Are You Burning Out?
Posted by Adelaide
Are feeling overwhelmed, empty and exhausted both mentally and emotionally, working longer hours and getting nowhere?
I didn't realise I was on the road to burnout until it was too late. I had ignored my friends telling me I was burning out as well as the many signals my body had been giving me for some time. The migraines, the tiredness, the feeling that no matter how hard I worked it would never be enough, even though I had no idea what enough actually looked like!
Like so many others, I had been pushing myself too hard for too long, dealing with stressful situations and ignoring other areas of my life. I didn't realise that something was wrong until I kept collapsing on the floor of my apartment with exhaustion. Like the goose that lays the golden eggs. Everyone loves the big, shiny, valuable eggs but who cares about the goose, particularly if the goose does not care for themselves.
Signs to Watch Out For.
Typically burnout shows up as;
An increasing mental, emotional and/or physical exhaustion that sleep cannot relieve.
A drop in job performance or a declining interest in work or home.
Isolating yourself away from family and friends.
Some people may experience:-
Excessive tiredness coupled with an inability to relax and get a goodnight's sleep.
Constant worrying about work tasks when you’re not at work.
Decreased joy, appetite, zest for life and/or sex drive.
Increased self-criticism, pessimism and frustration.
Struggling to do the things you used to find easy underpinned with feelings of incompetency, anxiety and/or tearfulness.
Isolating yourself away from co-workers.
Feeling withdrawn and stuck.
Signs of chronic fatigue or ME.
Physical symptoms such as back pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or frozen shoulder.
People who burn out tend to be very achievement driven but can let what they contribute to the world either through their work or in their relationships define their identity. You can begin to treat yourself like a product whose sole worth is decided by what the outside world demands of you.
This continuous cycle of having to prove your self-worth through what you produce can add fuel to your own deep seated belief of never being good enough or the work you contibute not being perfect.
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We often over deliver and undervalue our own achievements, talents and abilities becoming blind to the fact that we have left our happiness, our joy, our light and our love for life behind. We can easily put our work, relationships and other people’s needs before our own need for love, connection, relaxation and peace.
Burnout is our psyche’s way of crying out to us to investigate, challenge and reject some of the deep seated beliefs that we hold ourselves accountable too. Beliefs which in reality no longer serve us in a positive way.
Burn out is difficult to go through but at its root I believe it can be a purging and a healing experience. Our burning out allows us to awaken to the more authentic version of ourselves that will emerge from the ash heap and just like the phoenix rises from the ashes, the you that will arise is always a bigger and greater expression of who you truly are at your core.
What Can You Do To Help?
1. Learn to relax. We often hold tension in our muscles so Yoga, meditation, getting a massage or simply unplugging the phone and computer and having some quiet time in the day can all help to release the built-up tension. What I love about Yoga and Meditation in particular is that they create a space for you to get out of your head (with all your fears and worries) and into your body where all that built up stressful energy can be gently released.
2. It’s important to put the balance back into your life through hobbies, spending time with family and friends or doing some self-fulfilling voluntary work.
3. Get enough sleep as fatigue with added stress and worry can significantly impede your ability to think and don't feel guilty if there are times when you need more than the average 8 hours of sleep.
4. Write a to-do list as it helps to get all those things you are worrying about out of your head and on to paper so that you can prioritize and move towards completing necessary tasks.
5. Confide in a friend about how you’re feeling but it’s important that it be someone that honours and cares for you unconditionally. Someone that can support you without judgement or belittling you.
6. Seek professional help through your GP, therapist and/or counsellor. I believe that once you are on the road to recovery from burnout then you can speak to a certified Life Coach about ways to move your life forward in a way that is more supportive for you.
7. In all honestly your burnout could be down to external pressures, so now is the time to figure out how the situation could be improved. If it's work related perhaps you could speak to your manager, HR or an Occupational Health Nurse about support but ultimately it could be time for you to move on to a job that is less stressful and more intrinsically fulfilling for you. If it is home related speak to your partner, family or close friends for added support.
A book that helped me through my burn out journey and one I would highly recommend reading is 'The Joy of Burnout' by Dr Dina Glouberman. Available from all good book stores.
I hope you have found these tips helpful.
If you are interested in creating a fulfilling life after burn out checkout my Coaching Program.