The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 14: Stress & Burnout with Shomi Williams

Welcome Shomi Williams to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Shomi discuss beauty standards and burnout, what causes it, and what we can do about it. Shomi touches on how these issues uniquely impact the BIPOC community and how we can help.

Find Shomi: 

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Stacy discovered Shomi from one of those Instagram accounts that finds other people’s content and re-shares it. She was immediately drawn Shomi’s platform.
  • One of the topics that brought Shomi to Stacy was the idea of burnout and how that manifests, both physically and emotionally. Whether we are experiencing burnout or if it’s just to be more aware and compassionate to those around us, collectively, our culture post-pandemic is hitting a wall. Stacy is excited to dive in more about what this looks like and what we can do for ourselves and other members of marginalized communities, too.
  • “Lafiya” loosely translates to overall vitality and wellbeing. It was something that Stacy really resonated and connected with. It’s also inclusive of Languages that originate in west Africa and are commonly spoken in Nigeria. 
  • Shomi established Lafiya Health with the intent to talk about issues that have an effect on physical and mental health within black communities and issues that disproportionately impact people of all colors. She specifically focuses on African and Caribbean ancestry, genetically and systematically, and how it disproportionately impacts people of color. What we as a community can do as allies or for ourselves.
  • Shomi also received a nomination for Inside and Out Wellbeing Community Organizer of the Year for 2022.

Beauty Standards and Burnout

  • We can’t do this by ourselves. It must be collected and community because you can’t exist in a vacuum. You can take all the breaks and do all the self-care, but if when you go outside, your boss treats you horribly and the customers that you work with are nasty, and nobody helps you with childcare, then what efforts are your self-care actually going go towards?
  • How we see certain roles in a community affects the culture and the health of certain individuals. It’s definitely worthwhile, seeing it as bigger than yourself.
  • What tends to happen with human beings is that when we do things, we feel a sense of accomplishment, providing more motivation. But with burnout, that IR regulates that cycle where we don’t get that accomplishment. We just feel a sense of dread all the time we can’t fill.
  • BIPOC educators leave the workforce at a rate 25% higher than their White colleagues. Relatedly, researchers find that race-based and gender-based discrimination impact job burnout. Women of color experience marginalization across multiple identities. Another 2021 study examined how race-based stressors, both in daily life and work environments, are associated with job burnout. Specifically, when BIPOC women perceive their environment to be less open to discussing racial conflict, they report greater job burnout. Although there were no differences in the amount of burnout reported across racial groups, there were differences in the levels of daily racial microaggressions experienced [source].

Topics discussed

  • Burnout is a stress-induced work-related syndrome. It is associated with a higher incidence of infections, possibly pointing to a compromised immune system. Putting links to studies in the show notes – the first from 2006 is one where increased production of the antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10 was increased in individuals with burnout syndrome, which is how our body limits our immune response to pathogens, thereby preventing damage to the host and maintaining normal tissue homeostasis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17079708/
  • So, we can therefore deduce that burnout is causing an increase in inflammatory cytokines, which proliferate immune cells and cause us to be more susceptible to immune responses – whether that’s autoimmune or a virus. The antecede of being stressed and your body telling you to slow down by getting sick is 100% legit science! Source 1: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17079708/
  • A recent 2021 study, in short, established that timely psychological and behavioral interventions can reduce the degree of job burnout and regulate their immunity, thus enabling them to better serve – especially when seen in healthcare, education, and jobs of community service. Source 2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106256/ 
  • Additionally, knowing that discrimination negatively affects overall wellness, education on how to combat that (Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jmcd.12207 )
  • Infographic: https://adaa.org/sites/default/files/Burnout%20in%20BIPOC%20Communitites%20Infographic%20Final.pdf
  • Additional Symptoms
    • Poor Focus – it’s harder to concentrate on things like watching TV, reading, and conversations.
    • Low Motivation – you struggle to complete the tasks you set out to do
    • Disrupted Sleep – when you have work the following day, it’s harder to get a good night’s sleep
    • Self-Doubt – you take longer to do your work, ask for reassurance more and find criticism more triggering.
    • Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CP51DmVLUP6/ 

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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