Stress, Burnout & Emotional Well-being: A GP shares her story | Dr Zama Ndlovu | 047

EQ practitioners Liz Cunningham and Candice Dick, chat to Dr Zama Ndlovu about EQ, self discovery, being relational and the type of prescriptions for burnout and overwhelm that cannot be collected from the pharmacy.

Zama’s story

GP, Dr Zama Ndlovu, reached burnout at the beginning of 2018 – mentally, emotionally and physically.  It took a comment from a patient about her poor bedside manner to shock her into looking at her own reflection.  She didn’t recognise who she’d become as she’d automatically shifted into survival mode, trying to juggle work/life stress.

Her body was fighting back with ulcers, insomnia and back pain; red flags which she ignored for too long.  Through therapies such as body talk and reflexology, She eventually made the connection between emotional stress and physical illness.  Zama started looking for a new approach to processing her emotions in order to learn more about them. This search lead her to EQ.

EQ is the plate (Episode 32): Zama has found EQ to be a great platform from which she can navigate through life by allowing her emotions to serve as her guidance system.

Upon reflection Zama realised her behaviour was abrupt, angry and littered with anxiety.  She can see now how her behaviour patterns were fuelled by an inability to be present in her daily doings. She was the human doing rather than the human being.  Not being able to acknowledge these emotions in the past meant that they had power over her.  Zama felt overwhelmed at the thought of trying to figure out her emotional state – like she was fighting the ghosts fabricated by her own fears.

Potential Early warning signs of burnout (red flags) that Zama experienced or has identified. 
  • Insomnia
  • Over-reacting to situations
  • Being  forgetful
  • Acne
  • Tight chest (nothing previous and currently have no infections) / Anxiety
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Hair loss
  • Cutting (people don’t talk about this) If people have to self-harm to get relief from the feelings you having.  You need to get help.
The benefits to living with Emotional Intelligence
  • Zama is now more mindful of her emotions and is able to work with them in a responsive, rather than reactive way.
  • Zama’s awareness of her own boundaries has enabled her to create space to recognise and process situations and emotions.
  • Zama has learned how to forgive herself for past mistakes regarding her overall health so that she can be comfortable in her own skin.
  • Zama is content with not always having all the answers to challenges that arise. She is able to remain in a head space that supports positive growth, through knowing that she is in touch with her emotional body, which she continues to explore each day.
  • Zama feels she is able to connect better to God, nature and her own intuition.


The Ripple now effects my business & others

This experience has motivated Zama to inspire people to have more empathy for themselves and others.  Building conversations around emotional awareness and self exploration has become the theme for Zama’s social media pages.  In her business, Zama practices empathy within her team which has lead to a more effective and balanced style of communication, where everyone feels empowered, heard and validated.


Key insights from stress, burnout and emotional well-being

  • Emotions are information and energy; our charge and life force.
  • We should allow emotions to rise up so that we can explore and validate them.
  • Emotional literacy should be at the forefront of self development.
  • We need to develop emotional awareness as a tool for preventing overwhelm and an inability to communicate with ourselves (which leaves us feeling isolated and non relational).
  • We give life to what we give energy to and we can choose which emotions we want to encourage, by doing the things that support these emotions.
  • The best therapy is that which empowers one to learn to process emotions and life on one’s own, rather than adopting coping mechanisms like alcohol, drugs, medication or other obsessive habits.


Episode 3 – Emotional Literacy: What are your emotions saying?

Link to the Emotion List (right click and push download)

Dr Zama’s instagram page:

Download the episode to listen to later (right click and push save)