Twice in 2 years suffering with burnout, wow!! Have you heard that saying keep doing the same thing you keep getting the same results? And yes that is what I was doing, doing the same thing and not learning.
What’s burnout you ask?
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive stress. In the counselling world I see it as compassion fatigue. My business has boomed and this has put enormous pressure on me. As the stress continued I was getting tireder and tireder, losing my mojo and illness was creeping in. To put icing on the cake my dear mum had a short illness this year so numerous visits to New Zealand and she passed away a couple of months ago.
Where am I today, in a very different place having put some huge changes into my business/personal life and given myself a stern talking too. The price is way too high when you put others before yourself, which is what I was doing. Working less days, charging more, working in hypnotherapy which is kinder on the therapist and having very strong boundaries around my work and life.
Below are some questions I’ve been asking myself now I’m on the other side of burnout
- What gives me joy and stillness in my life?
- What inspires me and gives me hope?
- What is it I am doing when I feel an inner calm?
- What gives me a sense of community?
- What do I value most in my life?
The answers to these questions will help me identify the most important people and experiences in my life. Spend more time with the people and experiences that define you as a person and bring fulfilment into your life.
Encouraging and Growing Spirituality Self-reflection is vital to grow and nurture spirituality. Stop being busy and allow yourself time to just be. Sit and listen to your breath, be totally present with yourself in that moment.
Activities that may be useful for you to grow your spirituality include:
- Prayer, meditation, yoga
- Writing your inner thoughts in a journal
- Keeping a dream journal and exploring the meaning of your dreams
- Spending time in nature, such as in the bush, the outback and the ocean
- Reading and listening to spiritual leaders
- Volunteering in your community
- Expanding yourself in art, poetry or music
Using Spirituality for Stress Relief Knowing you are not alone and that you can ask for support at any time is a life skill that embraces spirituality. It involves tapping into whatever resource or spiritual being is true for you. It may be God, a higher self, your soul, your lineage or heritage, Mother Nature, or something else. You may just prefer to see it as an anchor that you can use to pull you up when you’re feeling stressed.
You may find it useful to go to imagine you are in a place that is calming for you and make it a habit to go to the same place regularly. It may be a place in your home, a spot at the beach, or even a certain chair. Sit down, stop, connect with your breath and call up your resource in your mind. Visualise your resource with you as it brings you strength and helps you to feel grounded and centred is the art of focusing all of your attention in one area. Mastering the skill of meditation/mindfulness takes time and requires practice. The benefits include:
- Connecting to your feelings
- Slowing you down and creating space to just be
- Reducing stress, anxiety and depression
- Broadening your sense of self away from judgement and fear
- Creating space for calmness
- Connecting with your supportive inner resources
- Connecting with yourself and thereby removing feelings of loneliness and isolation
- A feeling of acceptance towards yourself
A few tips for meditating/mindfulness:
- Make it part of your day; a habit like brushing your teeth.
- Stretch first to loosen your muscles and allow yourself to be more comfortable.
- Understand that the art of focusing your attention on a single point is hard work and an active process.
- Join a group or listen to recorded meditations/mindfulness.
- Use a specific object, such as a candle, on which to focus during a meditation.
- Focus attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale. When your attention wanders, gently return to focus on your breathing.
- Say your own prayers or pre-written prayers that are meaningful for you.
- Try different positions – sitting or lying, opening or closing your eyes.
- Choose a room where you are comfortable.
- Place candles in the room to help you feel at ease.
- Ensure that you won’t be disturbed during the meditation.
- Know that you may feel frustrated at times. Meditation/mindfulness is what it is. Do the best you can at the time.
Burnout has a way of creeping in and its crucial to daily set aside time to reconnect with you and what’s important, YOU. If I had any words of wisdom from a burnout out rookie it would be “slow down you move to fast, you have to make the morning last and kicking down the cobble stones and feeling groovy”. I’m sure that is a song.