Do you feel frustrated that when you are most looking forward to a well-earned rest away from work, your body and mind weaken and you get ill? You end up feeling uptight and sorry for yourself because you are missing out on the fun and connection you’ve promised yourself and your family for weeks!
If your body could talk what would it say?
When you burn the candle at both ends, by working and overthinking relentlessly, then trying to manage your stress artificially with alcohol, late nights, and an unhealthy diet high in sugars and fats, you are simply deadening your body’s plea to find balance in your nervous system. Sooner or later, something’s ‘gotta’ give! Burnout may be the result you didn’t see coming…When you start to relax, your body immediately rebels like a petulant child, shedding a ton load of cortisol stress symptoms; it is desperate and determined to get you back to balance somehow.
The difference between feeling ‘whacked out’ and ‘burnt out’ is that with burnout your mind can no longer process emotion. You will likely experience an odd numbness and lack enthusiasm and motivation for what you think you should feel excited about. It’s like your body and mind have slammed on the brake. Adrenal fatigue is a survival mechanism by your subconscious autonomic functioning and it is beyond your conscious control. Your body and mind simply cannot sustain the way they have been operating and you are now being forced to make a change in how you live your life!
When the idea of taking a break brings you out in hives
With burnout, it’s usual to feel frustrated because you feel depleted and listless. It’s as if suddenly you have nothing left to give. Not surprisingly each day can bring a sense of overwhelm in doing simple things. You may be forgetful, find it hard to focus and be easily irritated. Despite feeling exhausted it will make no sense that you can’t sleep. It can feel as if you are losing control of yourself. Physical and mental anxiety symptoms such as hives and other skin conditions, palpitations, migraines, colds and flu, digestive disorders, nightmares, constant worrying and over-analysing are often the result of the powerlessness you are experiencing.
A client recently summed up his confusion by admitting that it was like he just didn’t care about anything anymore. It made absolutely no sense. He simply didn’t get it… he had always been so fired up about achieving and being productive, as he jumped all too quickly from one unfinished project to the next. It’s scary not to recognise who you are anymore.
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7 Strategies to Overcome Burnout
1. Take an audit of your life
Re-set your priorities to what really matters. How much time do you spend doing things for other people or wasting time on stuff that doesn’t really impact? Remember when you say Yes to someone else who is demanding your time, you say No to you. Be aware of boundaries and learn to communicate your needs more effectively. Aim to focus on no more than three key specifics in your life, such as a particular work project, making quality time for relationships, and your health. Negotiate how you might park or delegate other demands for the time being.
2. Give yourself permission to go easy on yourself. (This is probably the hardest!)
Chunk down the steps you need to take in order to achieve what you have identified as most important right now, and give yourself permission only to focus on one step at a time. Give yourself extra time to achieve these things. Even if it seems alien to you, learn to give yourself permission to take as many breaks as you need when you start to feel overwhelmed. You will get back to it feeling calmer and more focused.
3. Be kind to yourself
Create a list for yourself of your favourite things to do which help you to de-stress and unwind. I want you to commit one hour every day to doing something that makes you feel good. Make it ok for you to go get a massage, start a new hobby, and generally invest in some self-care.
4. Start a bedtime wind-down routine
That way your mind gets used to gradually switching off from your day. Lower the lights, have a soak in the bath, get away from the blue light of technology, read a little and learn some relaxation techniques to create a healthy expectation of sleep.
5. Pay attention to your diet
We really are what we eat. Fuel your body with nourishing foods, cut back on processed sugary and fatty foods and avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.
6. Find the ‘feel good’ in your every day
When did you last laugh with your friends ‘til you cried or when did you feel really exhilarated outdoors in nature? When did you last lose yourself in your favourite music or feel pumped with exercise? Flooding your body with feel-good endorphins really helps to counterbalance cortisol levels and reduce stress.
7. Be patient!
You didn’t just wake up one day and feel burnt out, it has happened gradually. So it makes sense that your body needs nurturing over time to heal yourself back into balance.
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Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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