Hi guys! Happy Monday. I want to thank you for joining me on this blogging journey! I am so appreciative because the topics that I am talking about are near and dear to my heart and are sometimes hard for me to share. This blog is a passion project to process and share my own journey with burnout and depression while hopefully creating space for people who might feel like they are alone. So thank you again!
Just as a forewarning, some of the topics below include my own experiences and can be triggering for some people. So if you are not sure if you want to read that is A OK! Everyone heals at their own pace. You can always skip ahead to the 5 tips if you need to.
When it comes to the topic of burnout, I think it is such a complex topic as there are so many things that can contribute to the root of the problem. It is so prevalent, but often so misunderstood because it presents so differently between individuals. Often times we don't even realize we are dealing with burnout or that we may be practicing unhealthy coping habits.
What is burnout exactly? The term "burnout" was created in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger who states it is "a state of mental and physical exhaustion" usually due to prolonged exposure to chronic stress. It is characterized by the following symptoms, many of which I am drawing from personal experience that led me to do more reading and research during my own journey dealing with burnout.
Exhaustion - feeling physically and emotionally drained no matter how much sleep you are getting
Physical symptoms of chronic stress - headaches, sleeping changes (insomnia or sleeping more than usual), stomachaches
Isolation - may stop confiding in friends/family/co-workers. May tend to stop going to outings and feel overwhelmed in groups because social life starts to feel like a burden rather than something to enjoy
Irritability - I know for me this was a huge issue. I had a hard time coping with stressors of everyday life and often tended to catastrophize and find everything, including normal daily routine, overwhelming and insurmountable
Frequent Bouts of Depression and Anxiety - they often say this is one of the last manifestation of symptoms (referencing from my therapy sessions) and an indicator of chronic stress and burnout. I was in denial up until the moments that I felt like continuing to live life was pointless and hopeless
Changes in Eating Habits - eating habits are definitely a physical manifestation of coping mechanisms for emotional battles that we may be facing. For me it is overeating. When I am stressed or feel empty/alone I tend to turn to food both consciously and unconsciously.. I know it's a bit ironic with me having a cookie business. but this is part of my healing journey and I've found since I am now digging deep inward, I have been able to curb my cravings. I hope that I can help people heal emotionally so that we can learn to have better relationships with food. (more to come on this later!)
All in all, no one is immune to burnout. We all live in a very fast paced society with stress being a major chronic issue! During my journey so far (I am nowhere near perfect FYI, I have my moments...) I have found the 5 practices have helped me combat my own struggles.
Recognize - recognize when you might be having signs of high stress levels and also possibly some or all of the symptoms I mentioned above. I am sure this is not an all inclusive list, but it is a great start to look for signs!
Find time for yourself - "Me Time" is so important and our perspectives on this are now finally starting to move in the right direction as you can tell from all of the self-help books, podcasts, instagram pages, etc talking about this topic. Schedule a minimum of 10 minutes for yourself where you do what you love! For me it was baking and cookies!
Set Boundaries - This is a very very tough habit to create. This is something I have been working on as saying no is not always easy for me. I used to be so worried how me saying no would be perceived by others and often times me worrying about this came at the price of my own wellbeing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book "Set Boundaries, Find Peace" by Nedra Glover Tawwab. She also has an amazing instagram feed that gives you tips and affirmations that it is okay to say no and set boundaries. Since I have started practicing more boundaries in my own life I have found so much more happiness and peace as well as better relationships because I no longer am having feelings of anxiety and animosity in those relationships.
Set a Schedule (that includes time for yourself) - I have been getting in the practice of scheduling out my day and setting timers! I use an hourly schedule I bought off of Etsy from the Mindful Hustle Lab in which I write down the meetings and events I already have planned for that day and schedule everything else around that. It has helped me stay focused but also has minimized the overwhelm with feeling like there is not enough time in the day as it helps me to set realistic goals for myself.
Exercise - I can't emphasize how important movement is. It really does help with our mood, concentration and energy levels. Even if it is just a walk around the block, get moving!
I truly hope some of these tips help. I look forward to continuing working towards changing the script to redefine success to include mind, body and spirit. Feel free to leave me a comment or share this with someone you know who might benefit!
Have a great week and I'll talk to you next Monday :)