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Burnout 101; A Discussion with Sumana Jeddy, MPH & CEO of Jeddy Wellness

Sumana Jeddy, MPH is the CEO of Jeddy wellness. Sumana started focusing on wellness after a ten-year career in healthcare. Sumana originally went into microbiology, fell in love with genetics, the microbiology of viruses, and bacteria. She had planned to go into a career as a virologist or a microbiologist. A self-proclaimed people person, she loved science but felt the lab work became very isolating. After working many years in a lab and publishing various research papers, she decided to move into public health. Sumana received her master's in public health focusing on the disease side of the world but not wanting to stay in the lab.

Sumana began an office career in research managing a team of Analysts. She found out through personal experience that burnout is a silent killer. Sumana was in a new profession, she was eager to learn and often worked long hours to ensure the team met their deadlines. Sumana felt the team pressure and felt she needed to do more, needed to go the extra mile, always pushing herself to her limits. She had no idea the stress she was putting her body through, and then boom, she hit a brick wall. Discussions with her manager left Sumana feeling a lack of support from the department and there were no protocols to support the wellness of managers.

Sumana noticed a pattern of high performers, the most talented team members leaving the workforce. She decided to start Jeddy Wellness and use her skills to assist small to mid-sized healthcare companies by providing wellness support to their employees. Executives started to realize there's a systemic problem and they wanted to alleviate employee burnout. The strongest asset the company has is its team and allowing employees to burn out and suffer hurts the bottom line. If the employees can't function who's going to do the work? Eventually, all the goals of the organization are not going to be met. Burnout is a lose/ lose for both the company and the employees. Companies want a win/ win, so let's start by taking care of the employees. They're the backbone of the organization. Once an employee hits that brick wall, recovery takes time, sometimes years. The exhaustion can sometimes become chronic. Sumana found the side effects of her burnout continued for about 13 months after the event.

Post pandemic the discussions in healthcare, education, legal professional, even entrepreneurs are starting to talk more about wellness and mental health. Searching the word burnout in Google and it is skyrocketing in the past few years in Google Trends. It's because we are bringing this concept to front and center with our leaders and saying, “Hey, burnout is happening.” There needs to be a dialogue, and employees need to feel heard. Companies need to provide resources for employees to prioritize wellness. The shift in this mindset is happening slowly. Wellness is everywhere, maybe the one good thing to pull from the pandemic is the future of work will include wellness.

See a doctor immediately if experiencing severe symptoms such as panic attacks, insomnia, brain fog, and memory loss. Those symptoms are not going to just disappear. Sumana shares a story of visiting her physician with a list of symptoms. He said Sumana needed to take some time off. She thought, “No… I can't take time off. I have too many responsibilities.” Sumana was not aware at the time, but burnout causes long-lasting damage to the body. Damage that eventually when left untreated, cannot be undone. It’s important to talk to your doctor and set up a plan. Keep track of your symptoms in a journal and share them with your physician. Make wellness a priority. Don't wait until you're in the red zone, listen to your body's warning signs and get treatment before you get to crisis mode.

Sumana’s book recommendation is, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

Book by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagos

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