I am going to be honest, the last week I have crashed and burnt and in the depths of burnout. Working from home can be difficult to create that separation from work and relaxation and when you live in stages of lockdown, with nothing else to do it is easy to keep pushing yourself to be working even when you know you should be resting.
We often get little nudges, as Kerwin Rae calls them, feathers, bricks and trucks. You will get a few feathers, little tickles of signs to tell you that you need to pay attention to something, slow down a little bit. If you ignore those it will get a little bigger and you will get a brick, a bit of a knock on the head to try and wake you up to listening to yourself. If you ignore that, you will get a truck. Something to completely stop you in your tracks and shouting at you to stop and pay attention.
Depending on your stage of burnout, it is either a brick or a truck. Sometimes, it is easy to ignore things telling you to slow down and take some time for you. It can feel like you aren’t doing enough, it can feel like if you just push yourself that little bit more you will finally be able to rest. But in reality, there will always be something else to do, so it is about finding the balance.
Unless you are finding those moments along the way to stop and celebrate and rest and allow yourself some freedom to just live in your joy, you will hit a wall. We can all get so busy sometimes, everyone is trying to accomplish something. It easily becomes common practise to ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us.
Over the last month I easily heard to call to slow down, to take a break, to rest up. But I had decided that this would not be an option right now and continued to push. We can all do this to ourselves sometimes because we are so determined to get things done that taking care of ourselves, mentally, physically, emotionally, becomes a second option not a priority.
One of the first things I learnt when starting coaching was that we often put taking care of ourselves last to the point where you deplete yourself so much that taking care of yourself is the only option you have left to try and pick yourself back up. If you do not make the time to nurture your health, you will be forced to take the time to recover from illness.
Now this isn’t to say that I haven’t been implementing my wellness coaching skills on myself and doing what I thought I needed to taking care of my health, but I would do what would take care of my physical health and ignore what I needed to take care of my emotional health because it seemed in the moment unnecessary. Side note, it is always necessary.
Taking that time to relax, taking that time to let your mind be free. Stepping away from the constant exposure to screens. Stepping away from that constant need to be connected and available to be contacted all of the time. How much is your phone and your laptop consuming your moments of relaxation?
I watched, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ recently, not an ideal time to be watching travel movies as it gets that itch to be overseas going. However, the scene that stood out to me the most was in Italy, where they are explaining that we spend too much time keeping ourselves busy and always working too hard then on our days off we are so exhausted we just spend it in our pajamas on the couch watching TV.
This is what we do, we work ourselves to the bone, we do not give ourselves the break our mind and body need. And to relax we spend it looking at a screen still consuming content. It’s still not relaxing to your system to always be consuming something even if you do feel like you have vegged out on the couch. Your mind is still busy with what you are taking in through the movies and it isn’t left to have that space of nothingness to just be.
So how much are you pushing yourself right now? Over the years of dealing with chronic health, I have done really well at getting myself to a point of living a fairly symptom-free life because I became an expert at listening to my body and what it needed. The times I burn out these days is when I get too caught up in other people’s opinions of how things should be done and how much I should be pushing myself to show I am committed to the goals I have set. Each time I do this I start off really well but then again and again I stop listening to myself and start asking what would they do in the situation and I end up hitting a wall because I am not living to what works for me.
Have your influences, have the people you follow who inspire you to do better. But do not allow them to be so influential over you that you stop listening to your own instincts of what will best serve you. You know you best, you listen to your body best, you are the only on who can really know what is going on inside you. So where have you stopped listening to yourself? Are you letting other people’s opinions of how you should be living your life influence you to the point of burnout?
What can you start doing this week to start getting more Intune with what you need right now? What can you start doing this week to take care of your mind body and spirit this week? How can you fill yourself up so you are feeling refreshed and energised to enjoy the journey of your life? Do you need to slow down and give yourself a rest? In rest, you find your recovery, our bodies heal when they are allowed the space to do so. How can you allow yourself more free space this week to take care of yourself?