Burn Out

I’m sure you have heard of the dreaded ‘burn out’ in one way or another. Maybe it’s something you’ve experienced yourself, something you have seen a close one go through or maybe it’s just something that pops up every now and again on your social media feed. Regardless of how you have come across it, burn out does exist and it’s becoming increasingly more common.

So what exactly is ‘burn out’?

BURN OUT is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion after prolonged periods of chronic stress.

I talk about the stresses of everyday life pretty much ALL the time. It’s such a common reoccurring theme on my articles and even in my coaching sessions with my clients. It comes up all the time because it is THERE all the time. As I have said before, we all wear so many different hats, we juggle loads of different plates at one time and you can pretty much insert any analogy for being busy right here …

I’ve reached a burn out point more than once and lately I’ve been feeling it try to creep it’s way on my ‘to-do’ list. It’s almost as if every now and again my body tells me to make room for it on my calendar – it’s happened that many times, that now I’m tuning into my body and becoming aware of when it might happen. We need to all start listening to our bodies and hear what they have to say. It’s time to tune in, accept, acknowledge and love ourselves without the judgement of not ‘doing’ something all the time! Burn out is more common and it’s happening so often to so many of us so it’s more important than ever to start tuning into our bodies internal radio stations and re-aligning ourselves so that we avoid crashing completely.

How do the stresses of everyday life contribute to burn out?

The stresses of everyday life come hand in hand with pressure, fear and a big huge fight, all of which lead to burn out – that complete fatigue both physically and emotionally. When you combine these 3 elements and pair them up with how you go about your day to day business, you can quickly see how easy it is to head down a road to a mini melt down. After all, if you have ever experienced burn out then you know how it feels to have your defences come crashing down around you and that struggle of trying to swim to the surface to catch a breath.

There are so many things on our to-do lists every single day and as Don Miguel Ruiz Jr says, we wear so many masks depending on who we are interacting with. Every time we see someone else or DO something else, we put on a different mask so that we can be the best version of ourselves for that particular person or that particular moment in time (I'm paraphrasing here). This constant shifting and act of juggling can become so exhausting if left unchecked.

Constant shape-shifting aside, we have pressure, fear and fight to contend with as well. It’s not necessarily what we have to achieve or do in a day that leads to burn out in the long run, it’s the way we perceive those tasks on our to-do lists; it’s the emotions and stresses it stirs up for us.

Have you ever noticed how amazing you are at putting pressure on yourself?

I like to call this self-made pressure. In fact, if there was ever a presidency for self-made pressure then I would be in the running! I put so much pressure on myself over and over again and I see so many of my clients and loved ones do the exact same. It’s not enough that we have a million and one tasks to get through but we all seem to go at the fastest speed, in the shortest time frame and using more energy than we have to spend in the first place. We create pressure in every area of our lives:

  • Pressure to be the best partner in a relationship
  • Pressure to succeed at work
  • Pressure to get that promotion
  • Pressure to be a great mum or dad
  • Pressure to have the cleanest house
  • Pressure to be the best
  • Pressure to have the best
  • Pressure to earn enough
  • Pressure to be happy

I love this era that we are living in, but it also comes with its down sides and that is that we are constantly bombarded with images on social media that give us unrealistic expectations. Those expectations then lead us to searching for the next best thing and ultimately we create that self-made pressure.

Then there’s the fear.

The fear that comes with not achieving or doing what we set out to accomplish. If left unchecked, fear can rule the roost and take over. This is especially true when we are putting pressure on ourselves in the first place. After all, you only put pressure on yourself when you fear something. Fear in itself can cause stress. When you fear something, adrenaline and cortisol (the fight or flight hormones) are released into your blood stream to push you to either fight or run. Either way your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises and your breathing becomes exaggerated. Can you see how exhausted your body can become just through feeling pressure and fear?

Once you’re in that state it’s time to fight. Whether you’re running or facing your challenge head on, your body is still fighting. It’s fighting to survive. The internal systems of your body don’t realise that the stress it’s feeling is coming from a presentation at work or your maid of honour duties – for all it knows there’s a bear right in front of you ready to attack! Your body goes straight into attack mode ready to fight for its survival.

In short our everyday stresses lead to self-made pressure, which stems from a place of fear and that in turns leads our bodies into a mode of attack or ‘fight’ – all of which creates even more stress. When this continues for a period of time, our bodies fatigue and become completely exhausted.

What does burn out mean to you?

Burn out means something different to everyone. As with everything to do with our health, it’s bio-individual which means that the way I experience burn out may be different to the way you experience it. Here are a list of symptoms that you might be feeling if you’re experiencing burn out:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional eating
  • Binge eating
  • Appetite loss
  • Insomnia
  • Physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness and fainting
  • Increased illness
  • Anger
  • IBS or other gut issues

When our bodies are under stress for a long period of time (and that can be low grade stress) it is known as chronic stress. I know for a fact that most of the clients I work with have low grade chronic stress and this means that a constant stream of stress hormones are rushing through our internal systems. Our bodies are not designed to cope with that much stress. Short bursts here and there are ok and some studies even suggest that small amounts of stress are beneficial, but prolonged exposure to stress only exhausts our bodies in every way possible.

How do we win the battle of the burn out?

There are 3 steps that I love to follow when it comes to tackling the issue of burn out. Burn out can happen for so many reasons so I really recommend working with a coach to help get to the root cause but these 3 steps are a great way to start learning what your body needs and when it needs it. Loving yourself fully and in every way possible means that you just will not allow yourself to burn out because you make yourself a priority.

Tune in to your body

This is possibly one of the most important steps when it comes to any sort of nutrition, health or well-being journey. Most of us live out of alignment with ourselves whether it’s physically, emotionally or spiritually. With so many options, opinions and views on the world being presented to us now, it’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison game or to live life with a haze of confusion as to what we really want and need.

It’s time to tune into your body and really listen to what it has to say. Take some time to reconnect with your body so that you truly understand it from the inside out.

Learn what your body needs

Reconnecting with your body and tuning into it’s unique satellite system is like learning a new language. It takes time and finesse. Your body’s language is unique to you and you have to take the time to tune in so that you can truly understand the way it communicates to you. Communication is the key to any relationship and the relationship you have with yourself is no exception.

Once you have learned your body’s language you can start interpreting it so that you know what your body wants to feel in true alignment.

Accept and love yourself unconditionally

It is so easy to judge yourself and in some ways the easiest person TO judge is yourself – probably because we are all our own harshest critics. But it is OK to not feel OK. It is OK to want to have a break. It is OK to cry, to moan, to complain, to get angry, to scream. It’s OK to let go and be vulnerable. It’s OK to stop, to relax, to not do anything and free yourself from your self-made pressures. Accept that you are who you are. You can’t change the fact that you are you. You HAVE to love yourself unconditionally because you are the only person on this planet that can truly give every ounce of love you have to yourself. The longest relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself and therefore it deserves the most TLC, acceptance and unconditional love you can give.

When you tune into your body, it means you can listen to the signals it’s trying to give you. Listen to those signals. They are signs from your body to you that things are either working great or not so well. If you feel as though you’re heading for a burn out then pull back where you can. Look after your body, accept what it needs, give it what it’s craving and do it all from a place of unconditional love.


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