Burnout - What is it and how do we deal with it?
I remember it well.
My burnout came when I had been at home with my son for 4 years and dedicated my time to my family. I was fitting in bits of self-care here and there but as an HSP (highly sensitive person) I needed alone time. I remember feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I felt suffocated, trapped, stressed and desperate to just be able to decompress. Difficult when you are home with a little one who didn't sleep properly and was on the go constantly!
When you're the stay at home parent, full-time, you have a mixture of wanting to do the best for your family as it is essentially your job but equally wanting to escape the grind of day to day life.
Burnout, by definition, is physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. A type of exhaustion that affects not only our body but our mind and soul too and evolves from continued stress and not enough recovery time. It occurs when demands in our lives outweigh what resources we have to cope with. An unbalanced work/life balance is a classic cause of burnout. But equally, when we don't have enough self-care/life balance, burnout can happen too. We need the downtime in our day, regardless of how we spend it.
The most common signs of burnout are:
Low immune system
It can also cause you to withdraw and start negative thought patterns. It's important to be able to identify and deal with burnout as it can lead to depression.
So, most importantly, how can we recover from this and try to avoid it happening in the future. It is crucial that you identify stress within yourself as prolonged stress can lead to burnout.
Where does it start?
What triggers it?
Where do you feel it in your body and how does it feel? For me personally, I feel it in my head.... it starts to get cloudy and foggy and I get irrationally irritable! As soon as this starts to happen, I know its time to step back and self-care.
I'm a huge advocate for self-care and getting outdoors, its what I make a priority every day because if I can't be good in myself, my family suffers too.
So, My top tips for burnout!
Reach Out - Talk to your family and friends about how you are feeling and explore what's causing your stress.
Learn to say NO! - It can take a lot to say no, believe me I know! However, being assertive and putting your needs first is important for your wellbeing. Especially if you have lots to do already, taking on more will add to your stress.
Prioritize self-care - Make time in your diary for self-care. Whatever things make you feel nourished and calm is self-care. A hot bath, reading a book, a meal out, these are just a few examples of self-care.
Re-Evaluate your priorities - There are only 24 hrs in one day. What are the most important things you need to do in your day (Including your self-care) are you setting your expectations of yourself too high?
Eat healthily and exercise - Going for a walk, yoga, having a run, move your body! Particularly if you are sat at a desk every day. But remember a healthy balance. Hitting the gym hard continuously is not good for your body, you need regular rest days so your muscles can repair and you minimise injury.
Be kind to yourself - Give yourself time and flexibility, you are human!
I went for my first Reiki treatment at the peak of my burnout. I can't describe the relief I felt! This led me on to learn Reiki for myself. This was also when started to realise how important self-care was and to start to prioritise what I needed to get through the day.