THE BURNOUT ONE - Issue #23
And how to avoid it.
Hello there, dear readers
I this issue finds you well and that the year is progressing as you would wish?
Firstly, a major apology from me for this issue being 3 days late. It shouldn’t have been. It was ready to go last Friday, and I thought I’d scheduled for it to be sent to all my fab readers the following Tuesday morning, as is the usual schedule. However, and I’ll be totally honest, I pressed the wrong buttons in scheduling it to be sent automatically on the Tuesday, and the only edition sent was to me. So, I thought it had gone as normal. It was only when I checked back the day following, the stats made it clear that something had gone very wrong :(
So, I apologise for the late receipt, but I hope it helps to brighten your Friday :)
In this issue, I want to look at burnout. Because although we are very early in the year, enough time has passed for the tiny, initial indicators of heading towards burnout to make themselves known.
You probably know the things I mean - being a tad more irritable and impatient than you usually are; feeling less strong and capable and, always the first sign of any disharmony, a disturbance to your usual sleep pattern.
I know a few weeks ago, that was me. I began to feel far less confident than I normally do (which isn’t great at the best of times) and feeling panicky at making decisions. However, the biggest indicator for me, though, was the 3.00am waking and not being able to get back to sleep.
So I knew I had to start to make changes. I had been pushing myself hard over the last year running my two businesses, along with the challenge of setting up a co-working group in the village where I live. And it was beginning to tell on me.
And, although I’m very reluctant to admit this, being that bit older means we don’t always have the physical and mental resilience we had when we were younger. Galling to admit, I know, but it’s a fact of life - you (and me, in particular) have to accept that allowances have to be made for our age.
So what did I do to pull back from going down that dangerous road?
One of the first things I did was to cut out caffeine. A bit of a strange one, you might think, but I’ve definitely noticed it affects me much more than it ever did when I was younger. It makes me jittery, lacking in confidence and contributed to my poor sleep. So, I gritted my teeth and stopped my intake.
I also made sure I stuck to my weekly exercise routine. When functioning normally, I’m usually one of those sad individuals who is totally motivated to be at the gym when I say I will, but this recent downturn found me sitting on the sofa battling with myself to go upstairs to fetch my gym stuff and out the door to the gym. But I battled through, made myself go and then realised after each session, no matter how bad I felt beforehand, I always felt 100% better afterwards.
I chose just one of my “other” business activities to focus on fully. I’m involved with three different lines of business. Of course, I still had to do my “day job” business which keeps me afloat financially, but for the time I spend on my additional business activities, I stopped spreading myself far too thinly and concentrated on just one. It has helped, as it reduced the number of things I had to worry about.
I started to take Ashwagandha. This is a traditional herb, much like ginseng, but it’s particularly good for women in mid-life. It works on balancing brain chemistry which menopause can disrupt and affect your coping capacity. I’m only two weeks into taking this, but I’ve noticed some very small improvements even now. However, please be aware that experts say that it can take up to 6 weeks before you see improvements from taking it. I’ve been taking this brand, which has the addition of black pepper which is supposed to aid absorption. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing improvements ahead of time?
MAJOR DISCLAIMER HERE THOUGH - PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING THIS HERB. IT CAN INTERACT WITH ANY EXISTING MEDICATION OR AFFECT EXISTING CONDITIONS ETC
I hope this all helps, but if you’re struggling, don’t struggle alone. Talk to someone or seek professional advice. Charity website Mind is a great resource, as a start.
Talking of professional advice, what do respected professionals say about avoiding and controlling burnout?
FORBES on taking time out:
“It’s crucial to set healthy boundaries with yourself and other people without feeling guilty. If you need to take time away from work for your mental health, do it. Use your vacation time to recharge and feel better about how your body and mind feel”
MIND on prioritising self care:
“Make time for relaxing, hobbies and calls with friends and family. Sometimes having something non-work related to look forward to can really help.”
MINDTOOLS on giving to others and kindness
“One quick and easy way to add meaning is to give to others, or to help them in small ways.
When you do this, it makes you feel good. Even the smallest act of kindness can re-energize you and help you find meaning in your work.”
So, I hope these wise words of wisdom from those that know, coupled with my homespun tips, help you put some useful aspects into your daily life that help keep you on the straight and narrow. But, as I said earlier in the newsletter in this issue, if you aren’t coping as well as you usually do, speak to someone. There’s no shame, given what we’ve all been through in the last two years.
DOLLOP OF POSITIVITY
Here’s the usual “Dollop Of Positivity”I include each issue to give you a bit of an uplift.
This time, to reinforce all the good things suggested above to bring you back from the brink, here’s some wise words to remind you that you don’t have to do it all. It’s time to put you at the centre. Because, to be able to look after those who rely on us, we need to be fighting fit ourselves, both physically and mentally.
So, that’s it for issue #23. I hope you found something in it that resonated with you. And if there’s any issues that affect us at this time of life that I haven’t covered, please reply to this issue and your message will find me :)
In the meantime, keep well and safe and enjoy seeing those days that tell us that Spring is just around the corner.
Till a fortnight’s time- that is, a fortnight last Tuesday (the 22nd)