and why I decided to write a whole podcast chat about it!
I have seen a new kind of burnout. It doesn’t just come from working 100 hour weeks or pushing ourselves hard.
From personal experience and working with clients, there are several ways it can happen:
You go through a prolonged situation of low level anxiety (like a pandemic!)
You are investing a lot of energy in something
You don't feel in control
You aren't looking after yourself physically
You feel overwhelmed - emotionally as well as physically
How can we tell if we’re on the path to burnout?
Sharing experiences is a great way as we realise this isn’t just me or you, it’s bigger than us. We’re in a collective state of mental stress and we need to talk openly.
What lessons have we learnt?
- Learning to cope with change. There are still things out of our control, but we are learning to cope with them better.
- Learning to prepare ourselves for the long haul and create resilience.
- Learning to cope with uncertainty. By doing that we have learnt to cope with the energy changes that come with it.
As we go through the highs and lows of energy as a reaction to what is happening, we are learning to manage our energy.
With our bodies physically unable to keep up with everything, mentally we may have taken on the strain and the worry.
The stress that we have all been under can have huge effects on the body. We have all had to ‘just keep going’ and many of us see this as a way of coping with everything. This type of stress is manageable for a short period, but not if we stay in this state for long periods of time.
I first experienced burnout 4 year ago. It was down to my workload and the intense pressure I was taking on. I didn’t know how to say ‘no’ and I didn’t have the tools to manage my energy. I did yoga and meditation sporadically but it wasn't part of my daily life.
6 months after this intense period of stress, I went away. I crashed as soon as I got there. My body couldn’t support me anymore.
I spent time understanding myself, the brain and studying yoga and meditation. I travelled around the world, to countries where wellbeing is considered a way of life. The weather certainly helped, good food and good lifestyle balance. This all impacts our mindset. This lifestyle of wellbeing wasn’t a luxury, it was completely ingrained in their lifestyle.
I came back and put what I knew into the corporate world. You cannot just switch off and go to the beach, you have to learn to work with the stress and find your small pockets of calm.
I burnt out again last year, but for very different reasons. I placed too much pressure on myself as a mother and a business owner. And I was in a low level of constant worry.
This time, I knew what I needed to do but I didn’t know how to apply it to my new life: I was a mother and I was in lockdown with a baby.
I wasn't making space in the day for the things that I needed and I wasn’t thinking about my mental or physical energy.
What do you really need to cope with your day to day?
Not from trying to do it all. There may be different ways, but if you are trying to do it all and not working with the energy that you have, you will burn out.
How do you find true balance?
If you're reading this and it resonates here are some tips to help you.
How is your energy?
My biggest sign that I was burning out came when I found I had the motivation and desire, but I couldn’t see HOW I had to do it. I was completely out of energy.
What do you need to manage your energy daily? How can you protect it?
Too many late nights and too much intense work builds exhaustion for me. It is about managing daily pockets of energy so that we are not exhausted.
I needed to step back and stop trying. Stop trying to keep going. I am not suggesting that you stop for weeks, but that you take a step back for an hour, an afternoon, a day.
When you take a step back and reassess you can:
Know what really matters and where you are now.
Recognise your stress triggers (what makes you feel stressed) and signatures (how you react)
Start to understand what areas of your well-being to focus on
Really see that there is no point on striving for goals, if we aren’t feeling ‘well’
Find your focus
What is your focus and what small actions can you make that can support that?
Remember that small actions have a big impact.
I cover all this and more in my podcast episode on burnout - you can listen to it here
You can also find out more about how I can support you with feelings of overwhelm, burnout and anxiety through my 121 work - I support you on your journey from burn out to balance in 12 weeks to create the life you dream of of working and living with passion. Read more about my services here
Image credit www.StillsByHernan.com