-talk can have a lot of influence on your feelings. And that counsellor really helped me to see that.
Like for example, if you're going through a stressful event and you're thinking negative thoughts about it every day, like this is terrible, this is awful, I can't handle this. That's naturally-- that way of self-talk, that way of thinking, those negative thoughts will absolutely make most of us feel a little bit more stressed, make us feel more upset, emotionally more frustrated, maybe more fearful, more anxious. So I want us to recognize that there's a direct connection between how we think and how we feel.
And one of the life skills that counselor taught me 30 years ago and I've used it pretty much every day since is that when I start to have negative thoughts-- and it's normal to have some negative thoughts, folks. No one's happy when you're confronted by negative or stressful circumstances. But to be able to manage my self talk to say things like, I don't like the situation, it's stressful, it's uncomfortable, But you what? It's not the end of the world.
I can handle this. I've got a good support system. I'll figure something out. I always do. And what that counselor really helped me to do is learn how to reframe my negative thoughts. And if I would start to worry, to grab those worries and say, yeah, yeah, I'm concerned about this. But you know what? It's not the end of the world.
And who knows? Maybe the outcome will be fine after all. Maybe it won't be as bad as I'm worried it'll be. And the more I learn how to manage my self-talk, literally, as you focus intentionally on replacing negative thoughts with more constructive or positive thoughts, you literally can calm your emotions to go from being really upset or really anxious to feeling more peaceful, more encouraged, more hopeful.
In addition, I want to talk about emotional intelligence. Really, the ability to just manage our emotions. Folks, when we're under stress, the fight or flight response that so many of us understand pretty well is when you're going through a stressful situation, you feel your heart beating faster, and a lot of times you'll talk a little faster, and you just feel amped up emotionally.
Part of that is hormonal. And that fight or flight response, part of it is mental and emotional. And our emotions will increase. And so for example, when you're in that quote, unquote, "stressed out" place, it's absolutely normal to feel your emotions more intensely. So if you're going through a situation that feels like it's threatening or you're feeling out of control, it's perfectly understandable to feel anxious, or upset, or fearful.
But I want I want us to see if you recognize what you're feeling and have the ability to manage those feelings, keep those feelings under control and think before speaking or think before reacting, that can help you navigate through that and bring your stress level down a little bit. One of the best stress managers we have is managing our thinking and managing our emotions. Because, of course, everyone's going to go through stressful circumstances.
We're all going to be confronted with problems, we're all going to have deadlines, we're all going to feel overwhelmed sometimes, we're all going to go through really stressful things at one time or another. And so when that happens, we naturally will have a tendency to get a little negative. That's not unusual when you're going through difficult things. No one's happy about a difficult circumstance.
And again, we'll have the tendency to be more emotional, more upset, more anxious, more fearful, more frustrated. But if we can do a good job of managing our self-talk and keep our emotions under control, for example, if you're starting to feel upset, to learn how to take some deep breaths and calm yourself a little bit or to go talk to a supportive person to be able to express how you feel-- a lot of times that can help us keep our emotions under control-- and also just the ability to recognize what you're feeling from circumstance to circumstance and to be able to say to yourself, OK I'm feeling anxious because of-- a lot of time that can help you manage your self-talk and calm yourself a little bit emotionally.
Because the goal when we're feeling emotional is to recognize what we're feeling, certainly express our emotions and appropriate ways as we need to, but to be able to think before we speak or think before we act. We don't want to let our emotions run us. We want to be able to manage our emotions. And so some of the bigger mistakes I've made in my life both in relationships and even in decision making have come when I've had really intense emotions that I wasn't managing very well.
Because a lot of times when we're feeling intense emotions, we'll tend to overreact. We may say or do something that we regret later. And the better we're able to learn how to identify what we're feeling and to manage those feelings, be honest about what you're feeling but manage those, express them appropriately but keep them under control so that you're calmly responding to that situation or to those people instead of emotionally reacting.
