Have you ever found yourself in a position where you burnout and your body shuts down because you aren’t listening to what it is trying to tell you?
I have. Not fun. Really.
Maybe it is time to apologize for ignoring our bodies and say, “I will pay better attention from now on”.
When we are busy and overwhelmed it’s easy to ignore the burnout warning signs, to push through and say it’s all in my head. I’ll be fine if I just keep moving.
There are days when we gloss over the burnout symptoms that keep popping up, telling us that our body is not functioning as it should.
In a previous post I wrote about creating a personal maintenance plan, listening to your body must be a part of that plan.
For me, I call it, “when I crash”. There really is no other way to describe it.
My body and mind shut down and say, “If you are going to continue to ignore us, we’re going to do something drastic enough that you can’t ignore us any longer”. When that happens and I look back, I can see all the warning signs that I pushed back and ignored.
Here are some of my warning signs:
- My craving for sweet & salty skyrockets
- The ringing in my ears (Tinnitus) gets so loud it becomes distracting
- Insomnia at night from racing thoughts
- My running times and endurance level takes a nose dive
- My ADD-like tendencies kick into high gear
- In some bad cases, I have bouts of depression
These are just some of the things I have seen in myself. Usually not all at once, but in some combination depending on the severity. If I continue to ignore the signs too long, I get the, “I’m done fighting,” message and….
- I probably will get sick. A bad cold or just generally yucky head to toes
- My eyes are glassy and people ask me if I am feeling okay
- My eyes go “racoony” – red cheeks with white around the eyes (yeah it’s a great look!)
- Vice grip at the temples – not a headache but a lot of pressure
- I can’t stay awake during the day and I need a lot more sleep at night
- Moving to the couch to rest and watch a movie feels like a major undertaking.
It’s hard to fight your way through this when you have kids to take care of, laundry to do, a house to clean, a business to run, friends who need help, and parents needing assistance.
Who has time to stop and pay attention to the warning signs let alone get sick? And have you ever noticed it happens at the most inconvenient times?
So what’s a gal to do?
Well, if you are in “I’m done fighting” mode, there isn’t much you can do. You need to allow yourself time to rest and repair. Now, wait! I can hear you saying it, “I can’t!”
Don’t be mad, but I’m going to push back against your can’t and say yes, you can.
- It might be in 5-20 minutes chunks throughout the day. Times when you close your eyes and rest or even lay down. I have been known to lay down and set my alarm for 15 minutes. It actually does help and can get me through till the afternoon.
- Maybe you get to bed 1/2 hour early or stay in bed a bit later than usual the next morning.
- It might involve bribing, I mean asking someone to come over and help.
- Look at your exercise routine, is it too ambitious or strenuous? Maybe a different form of exercising or resting would be better right now.
- What about your diet? Have you cheated in some areas you shouldn’t? Are there ways to clean up your diet to help you through this time?
The most important thing is to give yourself grace, time, and patience. This is huge.
How do you prevent burnout from happening again?
1) Become Aware
Take note of symptoms or indications that occur when you are stressed out and exhausted. Do you get a rash? Does acne become a problem, are your cravings increasing? Each person will have their own list, become aware of yours.
2) Schedule Regular Breaks
- Take 5 minutes to breathe deep and just be.
- Do you need to say no more than you say yes over the next few weeks?
- Do you need to talk to someone because you are holding things inside and it is causing problems?
- Journal it! Write it out, get out how you are feeling, record your warning signs, what you missed and what you ignored.
- Get away for the weekend, how about a Mommy Sabbatical?
- Go sit on the front porch with a book and a tall glass of water or iced tea.
3) Get Support
We all have moments when it is all too much. At times like this it is easy to feel like a failure, that you are letting your family, your clients, and even yourself down. You’re not! In today’s society we are told to go-go-go. While our body and mind is screaming slow down.
I think it’s time to listen.
What can you do today to be more aware of what your body is trying to tell you?