Have you ever felt burned out? Maybe you are going through it now, maybe you are headed in that direction, or maybe you feel exhausted on several levels and don’t really know why.
The definition of burnout is “the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress”.
It doesn’t sound fun, and it’s not. I know, because I’ve been there.
In the episode, let’s dive into the ways we can get burned out and what to do about it…
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
Burnout is the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress
You can experience burnout in your mind, body, spirit, or all three
We always have a choice in the actions we are taking
How to make choices that honor, love, and respect ourselves
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, welcome to episode number 16 of Happy Productive. This is Jennifer Dawn and today we’re going to be talking about how to deal with burnout. And when I was asking myself, what do you want to talk about on the podcast today, the one word that kept coming into my mind was rest, rest, rest. That’s what I just kept hearing in my mind was rest. And it may not quite be what you think it’s going to be when I say the word rest. And so I want to encourage you to just stay with me, okay?
So first of all, have you ever felt burned out? Maybe you’re going through it right now, maybe you know that you’re headed for it right? You see it up ahead and you know, you’re on that path for it. Or maybe you just feel really exhausted even on multiple levels, but you don’t really know quite why. Now, the definition of burnout, I actually googled it, the definition of burnout is the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork, or stress. Certainly doesn’t sound like fun. And I know that it’s not because I’ve been there. And because I’m kind of stubborn, it’s actually taken a few rounds of burnout for me to really wake up to what this is and of course, how to deal with it and how to get out of it as quickly as possible. And not just to get out of it, but to also stay out of it for good and so that’s why I really wanted to dive into this topic today.
Now, when I first started my first software company back in the 90s (I’m aging myself). I worked around the clock and I know a lot of people say they work hard, but they don’t really, I actually worked hard. There are so many times where we would literally work around the clock like all night long to get projects done or driving all night long and all the next day to get to trade shows to exhibit the software product that we sold. And so I really and truly was burning the midnight oil 12-14 hour days. And when I look back, I realized that I thought my belief system was that in order to make money, I had to work hard, right? I grew up, my parents always had multiple jobs. My grandparents worked very hard. And I just thought that that’s how life was and that to make money, you have to work hard.
I also thought that if you wanted to be a good person, you had to work hard, right? Good people work hard, not lazy people. Plus, I was a business owner. And I thought that my belief was that if you were going to own a business, that also meant working hard. But the thing that I didn’t realize at the time that looking back that I do realize now is that when I was working hard, it allowed me to avoid the pain. The pain of my childhood, I was raised in a very abusive childhood. I had a sexually abusive father and a mother who was very toxic, knew what was happening did nothing about. Very much a toxic narcissist, I think would be the best way to describe her.
And as I grew up, I later was in a marriage that I really wasn’t happy with. And then once I started having children, all those pressures that go along with being a new mom, and so work for me was actually an escape and I started working from a very young age. I had my first full time job when I was 10 working for my grandparents in their office, their chiropractic office. I had jobs all through high school all through college. And so work was really an escape for me, it was like this safe place where I could go where I felt like I had some control over my life. Now, this was an illusion, but because I was, you know, working so hard, and I had so many good reasons to justify that to support that right?
Because I was going after my goals or I was supporting my children and providing for them. There was always lots of reasons to be justified and all those hard hours and extended hours that I was working. In fact, when I had my first daughter, my first child, a beautiful baby girl, I took one week off. One week! And after she was born, she went to the office with me and I was back at full time work with a small child, you know, nursing up all night, the whole deal, but still working a full time job. And with my second, my son, I really splurged with him. And I took two whole weeks off before I was back at full time work.
Now what happened was that yes, I grew my company, and I grew it into the 7 figures. But there was a point with that company and with my marriage that I wasn’t very happy with. Or I just I got to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. It’s a little hard to explain, but there was just this day where it was like, I can’t keep doing this and I just realized that If I kept going, I was going to die. Now, I’m not talking about my physical body here, I’m talking about my spirit. I just had this overwhelming sense that I could not keep going or my spirit was going to be lost forever. And I didn’t know what was ahead of me. I didn’t know how to get there. All I knew was that I had to take a step in a different direction. Looking back now I realized I was exhausted, I was burned out. I had just run myself into the ground and there was just no other place to go except a different direction.