All right. Next, let's talk about stress and time management. Now, of course, because chronic stress again is one of the primary causes of burnout in a lot of people, it's really important to keep our stress level under control and to manage our stress well. And what I'm talking about-- because stress again is normal. What I'm talking about is recognizing when you're stressed. I already talked a little bit about managing our mental and emotional responses to stress and problems.
It's interesting. There's been a lot of articles and even books written about how people can more effectively manage their stress. But again, I want us to remember that it's not the stress per se that's causing us the problem. So having a problem in your life is not necessarily what's causing you over time to experience burnout. It's how we respond to that problem.
Because everyone's going to have problems. Absolutely. And some circumstances certainly are very challenging for people. I'm not trying to downplay that at all. But as I mentioned before, that psychologist taught me that if I can manage how I think and how I feel about that situation, think in a more constructive way, take negative thoughts and reframe them more often into thoughts that are more constructive and more positive, and to recognize what I'm feeling and appropriately express those emotions but manage them so I'm not just overreacting emotionally, I can generally handle the stressors in my life better.
And so I just want us to recognize that. To keep that in mind. That's a primary stress manager. Now, we also want to be very intentional about keeping our life in balance, folks. Especially when you're going through really busy times or really stressful times. And the pandemic for many of us has continued to be a more stressful time than normal.
Let's keep our lives in balance, which means let's not work through lunch every day. Let's not spend every evening and every weekend day running errands for our family. Sure, we have to go to the grocery store and take the kids here or there if you've got children, but we also need to keep our lives in balance. We need to take breaks. We need to take lunch breaks during the day. A lot of people work too often throughout lunch or through lunch trying to get everything done.
And I recognize if you're on a deadline, you might have to do that once in a while. But don't make that a lifestyle. Let's please take your lunch breaks. That's how you recharge your batteries. Get your life in better balance.
And when you go home in the evening, or if you're working remotely still and you shut down your computer, don't go back to the computer at night. Keep it shut down and do something fun and relaxing in the evening to bring your stress level down and recharge your batteries. And make sure on the weekends you're regularly planning leisure activities to keep your life in balance. Folks, we can get through a lot of stress in our lives as long as we're keeping our lives in balance and making sure that we're attending to doing things that are relaxing and fun on a regular basis.
All right. Last thing I want to talk about in this area is pacing ourselves. And I'm going to bleed the one slide into the other one. So we all remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. It's funny. I was with my granddaughter yesterday, we were watching some videos, and the story of the tortoise and the hare came on.
And of course, I've heard that story probably 100 times in my life. But I thought it was great that she got a chance to see that. And now she's a little bit older. She's 4. And she's understanding and learning from that. But that reminded me again as I was watching that story-- it was an animated version of course-- it reminded me that a lot of times I get tempted to live like a hare. I get tempted to overcommit and rush too much through my days.
And when that happens, I tend to get exhausted. And over time I start to burn out. And so time management and planning our days effectively is a great way to pace ourselves. One of the best-- some of you might remember Zig Ziglar, the motivational speaker. One of the best seminars I've ever been to was Zig Ziglar's seminar on time management.
He talked about unfortunately, too many people overcommit every day and try to do too much. They overschedule themselves. They book too many meetings. Now, obviously, there's some meetings we can't say no to. But I've found that if I'm intentional about keeping the number of meetings down so I have time to do other things, it really helps my days not feel so overwhelming. And I don't feel as much in a rush.
And the other point is trying to get too much done on a day-to-day basis. Zig's point was the average person oftentimes tries to get like 10 to 15 things done in a day. And if you think about that, we're setting ourselves up for failure because who can possibly get that many things done day after day after day? And what happens when you cross one thing off your to do list? You add two more when you go to your email inbox.
So his point was have a more realistic, achievable list each day that you're trying to accomplish. So he was saying try no more than four to six things a day. And I started doing this a little over 20 years ago. And I do it to this day, and it really makes a difference.
And I've got that kind of a schedule today. I've got four things on my to do list today. And I've got the rest of the day today. I've already made progress on one of them. It's almost done. And the second one, I'm about halfway done on. So I will get all four of my objectives, my to-do list done today. And what Zig said is don't look at your to do list as something you have to do all in one day. Because he was saying that sets you up for being in a hurry, feeling overwhelmed.
