The timing of re-integration and restarting/building up work after burnout is a very delicate balancing act that requires a professional approach to prevent future relapses.
Prescribing at least 4 weeks of work disability by the doctor at the start is a good technique to take the psychological pressure off the employee.
- Not taking off that pressure can delay healing.
- Timing is very crucial
- Too late reactivation can lead to chronicity of the "impassivity" and passivity
- Too early reactivation, increases stress, and consequently inflammatory reactions on the nervous system with also risk of making the problem more chronic, with more frequent relapses as an additional risk.
- The timing should be phased with "micro-testing" to "measure" the transition to the next stage to avoid running too fast.
Practical approach to work-related burnout
Mostly at least 2 to 3 weeks of true resting vacation, ideally even in vacation settings away from both work and home stimuli, depending on logistical, family and financial options.
After, when person feels rested, and brooding, exhaustion, or overdrive extinguishes, then as soon as possible "optitrate" micro-reactivation experiments to below the load limit (any minimal symptom) . This is ideally done in consultation with an expert or experienced physician to monitor that you are
- progressively re-activate, but
- always remain below the (over-)excitation threshold
An example of mini-experiments that can help your employee during this process:
- E.g. test whether you can afford to read the newspaper for 5 minutes, or a book for 10 minutes, ...
- E.g. after 30 minutes of daily reading
- After, e.g., reading a professionally related article for 30 minutes every day (without all the concrete stimuli from the workplace)
- After that, in micro-experiments, increase the test load, ideally during sick leave because some burnout people want to fly in too fast and usually too massive, causing them to relapse.
- This correct assessment does require some experience from a burnout-specialized physician or a professional burnout counseling program online