As I laid in bed, mentally and emotionally drained and physically exhausted, I pondered where did I go wrong? I should have known better, why did I allow this to get so bad?
After seeing several medical and mental health providers, I learned that my reality was that I was simply burned out. Over the next year, I started a self-discovering journey that was quite fascinating, yet terrifying.
According to the World Health Organization, “burnout syndrome results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job, and reduced professional efficacy. Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”
In reality, we live in an ever-evolving world with continuous demands on all areas of our lives. Life is fast-paced and it’s about hustle and bustle at any cost. It is so easy for us to go after wealth without even reflecting on the negative impact on our wellness. We live in a society where “I am burned out” is the norm.
According to Help Guide, “burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.” This definition allows us to look at burnout through a holistic lens and see the impact on all areas of our lives.
The root cause of burnout is our perception of stress.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” The question then becomes how do I get stressed?
Your body involuntarily responds to stress by collecting and processing information through your five senses. If your body perceives a situation as “dangerous,” your sympathetic nervous system kicks in and your body goes into fight or flight mode - more commonly known as “survival mode.” When your body is in “survival mode,” it consumes a lot of energy and often leads to exhaustion. After a prolonged time in “survival mode,” the body does not have time to rest and recharge, which often leads to burnout and underlying mental, emotional and physical symptoms.
Burnout impacts all areas of your life and affects everyone around you.
Some symptoms of burnout include but are not limited to:
Burnout affects your interpersonal relationships by self-isolating from family,friends and coworkers, neglecting to take care of responsibilities, and being easily agitated with others.
Below you will find 5 action steps to take if you are ready to ditch the burnout.
Vision is “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.”
By having a clear vision for your life, your brain becomes aware of your goals. If you hop into a car and have a specific location to put into the GPS, you are more likely to have a smooth ride with fewer bumps along the road.
Let’s be clear, having a vision does not eliminate challenges but rather allows you to pivot accordingly.
It’s important to get as clear as possible on what you desire. You have unique talents and strengths that you have been given to share with the world.
Action: Take some time to journal and answer this question: (insert your first name), what would an ideal day look like for you? By reflecting on your ideal day, it allows you to realign with your life’s vision.
Action is “an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity.”
Now that you have the vision to put into life’s GPS, you can develop an action plan.
I want to take a moment to first acknowledge that before we go starting the car to go to a new location, we should check to see if the car has gas and is working properly. I like to call this back to basics; it is crucial to ensure that you are taking care of your basic needs such as getting enough sleep, hydrating, eating nutritious food, movement, cleaning your home, and having scheduled downtime to prepare to achieve your goals.
Action: When developing an action plan, you could use a planner of your choice paper or digital. Insert back to basics tasks followed by any task that will allow you to bring your vision to life. Then insert all other activities for family, friends, work/school, etc. I know you have probably heard it 50 million times, but you got to put on your oxygen mask first before serving others.
Mindset is “an intention.”
There are tons of research, articles, Youtube videos, and even Netflix shows on mindset. Everyone has their own perception of the role of mindset.
In its dictionary definition, mindset is simply an intention. In the simplest terms, your brain is making approximately 35,000-40,000 decisions a day. It’s main goal is to keep you safe. It makes these decisions based on your prior experiences. You do not find yourself sitting there pondering 35,000+ decisions a day because most of them are done on an unconscious level. You can develop an invincible mindset by being intentional with your thinking.
Action: Integrate a morning practice, visualize your ideal day, identify what blocks are coming up, and journal on why you are safe as you take action towards your goals.
Sacred is “reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.”
Do you recall the last time you walked into a hotel room? The joy you felt as you delighted in the beautiful decor, linens of a freshly made bed, and organized room. External clutter impacts your ability to achieve your goals. Creating sacred spaces within your home allows you to gain more clarity, less anxiety, and more time to relax.
Action: Take 30 minutes to declutter an area where you spend most of your time such as the bedroom, living room, or office.
Cultivate is “to promote the growth or development.”
We are all social beings and often thrive when we feel a sense of belonging. Find your tribe by cultivating a community that aligns with your life vision.
Action: Find ways to connect with others-find a mentor/coach/therapist, join a group or sports team, attend a networking event, take a course, go back to school, get a new job or simply reconnect with old friends/colleagues.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for burnout because we all have unique lived experiences that affect the way we respond to stress. By reconnecting to my life’s vision, I was able to find the blessing in my burnout journey and pivot my career. By developing an action plan, I was able to bring my “ideal day” vision to life, while ensuring that my back-to-basics needs were met. I have developed an invincible mindset by doing the inner work to heal my relationship with time and money, which for most of us are the biggest stressors. Truthfully, it took some time but I eventually parted ways with items that no longer served me. Decluttering has brought a new sense of peace and tranquility that I once only felt on vacation. Finding my tribe in every area of my life provided the support I need to make some sweet lemonade when life throws those lemons my way.
After 15 years of working as a therapist, I have pivoted my business to collaborate with professionals and entrepreneurs to ditch the burnout, feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, so that they can build wealth in all areas of their lives without sacrificing their wellness. I believe you have all the resources and the power within yourself to take the vision off the vision board and into reality. If you are interested in getting some support, please visit my website at https://www.thecoachanizer.com
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Tina Salmon, LCSW, CCM, MPA, is a licensed therapist, burnout coach, and wellness consultant and the founder and CEO of Coachanizer. Tina provides holistic coaching services and workshops by integrating therapeutic and mindset practices, goal setting, time & stress management, productivity, and space organization. Tina collaborates with professionals and entrepreneurs to ditch the burnout, feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, so they can build wealth in all areas of their lives without sacrificing their wellness. If you are interested in learning more, check Tina out on Instagram @coachanizer or by visiting https://www.thecoachanizer.com