Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; it’s is a process that happens over time.
And because it has a variety of — and often bizarre — symptoms not usually associate with stress, the warning signs are there but you might not recognise them.
You don’t make significant changes in your lifestyle to avoid the mental, emotional and physical distress you’re heading for.
You enter the the burnout zone.
You just get to a point where e v e r y t h i n g going on in your life tips you over the edge and you just. Burn. Right. The. Hell. Out.
Burnout will manifest in your body, mind, heart and soul in a very unique combination of symptoms and feelings.
For this reason, prevention is tricky.
(I’m going to talk about some of the more unusual symptoms of burnout next week.)
So recognising the typical habits that lead to burnout is perhaps about the only way to avoid the edge.
So let’s talk about the 3 of most detrimental habits in your life & work that are pretty much guaranteed to lead you to burn out, so that we can divert this choo choo train to the endless track you need to get your ideas off the ground:
- Burning the candle at both ends
- Trying to including everything in your morning routine.
- Saying yes to everything.
1. Burning the candle at both ends
You have work events/classes/courses, yoga & fitness classes, birthdays and weddings scheduled etc etc for the next 18 months.
To get through the day you have to run on autopilot or your to-do list would overwhelm you.
You’re in constant state of fight or flight.
These are the two decisions we make in response to acute stress, where our body becomes flooded with hormones, our heart rate and blood pressure increases and we breathe more heavily. When the stressful scenario is over our body typically takes up to 60 mins to recover.
Except many of us are so busy rushing around from event to event that acute stress becomes a normal experience every day, with our bodies constantly producing adrenaline and noradrenaline just trying to keep up with our own schedules.
Not a tiger or real-world tragedy in sight. Just sheer busy-ness.
Running for the bus, arriving late to a meeting, getting stuck on the train, working late to meet impossible deadlines, and never really ever calming down.
This, friend, is a one-way street to the very serious state of burnout.
One simple solution:
- Schedule daily rest, relaxation and sleep into your calendar and design your life & work around them.
I’m talking 3 mins deep breathing, 20 minute cat naps in the car, and going to bed at 9pm with a good audio book just to unwind, even if you’re a night owl.
2. Trying to including everything in your morning routine.
There’s a lot of pressure to light a candle, journal, meditate, show gratitude, and a million other things as soon as we wake up — all before we’ve had a shower.
And to be honest I’m as guilty as any of dishing out this advice, too (right here!) but then I figured out there were only 4 things I really needed to do with my morning (which I talk about here) and that was to detox, hydrate, nourish and move.
The truth is, your morning routine is as unique as you. What’s helpful is to experiment experiment over time with different ideas — one or two at a time — each for a couple of weeks and see how they make you feel. I’ve tried so many things and have often tried too many things at the same time. And guess what that creates?
That’s right. More stress.
And it’s not set in stone, either. What I do before I crank open the laptop changes radically from location to location, and I travel a LOT. Sometimes exercising is walking the dogs for an hour (when I’m house sitting), sometimes it’s a 20 min jog on the beach (Mexico), and other times it’s a 20 min workout on the mat (almost everywhere else).
One simple solution:
- Add ONE simple thing to your morning.
Like: A glass of warm water with ½ tsp ground turmeric (amazing for our joints and delaying grey hair!); or 3 mins deep breathing. Try it everyday for 40 days and see how that feels.
3. Saying yes to everything.
We’re often so worried about how other people feel and what they think about us that we lose touch with the most important consideration:
Is what I’m being ask to do congruent with my goals; or, will saying yes compromise me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
This is where your calendar comes into play.
Birthday breakfast on Saturday? No, that’s my slot for Me Time.
Wedding in Bali January 2018? No, that’s the month I’m defining my goals for the year.
I’ve noticed that so many people are celebrating other people’s lives while simultaneously sacrificing what’s most important for them. And burning out as a result.
Same goes for work and career. Whether you’re in an office, or working at home dozens of requests and opportunities come at you every day. Learning how and when to say no could be the difference between you burning out or staying in the game until you get the results you’re looking for.
One simple solution:
- Define your passion, purpose and vision. And use it as a checklist for every request, opportunity or invitation that comes your way.
So which of the 3 habits above ring true for you?
Which of the 3 solutions will you try?
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