I have a client who is dealing with a bad boss. Her boss gets hysterical over inconsequential things, doesn’t plan well or communicate with the staff and is putting the organization at risk.

Her life is spent putting out fires while his is spent lighting them.

Although she has bravely spoken up and alerted the people above him, this will take a while. It’s mostly because he has been there a very long time and the accountability, which never existed, has to be implemented. Everyone is looking to her to lead them out of this quagmire and she felt ill equipped at first.

Not easily or quickly solved when it’s a top person who knows where all the bodies are buried for the last 2 decades.

Besides other symptoms, my client started experiencing trouble remembering things. She has always had a phenomenal memory. Her boyfriend insisted she go to the doctor for a checkup since its been years that she took the time. (Good boyfriend!)

After several medical tests, she announced to me she’s fine. Her doctor thinks it’s “just stress”.

I hear this TOO OFTEN from my clients and other people who are procrastinating taking care of themselves.

“Just stress?” That’s like saying, don’t worry, its just your brain experiencing more strain than is healthy for it.

I love all my clients and worry about them!

So now I must rant a little!

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? No really?

Let’s be clear : too much stress over a prolonged period of time is a very bad thing. Chronic stress leads to a burnout.

[Tweet “To put that in perspective, let’s call a burnout: a heart attack for the brain”]

I don’t mean to stress you, I’m just trying to get your attention. Its important.

Once a person experiences a burnout, the brain has a new, permanent fragility. There’s no turning back. Prevention is absolutely the only appropriate response when things start to show strain.

Smart cookie

When I pointed it out to her that she had said that, she easily recognized that she had been minimizing this serious red flag.

Despite being under difficult circumstances, she’s going to be fine because she’s super smart and committed to self-improvement. She proved it to herself when she reached out to me to figure out how to feel more in control.

While working with her, I’m really proud of the way she is stepping into her power by challenging old beliefs and comfort zones.

But the way she casually minimized the symptoms is all too common. (Hell, I’ve done that too!) After all, drawing attention to ourselves is uncomfortable for many of us.

Are you doing that?

If you think “this is just stress” and minimize your symptoms of weight gain/loss, poor quality sleep, forgetfulness, compromised decision making ability… (the list is very long), take it from a former crisis interventionist and mental health worker. Sticking your head in the sand is like ignoring that your car is making weird noises. When the red engine light comes on, adding a liter/ quart of oil is no longer going to cut it.

Prevention as soon as possible is key.

ASAP means TODAY. Not telling yourself “after this is over, I’ll have time to take better care of myself”.

[Tweet “Procrastinating self-care is burnout’s sneaky ally!”]

Practicing brain health in toxic environments means creating change in the environment or leaving it. If you decide to stay, then taking your power back is imperative to protecting your health while you remain.

So that means:

  • better boundaries with the people who drive you crazy,
  • involving people and helpful allies who can help you
  • and refusing to let work become more important than your brain health and well being.

(If the toxic environment is a relationship; same rules apply. )

Remember, you deserve respect and appreciation for your dedication and contributions. You can’t be on call 24/7. That’s called slavery (or caregiving and you are not your boss’ or client’s caregiver!!).

You need – you DESERVE – recovery time. 

If you’re not getting real time off, or find it hard to recuperate when you’re not at work, maybe its time to do something about that?

It’s time to draw attention to yourself and to be your own best advocate. Find allies and resources before the engine light goes on. It’s not anybody else’s job to put yourself first and you will be modeling the importance of health!

Gasp, wheeze… rant over. 

Be kind and generous with yourself. You are totally worth it and an awesome person!

PS, If this resonated with you and you’d like to talk about some private services too, just click on the scheduler and let’s see if we’re a fit.


Monique Caissie x150Monique works with organizations who want to reduce conflict to create a culture of collaboration, engagement and productivity. The most successful leaders are not infallible when faced with someone who “drives them crazy!” Her strategies to empower people to better understand each other and have better outcomes, while having fun, are appreciated by all who meet her. She draws from 30 years of crisis intervention and mental health work, she is a Level II Accredited Trainer for DISC as a Human Behavior Consultant and a Certified NLP Professional Coach. She loves meeting people and getting to know them and their industry. So feel free to reach out.

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