And I realized that was me when I went to that seminar. Is that I was always trying to-- I was more of a volume guy than more of a quantity than a quality approach to work. And so I really learned to slow down a little bit, make more achievable plans, try to get four to six things done each day instead of trying to get 10 or 15 things done, which helps me to slow down. I don't feel as overwhelmed. I don't feel as rushed because I've got a more achievable number of things I'm trying to accomplish throughout the day.
And that also helps me to give myself permission to take a lunch break because I'm making good progress throughout the day. I used to-- up till about 15 years ago, I was working through lunch almost every day. I had got myself convinced to thinking that the only way I could get everything done was to keep working right through lunch.
And so part of that I was trying to get 10 or 15 or 20 things done in a day, and I just felt like I couldn't take a break because there just was too much to do and not enough hours in the day. But nowadays, because I plan more realistically, I find that I can typically get my four to six things done on a daily basis, which gives me the ability to pace myself throughout the day, not feel so rushed and overwhelmed, and take my lunch breaks.
All right. Last but not least, let's talk about increasing our resilience, and I'll open it up for questions. Now, here's a couple of additional things to think about to become more resilient-- now, folks, resilience, again, if we define resilience, it's our ability to deal with stress and pressure in our lives or to deal with adversity in our lives. Resilience can also be-- we can experience resilience by how much energy we have, how much motivation we have. And so again, that's an ability to deal with things, an ability to overcome obstacles, an ability to hang in there and endure through difficulties.
And so a lot of resilience happens in people by our health. By our self care. If you exercise regularly. I think most of us recognize those times you're exercising regularly, you'll tend to have more endurance and more and more energy. I absolutely have a lot more energy when I'm skating a lot. When I'm on the ice a lot.
When you're sleeping enough. When you're getting at least seven hours a night's sleep. That's what family physicians recommend. That adults get anywhere from seven to nine hours a night sleep. Unfortunately, about 70% of Americans nowadays are not getting even seven hours a night sleep. Sleep deprivation can keep us exhausted. Keep us really tired so we won't have as much resilience or energy to deal with the problems or stressors that confront us that next day.
Also, staying connected to a positive support system is an important part of being resilient. During the pandemic when so many of us have been working remotely, we've lost out on the ability to hang out with our buddies in the hallway, to have those little quick small talk interactions. There was a great article in Forbes magazine a while ago, early 2021. It was talking about small talk isn't small.
And what the author was maintaining is that small talk really bonds people together. And there's something that's energizing-- whether you're an introvert or an extrovert and your personality style, there's something energizing by having a quick conversation with someone you care about. I had a call with one of my colleagues today, and we were talking about the weekend and football.
And she's a Cowboys fan, and I'm a Buffalo Bills fan. And so both teams are doing well this year. And so it was funny. It was a 2-minute conversation, but it was energizing to me. I enjoyed visiting with her about something that was important to both of us. And it made me feel good. And you take energy from those interactions with people that you care about when you have those quick interactions.
So make sure even if you're still working remotely, you're at least virtually staying connected to those people that are important to you. I talked to one guy who on his to-do list, not only put down the tasks he had to do every day during the pandemic while he was working remotely, but he put down two or three people he was going to reach out to, just to stay bonded and stay connected and energized.
Then last but not least-- then I'll opened up for questions-- when you're living a life of meaning and purpose, you'll naturally feel more content, more energized, more motivated, and you'll have higher levels of life satisfaction. And every one of us has areas of giftedness. My adult daughter calls them our superpower.
And so you can probably tell, I love to teach. And I get energized to be able to teach like this. It's energizing to me. And there was a time when I wasn't doing a lot of this in my career. And I was doing a lot of things that were more task oriented, more administrative. And that doesn't make me feel like I'm making a difference. This does. When I'm doing this, I feel like I'm helping. And I really enjoy it. Hopefully, that comes across.