Now, I’d love to say that the story had a happy ending and eventually it did, but it was not until several years later. From there, I ended up taking a corporate job and what repeated there was the same pattern. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was it was the same pattern. So it was a different company. It was a different situation, but it was the same me, working my butt into the ground, avoiding the pain and that was just the pattern that was my safe space. And it was about a year, year and a half later that the burnout, the functional depression, it hit again. And it felt like everything in my life once again was falling apart. And it really was, and I just got taken down to my lowest low.
Now I share this with you guys because if you’re going through burnout, or you’re headed in that direction, I want to help you avoid what I went through. And I want to help you get out of it as quickly as you can, or even better, I want to help you avoid it all together. So if any of this is sounding familiar, I want you to know that the best way that I’ve found to handle burnout is with one word, REST, right? That word that was in my head when I’m like, what do I talk about today? And it was rest.
But here’s the thing about rest. There are many ways that we need to rest ourselves. So for example, it could be a physical rest right or physical body. Like, for example, do we just need to get some extra sleep? Have we not been sleeping well, and so we’re up through the night and then we’re, you know, really, really tired in the morning when we have to get up. Are we on a diet, which isn’t really that good for us, but it’s really harming us. And so our physical body is suffering. We just don’t have the energy, we just don’t feel good.
So this could be one area that you may be feeling burned out in would be in that physical space. And that’s just one area. So when we talk about rest, is it your body? Or maybe you need a mental rest right, our minds? Are you overthinking? If you’re overthinking, how much of your day, just think about this for a second. How much of your day do you spend in overthinking mode, and if that’s significant, that’s exhausting. And that could be why your brain is just tired. Maybe you’re always worried about everything or you’re always up in your head.
This was a big one for me a few years back when my husband and I was really mad at him at the time for pointing it out. He’s like, you know, you’re here, but you’re not here. So I was physically present with the family, but I was up in my head thinking about other things. And I thought he was just sort of like being a jerk, but he wasn’t when my children actually confirmed it. And they were like, yeah, Mom, it’s pretty obvious like you’re here, but you’re not here. So when you’re, you know, like six year old kid is, is getting that mommy’s not quite here. Like, that’s a big wake up call. And I realized that I was just always in my head thinking about my business, my business, my business, you know, what was I going to do? How was I going to grow it? How was I going to solve my problems? And I was just always in that head space, and my brain was tired.
Or maybe you need a mental rest because you’re running on limiting beliefs. I certainly was like, I have to work hard. And that kept me working hard. Or maybe you have a limiting belief that you’re not good enough. So you’re trying to prove yourself, right? Prove yourself in certain roles and certain situations, maybe you have a belief you’re not lovable. And so you’re making these mental choices, which are sort of reinforcing that or you don’t deserve happiness. And so you won’t let your brain rest long enough to actually be happy. So maybe you need a mental rest from beating yourself up, we can be very, very hard on ourselves and think about that, like we say things to ourselves that we would never say to people in our lives that we love, right? We would never speak to our children like that, or our partner like that sometimes the way that we speak to ourselves.
So when we talk about burnout and exhaustion, it could be physical, it could be mental, right? Or it could be spiritual. Maybe you need a spiritual rest. And if you just take a moment and just sort of think about your spirit, and it does require you to get out of your head, and you can do this with just a few deep cleansing breaths. And breathing in, breathing out just 3 or 4 deep cleansing breaths and kind of get down into that heart space where your spirit is? And are you denying your own spirit. Like, for example, if you want to go outside and nature, maybe go for a walk, do you like deny yourself your spirit this request? And then when you don’t do it, maybe you even punish yourself and beat yourself up some more.
