How to Build a Better Relationship with Yourself and Overcome Burnout
It is nearly a year since the pandemic hit the world and we had our first lockdown. In this period, we have all been through a huge change. This may have included the initial shock of what was happening in the world, plus anger and rejection of events going on around us. You may still be experiencing many of these emotions, and it is also possible that you have accepted the situation. However, we are all still dealing with day-to-day changes in how we work and live.
All this juggling of work, home life and handling our own feelings around the situation can lead to burnout. In this article I will share some thoughts on how to become aware of your own risk of burnout and notice it in colleagues and friends. I will also cover how to start to re-connect with yourself and others around you.
Signs of Burnout
Some of the physical signs of burnout can include problems sleeping, headaches, stomach issues, changes to appetite, and low energy levels. When you are approaching burnout, you may also feel emotionally exhausted, perhaps feeling like you can no longer manage your own emotions – they seem to be random and out of control. One minute you might find you are feeling happy and motivated, yet the next you find yourself in tears and feeling overwhelmed.
It could be that you find yourself becoming cynical, because it seems like whatever actions you take are making no difference. You might also be feeling a sense of disconnection from everything in your life – from work, leisure activities and the people who are most important to you. You could be wondering where the usual caring person that you are has gone? All of his can lead to stress which will impact your mental, physical and emotional health.
Finding a Balance
The first step in beating burnout is recognising it in yourself. Then you can commit to making changes in your life to balance out the pressures you face, with time for renewal. Many people who face burnout are those who strive to be perfect in everything they do and can be extremely hard on themselves when things don’t meet their high internal standards.
Everything we do at Fresh Air Fridays contributes to leading a balanced and healthy life and supports individuals to have choices in how to live their lives. When facing burnout and a feeling of disconnection from the world, one way of starting to renew and find balance is to find someone to talk to. Going outside for a walk with a trusted friend or colleague will provide you with a safe space to walk and talk, it is one where you can explore your feelings with someone who is there to connect with you and listen. Giving yourself this time and space will support you in re-building a connection to the world around you.
Another thing with burnout and stress is that we can be hard on ourselves. Would you speak to your best friend in the way that you find yourself speaking to yourself when things are not going well? In the coming days, take some time to notice what comes up for you when you are facing challenging situations.
- How are you reacting?
- What emotions are you feeling?
- What are you saying to yourself?
As you notice what is happening, think of what is going on for you and why, what is the intention behind the way you are being hard on yourself? It could be to keep yourself safe and avoid something fearful. When you start creating awareness then you can step back and be kind to yourself. Replace the harsh words with kind words, for example, “I am doing the best with what I know right now.” Take some time and space to do something you love. We talked earlier in the year about filling yourself up first, so you have the energy to support others. This is a time to bring in something that energises you and makes you feel good.
Finally, have a think about the demands being placed on you and make a list of things that you can start saying no to. Also, are you placing too many demands on yourself to be perfect in everything you do. Make it good enough and then spend the time you have gained back to work on creating a balance in your life by being kind to you.
If you’ve read this article and think you may be suffering from burnout, we can help. We specialise in providing people with the time, the space and the support to look at what’s going on in your life that is contributing to burnout. Our 12-week Working Well and Pathways to Happiness programmes will give you the tools you need to create balance and rest in your day to day life, you will become part of a like-minded community to explore and learn from each other. If you would like to find out more about Working Well or Pathways to happiness you can contact us here.