Now, every one of you on this call today has a superpower or two or three. Where some of you are very organized and keep the rest of us organized. Boy, I need you because that's not my strength. Others if you are great encourager, you're always lifting up people around you, you're always encouraging people and supporting them. Still others of you have really great technical skills.
So whatever your superpower is, Martin Luther King once said that it all comes down to what are we doing for others. And I've really come to believe that how much we're helping other people, how we're interacting with others, and the difference we're making in the lives of others, really does motivate us. It really does help us be more resilient, and give our life more meaning, and gives us the ability to hang in there and work through things what you're doing matters. And so let's make sure that you're focusing day to day on at least doing some of the things that you're really good at to help other people.
All right, folks, I we covered a lot in a very short period of time. I want to open it up for questions. So if you have any questions, you can utilize the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. We do have plenty of time for questions today. And now, of course, everyone that's on the call today-- and we have really had a great turnout today. Well over 100 people.
Everyone on the call today has Deer Oaks as their EAP provider. And so I do want to remind you all that if you or your family members or household members are ever going through burnout or dealing with really, really stressful circumstances, you have Deer Oaks as your EAP. And our counselors can provide a lot of resources for you or counseling support to help you work through those stressful things. And so in order to reach out to us, we're available by toll free number 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.
Now, every organization that we work with may have a different toll free number. And so if you need the toll free number for your organization to reach out to Deer Oaks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just reach out to your human resources department and ask for the Deer Oaks toll free number. They'll be happy to share it with you.
All right. Starting to get some questions, folks. This is great. Here's a really good one. If a direct report-- here's a good one by someone who I think is a supervisor. If a direct report is experiencing severe signs of burnout but refuses help, what can we do to continue to provide support? That's a great question.
Now, obviously, as someone's supervisor, we're not their counselor, but part of our role as a supervisor is to provide support or to steer people towards helpful resources. So sometimes if you can tell if someone's really struggling or if they confide in to tell you that they're really struggling, sometimes just gently pointing them towards the EAP as a resource can be really helpful. And especially if your position reaching out to Deer Oaks to their EAP as a confidential service.
Like to be able to say to someone who's confided in you that they're feeling really burned out, or really exhausted, or whatever, to be able to say, I appreciate you sharing that, and are you aware that we have here as employees of this organization a very helpful confidential resource called an employee assistance program provided by Deer Oaks? And they provide confidential counseling and other resources designed to help us work through difficult situations and better manage stress.
And do you want me to get you the toll free number for Deer Oaks and just let them know it's a confidential resource? And no one at the organization will know that they called or what they talk to us about. A lot of times as a supervisor, when you can gently point someone towards a helpful resource like that, that can help motivate someone to take that next step and reach out for help. Thank you for that.
I'm looking for other questions that might be helpful to a lot of different people. So again, folks, if you have any questions, please type your questions into the question box in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen. We still got time. Here's another question-- what's a good small talk resource?
Well, I like that article. If you do the Forbes magazine article-- I think it was February 2021-- is that Small Talk Isn't Small. I thought that was a helpful resource. It just reinforced for me the importance of small talk. But the other part about small talk I want to suggest is when you start a conversation with a colleague-- it doesn't matter whether you're a supervisor or just a coworker-- instead of getting right down to business, start with some small talk.
Ask them how their family is doing. Ask them-- and I'm not talking about prying into people's personal lives, but just demonstrate that you care about them as a person, like you would any other acquaintance that you're getting to know or a colleague that you've worked with for maybe a while and you just don't know that well or just haven't caught up with in a while. To be able to say, hey, how's your family doing? I know this has been a difficult time for everybody. How's your family been? Things going OK for your family?
Or if you know that they've got a particular interest or they've got a child that's doing a certain activity that they've confided in the past, to just remember to follow up with that person when you do see them. To ask about that. Like just today with my colleague. I mentioned we both from past experience that I'm a Bull's fan. She's a Cowboys fan. And so we were having a business call today. But before we got down to business, we visited for a minute or two about football. And it really re-bonded us a little bit before we got down to business.
