Wellness Wednesday: Feeling burned out these days? Don't worry, you're not alone
"A machine-level paced of grinding due to capitalism is not sustainable. It's why we speak about "burn-out" as a normal part of our life and career. It is not normal. Grind culture is violence, therefore "burn-out" is actually years of embodied violence showing up in our bodies. You need to slow down. You need to rest."- The Nap Ministry
When I read that quote on Instagram, it felt like a kick to the chest...my mind was blown...I finally had a name for what I had been feeling for the past few months.
Like most of us, when we're experiencing some type of discomfort we resort to Google for answers, which is literally the worse thing that you could do. I had diagnosed myself with so many illnesses and conditions, I was ready to check myself into a hospital.
Turns out, I was just burned out.
When we think of burnout, we typically associate it with work, but you can be burned out from the accumulated stress from both work and your personal life.
Telltale signs that you too could be experiencing this:
It's like you feel empty, physically, and mentally spent; flat out exhausted and drained. The things you used to find joy and pleasure in are no longer of interest, you're extremely temperamental, lack concentration, experience all types of health issues, and other ailments (migraines, anxiety, heart palpitations, etc), and have trouble sleeping. It's hard to stay productive when you're in that space because you don't have the motivation or the desire to do much of anything. For most of us, we don't have the luxury of putting off certain things because we have responsibilities and have to do what we have to do to survive and make ends meet. Then, when you feel like you're not in the best place mentally, that leads to irrational thinking and negative self-talk, and then you just want to isolate yourself from the rest of the world because you don't want to be a dark cloud and kill anyone's vibe.
It's like chronic stress and depression had a baby.
Once I figured out what was going on, it empowered me to do something about it. I had to humanize myself and realize that it was okay to not be okay and to give myself some grace, and compassion. A part of being human is realizing that life happens whether we want it to or not, whether we are prepared for it or not, and that some events in our lives can completely bring us off course if we let it.
The biggest flex is that we have a choice in how we react to these events. We can either avoid the emotions that have come up, allow it to control us, or experience them with mindfulness. I'm not gonna lie, in this season, I've done a combination of the three, but I'm learning to embrace it for what it is, and not for what I want it to be.
Every day is not gonna be perfect. There will be ups and downs, but every day you gotta keep showing up for yourself.
If you feel like you've been going through some of these same things, remember that you are not alone, we are all going through something in these turbulent times.
Here are some ways that I've been managing my burnout:
1. Being honest about my feelings with trusted family and friends
Let's face it, being transparent about not being okay is not for the faint of heart. It takes real humility and guts to admit that to yourself first, let alone opening open to other people. I get it, nobody likes anyone in their business, but you deserve to give yourself a fighting chance to make it through these tough battles. I started going to therapy more frequently to help unpack some of the things that I was dealing with, and that was really beneficial. I also reached out to friends and family who I knew could hold space for me in a loving, non-judgmental way, and that was very comforting. Sometimes we have to take those calculated risks and be vulnerable because there are people in your life who honestly do have your best interest in mind, and could provide a different perspective, or comfort in those times of need. Even if you can't connect with someone physically, don't be afraid to pick up the phone to hear their voice or see their face on video chat, that could make all the difference and give you hope and lift your spirit.
2. Find ways to release or de-stress
For me, the things that bring me pleasure can be fleeting, so I have to get creative and try new things to figure out what my niche or hobby is. Lately, I've been really into doing yoga and meditation, sometimes it's as simple as turning on Alexa and requesting one of my favorite songs and dancing in my kitchen. Other times it's being silly with my kids, cooking, or taking a nice walk to get some fresh air. For you, it could be something totally different, whatever your thing is, try to be consistent and develop a routine that is unique to what you brings you peace.
3. Plan a staycation
I'd be lying if I said that I don't miss my annual excursions, especially now that life is so different from what we're used to. I can easily hop on a plane and go somewhere, but the options are limited, and the way my anxiety is set up, I think it'll be some time before I get the courage to travel anywhere too far. A week ago, I was inspired to plan a staycation after talking to a few people about this collective uneasiness and distress that so many of us are feeling. I decided to book an Airbnb for this upcoming weekend just to unwind and have a change of scenery with one of my good friends. I think this opportunity to just relax, and hang out will work wonders from mind, body, and spirit and I'm looking forward to it! In fact, I may decide to unplug and get away at least once a month or so, just to give myself a breather.
4. Prioritize rest
When we think of rest, many of us think of sleep but there are different types of rest. Sure, you can take a nap if you're feeling tired, but you can also step away from your computer and put your phone on do not disturb, read a book, or catch up with a friend over coffee during your lunch break. All of these things count as rest. Rest is anything that you do that can not only help you to thrive but also to improve the quality of your life (physical, mental, social, creative, emotional, spiritual, and sensory).
As we navigate through this trying, and seemingly never-ending time, know that you come from a lineage of strength, wisdom, and resilience. Let's resist the urge to become frightened and paralyzed by fear, and instead, approach these challenges with boldness; trusting that we are divinely protected and that we can overcome anything.