Updated: Feb 11
Identify the signs of burnout before it's too late.
If you routinely run on reserves and force yourself to accept that constantly feeling tired is all part and parcel of living a busy life, then you are probably wondering if you are ever going to find a way to escape the exhaustion.
When the signs and symptoms of stress go beyond inconvenient headaches, disturbed sleep or difficulty concentrating and result in the prescription of pills to treat prolonged complaints, then it’s truly time to listen to your body and commit to making change.
Read on to discover how you can turn things around!
We all have an internal voice of wisdom and intuition. It acts as a guidance system to help maintain balance of body, mind and soul. It nudges us gently toward the things that are aligned with our highest good.
Are you willing to listen?
Listen to your body when it whispers, and no longer will it need to shout!
Intuition can come in the form of ideas that suddenly appear in your thoughts, in images in your dreams, as whispers of your inner voice, or as sensations in your body indicating that something feels instinctively right or wrong. It also shows up when we feel drawn to certain people, places and things and repelled by others.
Our internal thoughts, emotions, energy and external experiences are intrinsically linked. Metaphysical messages signaling that we are burning out can come through both our internal and external environments.
As we go about our day-to-day lives, guidance can show up as images or pictures that we see in magazines, on posters or on the TV. It can be heard in the lyrics of music or words that jump out in conversations. It can also present itself during the apparent coincidence of certain events that on some unexplained level a deeper part of our inner knowing interprets as somehow being symbolic.
Physical, physiological and behavioural symptoms
Whenever our body is exposed to stress we receive whispers of guidance accompanied by mild physical symptoms like a headache, sore back, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, dizziness or indigestion problems. These signs are designed to help us slow down and bring things back into balance in our lives.
In the western world we often suppress these warning signs by self-medicating without exploring the root cause. Instead of pausing to explore the reason for having a headache or backache and treating the root cause, we often choose to pop a pill and carry on.
When we experience ongoing stress our physiological functions (e.g., sleep, learning and memory) are affected by our thoughts, emotions and memories. This can result in memory problems, the experience of depression, anxiety disorders, labyrinthitis (extreme dizziness), low libido, mental exhaustion, insomnia, persistent restlessness, feelings of overwhelm, moodiness, loneliness, the inability to relax, recurrent dreams, difficulty concentrating, reduced judgment, constant worrying, and can even accelerate brain ageing.
These symptoms negatively affect our general behaviour and health choices. When we are chronically stressed we can become more sensitive to criticism, lose our sense of humor and develop nervous tendencies. We are more likely to make poor dietary choices, eat too much or too little, and become dependent on caffeine and other stimulants, in addition to seeking alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs to help us relax.
When we override the wisdom of our body it starts to shout for us to pay attention by sending more serious conditions like ME, cancer, a heart attack or stroke.
Burnout has become a universally accepted term; it seems to be thrown around somewhat interchangeably with the term ‘stress’. This causes confusion as to what burnout really means and who it affects.
Burnout is the result of various factors cumulating in prolonged stress and poor lifestyle choices that lead to severe depletion of the autoimmune system and adrenal glands. It is not unique to one type of personality or profession, but in all burnout cases many common underlying factors can be found. Burnout as a phenomenon is increasingly affecting people from various backgrounds.
Each burnout experience is unique to the individual. Some people completely crash, while others repeat patterns of chronic self-destruction throughout the course of their life, continuously feeling run-down yet never actually reaching breaking point.
However, burnout can be transformed into an opportunity to transform your potential and productivity.
In order for this transformation to happen you need to learn how to listen to, respect and trust your intuition and the wisdom of your body.
When you reframe burnout as a powerful paradigm for self-inquiry and development, it is possible to tap into phenomenal personal learning and the opportunity for transformational change.
7 Steps to Speed Recovery
NB * The slower you are willing to go to let your body get the rest it needs - the faster your recovery from burnout will be ;) * If you try to push it before your body it ready, then prepare to meet further resistance and a longer recovery time!
1. Take stock – how do you feel about each of the different areas of your life? Complete this Balance Wheel exercise to help you. This excellent life-coaching tool is a great way to check in with how you are feeling about each area of your life. It can help you take stock and gain clarity. Have a go now. It works best if you print it off and circle your scores. Simply score yourself based on your level of satisfaction in each area of your life. Be completely honest with yourself. Scoring ‘10’ means you’re very satisfied in that area of your life. Scoring ‘1’ means you are very dissatisfied.
© 2019 Jayne Morris
2. De-clutter – notice where you have too many commitments, possessions or unfinished projects in your life that are draining your energy and have a clear out.
3. Self-care – prioritise rest and relaxation. Take some time out for your own retreat, disconnect from work and life for at least 1 week and reconnect with your-self. Post-retreat schedule in ongoing self-care so that you commit to making it an ongoing priority in your life.
4. Sleep – put boundaries back in your life so that you get more or better-quality sleep. Banish technology from the bedroom. Get to bed earlier. Take naps. Whatever you need to do to improve this part of your life – do it – you won’t regret it. It’s a fundamental pillar for health and productivity and can be a total game changer.
5. Have more fun – reignite your sense of humour… it can be one of the first things you lose when burning out. Build it back into your life with feel good movies, nights out with friends and activities that make you laugh.
6. Move your body – Little and often is key. If you’ve been burning the candle both ends for a while then avoid noisy gyms or exercise classes, instead go for gentle walks, take a yoga or pilates class, try tai chi or qigong.
7. Say thank you! Start by thanking your body for being so strong for so long. You may feel as though it has given up on you, but it is wiser than you know. It’s slowed you down or made you stop to self-preserve. It wants you to listen and pay attention to it. It has an amazing capacity for healing and rejuvenating. When you start to reappreciate it, you’ll begin to notice that it is communicating with you all of the time. As you develop an attitude of gratitude, you’ll feel more appreciative for this experience and for other things that happen or come into your life. The more that you focus on things you are grateful for, the better you feel and the more thankful you are, it’s a virtuous circle.
Want to learn more about how to recover from burnout? You’ll find a wealth of information, exercises and suggestions to help you make a full recovery in my bestseller 'Burnout to Brilliance: Strategies for Sustainable Success' - I also host private 1-2-1 and group Burnout to Brilliance retreats by the seaside and in stunning woodlands near Bristol.
Want to chat about your Balance Wheel scores? Book your complimentary consultation with me today. Click here to view my calendar and choose the slot that best suits your schedule.