So I think that to be intentional about small talk is to start with the small talk. With the social showing interest in the other person's life. Ask about any areas that they've shared with you in the past were of interest or that were important to them. That can keep us bonded together, and it can really help the relationship. Thank you for that good question.
I've got a few more questions coming in. We've got a little bit more time. Oh, here's a good question-- is that can you share the link to the upcoming seminars? Yeah, we have regular ongoing webinars and seminars that we provide on a regular basis. And if you need the schedule, there's a couple of different ways you can get the schedule-- the Deer Oaks webinars.
One is you can talk to your human resources team and say, hey, can you share any upcoming seminars or webinars that the Deer Oaks is providing? Another way would be to hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today. Our staff monitors that. So if you hit reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and just ask, could you please send me some information about other webinars and seminars that are available, we'd be happy to do that.
We have online at the Deer Oaks website. We literally have dozens and dozens and dozens of previous webinars that have been recorded that are there. And so it's a topical library. And you can ask for the link to the website again and we'd be more than happy.
If you hit Reply again to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and ask our staff to send you the link to our website and to be able to come on to the website and identify where the recordings are from the previous webinars, we'd be happy to point you in that direction. Thank you for that. Or you could also ask of course, if we could send you upcoming webinars that Deer Oaks is going to be providing. We can send you those links as well.
I'm looking for a couple more questions, folks. Here's another good question-- what do you recommend to someone working in an organization that rewards employees working to exhaustion? That's a really good question. And it's interesting what I found over the course of my career-- and I've been in the workforce now about 40 years-- is that most organizations value-- I mean, all organizations value productivity. Most organizations value hard work. But some cultures like you're mentioning seem to be all about just that everyone gives just 110% all the time.
And of course, when you're in an environment like that where the expectation is everyone's going 100 miles an hour all the time, it sometimes becomes hard to keep your life in balance. And those environments sometimes can create more of a risk for burnout just because of the pressure the individuals that are in that environment feel like to constantly be working through lunch or working late or those kinds of things. So I do believe that most individuals leading those organizations are not intentionally trying to get people to overwork. I truly believe that.
Certainly, all leaders of all organizations want productivity. Absolutely. That's part of organizational life. But some cultures just seem to lend themselves more to overwork. So the important thing is to recognize if you're in a culture where you feel like there's a lot of pressure to overwork, is to keep your life in balance in the midst of that. I've worked in cultures like that before, and I've been able to stay healthy by being productive but also keeping my life in balance.
And you do that by some of the tips we shared today-- taking your lunch break, shutting down at a reasonable hour at the end of the workday instead of always working long after the end of the day, not working too much on weekends, just making sure taking your lunch breaks, making sure you're keeping your life in balance, not over planning your days. So as we're keeping our life in balance, you can still be quite productive even in an environment that has high expectations for productivity.
You can still be productive, but do it in a more healthy way if you're intentional about keeping your life in balance and planning your day as well and managing your day well. Making sure, again, that you're intentional about balance. Taking time for yourself along the way. Thank you for that.
All right, folks. I think that's all the time we have for today. So I want to thank you for being with us. In closing, I just want to share that it is such a pleasure for us at Deer Oaks to be the Employee Assistance Program provider for all of your organizations, and I'm really glad that you're with us today.
We will in 2022 we will be publishing another pandemic support GoToWebinar series as we continue on in the pandemic. So be on the lookout for that. We'll be sending out an announcement here probably around December of the schedule of the topics for the 2022 pandemic support GoToWebinar series. And so we will be sending to your organizations those schedules and those links. Again, you can also ask for that information by hitting Reply to your GoToWebinar software and asking our staff to just send you a copy of future webinars as they're released, as they're scheduled. We'd be happy to.
And so again, thank you for being with us today. We appreciate the opportunity to serve your organizations and to serve you and your families by providing these EAP services and providing these webinars. And in closing, I just want to remind all of us as we continue on during these difficult times to stay safe and healthy. And I'm looking forward to being with you on another one of these educational programs in the near future.
Thank you everybody. Have a great rest of the day. Take care. Bye bye.