We have never had so much technology at our fingertips, intended to make lives easier or more entertaining. We have never had so much choice about the way we live our lives and where we direct our energy. Yet, we are becoming increasingly asset rich, time poor and scattered; our focus muddled by speed at which we live our lives.
I have begun to see a concerning trend emerge, particularly among women in their late 20’s and 30’s, as we take on the world and attempt to do it all.
It is not uncommon to find our careers thriving as our relationships, health and well being dwindle. We simply don’t make enough time to take care of ourselves. Long hours in the office mean we compromise on the things that feed our heart and soul and the proper nutrition to nourish our minds and bellies. We combat stress with cocktails and let our adrenaline, not to mention caffeine, get us through the day and then try to work off the jitters in the gym. The financial crisis that has affected many parts of the world means that there are suddenly fewer people to do more work and increased pressure to perform as business becomes more cut throat – all for less perks and a lower income bracket than we probably deserve. In the worst case we find ourselves floored and battling chronic illness or depression if left unchecked.
As a result we find ourselves using all our energy to survive and we don’t have or are unable to recognize the opportunities to refuel.
Here are 8 signs you’re on the brink of burn out:
1.You never have any energy
This is one of the most common signs that you might be on the brink of burn-out. You’re beyond tired. You are bone crushingly sleepy and no amount of rest seems to be enough. You find yourself frequently cancelling plans because you just don’t have the energy and begin to avoid making them at all for fear you won’t feel like it when they come around.
2.You feel unwell
You start experiencing erratic symptoms of ill health that no-one can seem to pin point to anything specific. You have a list of niggles from severe headaches, weight loss/gain and blurred vision to muscle aches, lower back pain, nausea and mood swings that you just don’t understand.
3.You have lost interest in the things you used to enjoy
You feel apathetic and unenthusiastic about most of the things you usually relish and look forward to.
4.You feel overwhelmed by crowds and too many people
Bustling streets, bars and buses are all too much. A trip to the grocery stores feels like you’re running the gauntlet, because you just don’t want to be out in public. You begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed. The only place you feel safe is back home in bed.
5.You feel sad
You’re likely on the brink of burnout if you notice your moods and emotions becoming more extreme as you struggle to cope and maintain the life that seemed so effortless before. You find it difficult to communicate to friends and colleagues how you feel and subsequently begin to feel sad and even depressed.
6.You feel like something is missing
You start questioning your lifestyle choices and begin to lose confidence in yourself, wondering what life means to you and where it all went wrong.
7.You cannot tolerate alcohol, sugar or caffeine at all
You may have once been able to enjoy several glasses of wine, but even a sip gives you an instant hangover and headache. Particularly, you get a severe ache at the base of your skull. Sugar sends you into overdrive and caffeine makes you shaky and causes your blood sugar levels to spike wildly out of control.
8.Your doctor doesn’t know what to do with you
You find yourself making frequent trips to visit your local health professional. They check all your vitals, ask a lot of questions, scratch their head, shrug and send you for a bunch of tests that come back negative and eventually offer you anti-depressants and painkillers. A costly sign that you might be on the brink of burnout.
But do not despair. Luckily, it isn’t all doom and gloom!
Here are 10 things you can do when you find you are on the brink of burn out!
When life begins to overwhelm you slow down, re-evaluate how you spent your time and re-prioritize. Increase the time you spend alone and resting and cut out as many of the things that cost you too much energy. Find a balance between the things you need to do and the things you want to do.
What is important to you? Has life run away with you? Is it possible that your perspective and priorities have shifted and the lifestyle you lead is no longer in line with that? Journaling, especially first thing in the morning or last thing at night can be really helpful.
Make 30 minutes to 1 hour each day to completely relax. Turn off the TV, unplug the phone, put down the handheld device. Just be with your body and your breath. Lie down. Let your thoughts drift. Play soothing music if you like or embrace a little silence.
No-one else knows your body better than you. If the health profession is offering too few solutions then take matters into your own hands and pursue your own healing. Don’t expect anyone else to come and save you. You’re’ not a victim. Take your power back and seek out natural solutions that will work in harmony with your body.
5.Phone a friend
It can be really tough opening up about how you’re feeling. You worry that people won’t understand, but it is better to reach out and look for support from those you trust than suffer alone.
6.Take up yoga and meditation
Both are profound and ancient healing arts, which affect us on a mind-body-spirit level. They can help us to find peace of mind, release hidden tensions and soothe away emotional and spiritual blocks which may be weighing us down and asking to be addressed.
Make sure you are eating well! Choose good quality produce that is high in prana and healthy. Opt for whole foods, especially greens and alkaline foods, as these will help to calm down and cleanse the system. Ensure you’re getting enough of the good fats that nourish the brain and nervous system and eat plenty of whole grains to sooth stress and stabilize blood sugar.
8.Take time off
If you feel up to it leave the stresses of everyday life behind you and look for a retreat rather than a holiday. Choose a place that is a safe haven where your needs will be catered for without you having to lift a finger. Look for a space away from it all where meditation, yoga, super healthy and healing foods, plenty of quiet time and holistic therapies are available.
If you don’t feel strong enough to leave home create a sanctuary among your own four walls. Disconnect from the outside world for a while, run long bubble baths, indulge in your favorite book or movie, spend time in silence, cook yourself nourishing foods and get plenty of sleep.
9.Try trusted holistic therapies
Regular acupuncture, massage, energy healing, Chinese herbal medicine, Pancha Karma (Ayurvedic detox) as well as psychotherapy or coaching are all proven to be helpful when combating burn out.
Practice mindfulness in order to break negative thinking cycles. Recognize when damaging, destructive and self-depreciating thoughts are consuming you. Try to witness what is happening without getting frustrated. You may also find it helpful to create a management strategy for negative thinking patterns and behaviors, by following this simple formula;
First; Witness what is happening. Second; Ask yourself what impact that is having on you and your situation.
Next; Consider what you could think instead.
Think about what result that would have (and allow this be your motivation to swap unhealthy thought patterns for more positive ones).
Finally, one of the best ways to beat burnout is to take a yoga and spa retreat to Blue Osa! Let us welcome you with open arms as you leave the stress of everyday life behind and reconnect to what truly matters in one of the most beautiful locations in Costa Rica.
Have you ever found yourself on the brink of burnout? What did you do to cope with the stress?
This is part 1 of a 2 part series on avoiding burnout. To read part 2, click here!
About the author
Katherine is a global nomad, a free spirit, a wild warrior yogi on a quest for her own truth; part of a new generation of women who are wild, wise, authentic and free, who has chosen to dismiss what society has dictated and instead pursue my own destiny.
Katherine is a devoted student of yoga, with a travel addiction. She is a yoga teacher, an ayurvedic chef, a life-coach, a self-confessed foodie and adrenaline junkie with a healthy thirst for tequila margaritas and moving her body in rhythm with a banging baseline.
She had written her own cookbook ‘Nourish. Healing meals at Moses’ for Vale De Moses in Portugal and co-authored ‘Voila. Cuisine avec Maria’ for Blue Osa.
Katherine’s writing is dedicated to inspire positive change in you through yoga, nourishment and unapologetic flourishing fun.