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How to Avoid Burnout with Dr. Kimbi Marenakos

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By Sofia Health Staff on August, 15 2023
How to Avoid Burnout with Kimbi Marenakos

In this episode of Sofia Unfiltered, Riley and Lauren speak with Dr. Kimbi Marenakos, a National Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Behavioral Health Specialist.

Kimbi's Path to Integrating Mental Health in Primary Care

Dr. Kimbi, one of four children of a psychologist and nurse midwife, initially resisted following her parents' career paths but later pursued psychology and nursing. As a psychotherapist, she recognized the significance of holistic care and pursued a doctorate to integrate mental health services into primary care. Kimbi aims to improve access to mental health care and advocates for recognizing the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit in healthcare. Sophia Health supports her holistic approach, focusing on treating the whole person.

Top 5 tips to prevent burnout

  1. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid overworking or taking on too many responsibilities. Make time for rest, relaxation, and activities that bring you joy.
  2. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies. Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial in preventing burnout.
  3. Manage Stress: Learn stress management techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga. Recognize early signs of stress and take proactive steps to manage it effectively.
  4. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a professional counselor if you feel overwhelmed. Talking about your feelings and challenges can provide valuable insights and emotional support.
  5. Align with Your Values: Regularly assess if your work and life align with your values and purpose. Make adjustments to ensure that your actions and decisions align with what matters most to you. Having a sense of purpose and meaning can help prevent burnout and keep you motivated.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout

Kimbi experienced burnout while working in healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite her passion for providing holistic care and integrating mental health services into primary care, the overwhelming workload and emotional exhaustion took a toll on her. She reached a breaking point when she couldn't give the level of compassion and care she had prepared for in her career. This wake-up call led her to step back, reassess her priorities, and eventually resign from her position. Kimbi embarked on a personal journey to better understand burnout, going beyond her previous expertise as a teacher on the subject. The experience became a profound turning point, prompting her to seek a deeper understanding of herself and the impact of burnout.

The Three Dimensions of Burnout

Kimbi shares her journey through burnout during the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasizes the three dimensions of burnout: depersonalization, exhaustion, and diminished sense of achievement. 

She reveals the antidotes to each dimension, starting with realigning with one's purpose and clarifying personal values. The second antidote is restoring passion by incorporating activities that energize and fuel one's sense of purpose. The third antidote involves reclaiming power and recognizing the unique skills and contributions brought to the profession. Kimbi stresses the importance of setting boundaries and updating one's operating system to insulate against burnout. 

She candidly shares her wake-up call and the profound impact burnout had on her career and well-being. The discussion resonates with many healthcare workers experiencing burnout and highlights the need for self-care and purpose alignment to overcome this occupational phenomenon.


Caregiver Burnout: Unmasking the Silent Crisis in Healthcare

Riley and Kimbi discuss the challenges faced by caregivers and healthcare workers during the pandemic. Healthcare employees are often the canaries in the coal mine, sacrificing their well-being for others. The alarming rates of psychiatric symptoms among healthcare workers highlight the need for support, but many are hesitant to seek help due to fear of showing weakness. There is an urgent need to prioritize the well-being of caregivers and promote a culture of support and compassion in the healthcare industry.


The Role of Health Coaches and Nutritionists in Preventing Burnout

Kimbi and Riley discuss how burnout is not just an occupational phenomenon but a cultural norm. In many industries, including healthcare, the expectation is to work long hours, sacrifice personal well-being, and pick up extra shifts. 

They also highlight the disconnect between mainstream medicine and wellness initiatives. The healthcare system often focuses on sick care rather than true healthcare, and medical training may inadvertently promote depersonalization, contributing to burnout among healthcare professionals. Integrating different practitioners, such as health coaches and nutritionists, could lead to more comprehensive care and support for patients.

Staying True to Your Values: A Path to Avoid Burnout

Kimbi and Lauren highlight the significance of individual actions and their ripple effect in combatting burnout and fostering a unified society. They stress the importance of embracing diversity while recognizing our shared humanity to create a greater force for good. Discovering one's purpose and passion through habit tracking and leaning into activities that align with personal values can lead to a more fulfilling life. 

Additionally, they emphasize the value of staying true to one's values, setting boundaries, and regularly reassessing career decisions to prevent burnout and maintain alignment with one's evolving values and priorities. Overall, by empowering individuals to make a positive impact in their own unique way, a flood of transformation can be created.

The Key to Combating Burnout

They discuss the importance of recognizing burnout as more than just physical exhaustion and the need for a prevention-focused approach. They highlight the signs of burnout, such as depersonalization, physical and emotional exhaustion, and a diminished sense of accomplishment. 

They emphasize the significance of self-awareness and accountability in addressing burnout and stress the value of working together as a team to support each other in life's challenges. The discussion also touches on the importance of reevaluating values, goals, and priorities to prevent burnout and the role of employers in providing resources and support for their employees' well-being.

The Importance of Human Connection

Dr. Kimbi emphasizes the importance of living with clear values and purpose, rather than treating life as a race to a distant finish line. She shares how being present and embracing happiness as a core value can lead to limitless possibilities and fulfillment. Dr. Kimbi highlights the significance of human connection, especially during times of isolation and challenges, and encourages individuals to check in with themselves daily to align with their passion, purpose, and power. By shifting the focus towards unity, embracing human connection, and staying present in the journey of life, we can experience genuine happiness and lead a more fulfilling existence.

More from Sofia Health

Check out the full episode of the Sofia Unfiltered podcast, "The Three Dimensions of Burnout Syndrome with Kimbi Marenakos", available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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