‘Creating a healthy work-life balance is damn difficult,’ explains Jean-Clause Chalmet, Founder and leading psychotherapist at The Place Retreat.
‘In our centre in Bali and in our clinic in London, we see lots of executive burnout. We help these people by primarily reconnecting them to themselves in order to establish a better, healthier work-life balance.’
Finding a balance between work and the rest of your life isn’t easy, especially when the world seems to constantly move forward and demand that you keep up. It’s challenging enough working 40 hours a week and finding time to cook, clean and rest.
For executives, then, who are often susceptible to longer working hours, burnout is rife. In fact, according to a study of senior managers and C-suite executives, 75 percent of respondents said their senior managers were burned out.
Jean-Claude explains the psychology behind this growing epidemic in this video: ‘If you cannot derive pleasure any more out of the ordinary things in life – be that from work or your family or your friends – and you wake up tired and sluggish and you feel you can’t perform or you don’t want to do anything but sleep at the weekend, something is happening that needs to change. You need help.’
A constant sprint to feeling ‘good enough’
‘A common trait that we see in Bali and London is that executives and mid-level managers feel that, whatever they do, it is not good enough,’ says Jean-Claude.
‘Executives feel that they cannot achieve their full potential, that they are disconnected from themselves, and that they’re devoid of any kind of nurturing that they need.’
To feel fulfilled in work and in life, we all need love, care and to be nurtured, both for and by ourselves, and by our community, too. It’s important for mental balance that we feel we’re moving forward at a steady, manageable pace.
The issue we face today is that – because of how much information we consume and because technology allows us to be ‘on’ all the time – a new expectation has been set. The standards have been raised, and we’re feeling overwhelmed trying to deliver this heightened expectation to others.
‘Executives who are burned out are so empty that even if love, care and nurturing was presented in front of them on a dish with a bow around it, they wouldn’t know what to do about it.’
‘Sometimes, the negative voice in our head can be so strong that there is no room for any other voice to be heard,’ Jean-Claude says. ‘That’s when people lose the pleasures of everyday life. They’re so consumed with the voice that tells them that they’re not good enough and that they should be doing better.
At this moment, there is simply no room to accept anything good. It’s at this point that people become like a hamster in a treadmill – they just keep running, and one day they collapse.’
Executive burnout: Only you can decide to do something about it
There is no two ways about it: Only you know whether you’re burned out or not, and only you can decide to do something about it.
‘I want you to know that there is a solution, there is a way forward, there is a way for you to get out of this,’ says Jean-Claude, ‘but you have to be willing to make that commitment to yourself, and you have to be willing to make the effort. My question to you is: Can you do that?’
Jean-Claude explains that a good work-life balance is ‘somewhere where we can enjoy the things in life, where we can enjoy going to work, and where we can feel like ourselves again.’ To reach this place, however, it requires us to connect through the self and for the self.
‘Executives are burned on the inside and on the outside of their lives, no matter what their achievements are. This is the sadness – that you are so far disconnected from yourself that you don’t even know what’s good for you anymore.’
‘So, it’s up to you,’ Jean-Claude declares. ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to do something for yourself? Are you willing to take care of yourself? Are you willing to ask for help from other people? Are you willing to be vulnerable for a moment in time to let someone else help you become stronger? This choice is yours, and yours alone.’
How The Place helps with Executive Burnout
‘It is a very simple equation. We’re all creatures of habit. The difference is that we must replace our bad habits with good habits.’
The first hurdle to overcoming executive burnout is accepting it.
Working too hard is no different to a substance addiction, and the approach to recovery is therefore similar. If you’re already asking yourself questions like ‘what do I do?’, ‘what can I do?’ and ‘how can you help me?’, you’re already halfway there. ‘This is the moment you realise you need help,’ explains Jean-Claude. ‘You’re on your way to recovery.’
The Place offers a way to reteach and relearn the good habits, and we work to eliminate the bad. If you’re up for this challenge, please contact us. We’d be very happy to help you.
We’ll finish with a wise reminder from Jean-Claude:
‘As much as you suffer, your family and those around you suffer too. Remember that.’