It had hit me.
Burnout. With a capital B.
Attending meetings had me in a sweat. I felt tired but wired at the same time. I struggled… really struggled with daily tasks. Giving my kids a bath left me feeling exhausted. I suffered insomnia. I started to feel anxious. It was a slow burner that I had been absolutely oblivious to.
What does Burnout really mean?
The World Health Organisation now describes burnout as “not a single event, but a process in which everyday stresses and anxieties gradually undermine one’s mental and physical health.” [i] The word “gradually” is key. The burnout process can take months, even years to build up. Typically people have no idea they’re heading for burnout. They don’t notice the warning signs.
The warning signs can vary from one person to another: weight loss, weight gain, hair loss, insomnia; easily annoyed with family and friends; frantically trying to keep on top of everything; a lack of energy or overdrive (nervous tension, anxiety); even a sensitivity to light and noise.
The world can be a tough place. Life can be highly stressful. Work can be hard. But we can also be extremely hard on ourselves. They say we have it so much easier than previous generations, but do we really? Are we perhaps the generation that actually suffers the most because we want it all and are led to believe that we can have it all?
It’s time to start talking openly about burnout. Talking about it is NOT a sign of weakness. On the contrary, talking about it is a sign of strength. Talking about it is the first step on a journey of recovery and self-discovery. My burnout was a massive wake-up call. It also led me to what I realise now was my true calling — to help people spot the warning signs and help them tune into their soul and their own needs before they hit rock bottom.
Let’s try to simplify our lives by making small changes using some easy techniques and tools.
Cara’s top three tips to prevent burnout:
Try to stop doing so much and just enjoy the simple things — a sunny day, colourful flowers, leaves fluttering down from the trees. Take a walk in nature; use your senses, look up at the sky, look around you, if you’re in an office look outside.
Go on try it! Share your experience in the comments below.
We all hold on to too much emotional baggage. Sadness, anxiety, and worry can wear us out more than we realise. It can also contribute to emotional burnout.
Try visualising you’re letting go of balloons with each one representing a problem that you want to release.
Take time out from technology
We need to drastically change our relationship with technology if we want to avoid burnout. Turn off all work-related technology at least two hours before you go to bed. Turn your phone off one hour before bed. Leave your phone at home and go for a gentle stroll. Turn it off at the weekends.
There’s so much more I’d love to share with you to help you avoid or recover from burnout. Get in touch with me to learn more. I’m only an email away: [email protected]
[i] World Health Organisation ICD-11 (due to be published in 2018)
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