Alarming statistics on burnout in the workplace has organisations questioning their approach to wellness and how to better support their employees in the post pandemic work world. Employees of all ages and managerial levels are experiencing the impact of stress, fatigue, and mental health challenges to a greater extent than before Covid.
How can Breathwork Africa support you and your team?
Most wellness programmes focus on supporting fitness, diet, and life skills, but very few include breathing, and yet it is the missing link which connects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. Learning the skill of conscious breathing provides individuals and organisations with a lifelong tool to be accessed anytime and anywhere for improved mental and physical wellbeing.
Our workshops are relevant for corporates, community organisations, training facilities, SMMEs and special interest groups and are curated to the needs of the organisation or group.
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Burnout has reached its own pandemic proportions, so much so that the World Health Organisation included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases for the first time in January 2022. It described burnout as “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
Looking at some employee burnout statistics, it is easy to see why managing burnout in the workplace is becoming increasingly urgent while being a major challenge for organisations at the same. This is having a ripple effect on creativity, exhaustion, innovation, and family life.
Managers are just as likely, if not slightly more so, to suffer frequent or constant burnout than individual contributors.
Sadly, organisations are floundering in how to support their employees in understanding burnout, preventing it, and recovering from it. A staggering 56% of employees say that their Human Resources Departments discouraged conversations about burnout and over a third said their organisation was not doing anything to help with employee burnout.
So why is the simplest, most accessible tool for recovery from burnout not included in wellness programs? Something that builds resilience, enhances creativity and productivity, serves as a social cohesion support mechanism, and serves both mental and physical wellbeing; a tangible, measurable technology that tones the nervous system to withstand the pressures of modern life. Conscious breathing has often been viewed as unscientific, lacking in medical backing, and even esoteric.
Scientific research is now showing the immediate and long-term effect of conscious breathing on the brain-body connection as well as the intimate role it plays in regulating the nervous system and psychological states.
Conscious breathing promotes autonomic changes increasing Heart Rate Variability - a measure of physical and mental resilience. Anatomically, fMRI studies highlight increased activity in cortical and subcortical structures. This impacts psychological and behavioural changes including increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigour and alertness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
What about the Neuroscience?
Studies in the field of neuroscience and breathing are compelling, illuminating the breath's role as an agent of transformational change through neuroplasticity, and identifying the various neurological pathways involved in breathing.
The central. vagal, olfactory, optic, and descending pathways have been recognised to be activated by specific breathing practices. For example, the ‘Humming Bee Breath’, has been shown to boost the production of nitric oxide in the paranasal sinuses fifteen-fold while at the same time stimulating the Vagus nerve complex in many ways including through the ocular-cardiac reflex.
Other practices such as alternate nostril breathing that focus on long breaths through the nostrils, stimulates the locus coeruleus to release noradrenaline, increasing attention and focus.