Maybe you’re sacrificing your own happiness for people around you. It’s like, Oh, well, you know, I’m a mother. And so I’m not I have to take care of my children all the time. I’m not allowed to pursue my own hobbies or my own interests or an area that makes my spirit right, just like glow. And so I deny these things for myself, and so my spirit is suffering. Or maybe you’re just really disconnected from your higher self. You can’t be up in your head and in your heart at the same time. It does not work that way, right? So I like to lead with my heart and put my brain to work on following my heart following my spirit and that’s worked very, very good for me. But having that connection, right, like feeling grounded feeling really, really good and connected, maybe you don’t have that and maybe your spirit is exhausted or your spirit is burned out and tired of always being put off last, right?
Okay, so if you recognize yourself in any of these, it’s just about awareness. It’s never about judgment, because if you’re struggling with feeling burnout or exhaustion, it might be on multiple levels, right? So when we talk about burnout, which remember is the definition “the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” The first step in being able to really effectively dealing with it is to identify where is this coming from? Am I tired in my body? Do I need to sleep? Am I tired in my mind? Do I need to really evaluate my thinking?
Or am I tired in my spirit because I’m just denying my spirit the things that it loves, that lights it up. Or maybe it could be all three. Now, once you’ve identified where it’s coming from, the next step is to break it down, and then start to question the choices that you’re making. Because we always have a choice, you guys, we always have a choice. And anytime we think we don’t have a choice, we’ve given up our power. And we kind of stepped into that victim mindset of victim thinking. And so the truth though, is that we always have a choice.
And so we want to start looking at the choices that we’re making, which are causing that burnout in the first place. So for example, let’s say that your burnout is physical. I can say that I’ve been on some diets which really hurt my physical body and really caused me to feel burned out and exhausted. For me these high protein high fat like, my body was just like “no I cannot, I cannot deal with any more protein.” I need fruits, I need vegetables I need things from Mother Nature right from the source, right?
And so I’ve experienced that physical burnout because of foods that I was eating or not eating, simply because I was just so determined right to lose the weight that I sacrificed my physical health and that led to burnout. So if the burnout is physical, like do you get enough food? Do you get enough of the right foods? Are you starving yourself? Do you get enough physical sleep? Are you able to move your body in a way that feels good? Can you get your body outside into nature and get connected to nature? Right? Okay, so that’s if the if the burnout is physical related, like could it be any of those things?
So let’s say the burnout is In your mind, this is where we want to start to ask the choice because we’re making a choice and how we talk to ourselves. Every time we decide to beat ourselves up, we are making that choice when we decide to overthink or to worry, or to procrastinate, or it has to be perfect, right? All of that our choices that we’re making. And if your burnout might be in your spirit area, you know, it’s good time to maybe ask Who are you hanging around with? are you hanging around with negative people who drain your energy and kind of suck the life force right out of you. Maybe there’s some harmful behaviors that you’re participating in, that are really hurting your spirit. Or maybe there’s something in your heart that you’re really yearning to do that you just keep putting off and it’s hurting your spirit. Okay, so those are some examples of where the burnout might be happening.
So once you’ve gotten clear, right, on what’s really happening that’s causing your burnout, then we can start to look at the choices that we’re making. This is a question that always just stops me in my tracks. I absolutely love it. So, this choice that I’m making, I asked myself, “does this honor my mind, my body and my spirit?” Right? Is it a self-honoring choice? Or is it a dishonoring choice is the choice I’m making one that enables me to respect and love and care for myself? Or not? Asking myself this question that always stops, right my just stops my unhealthy choices right in their tracks, because intuitively, we know if a choice we’re making is honoring ourselves or dishonouring ourselves.
And it is so easy you guys, I’ve been there. It’s so easy right to just be in our heads and grinding away, never slowing down long enough, or being aware enough to really even ask the question. Now, the good news is that you can kind of train yourself this is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve just trained myself to recognize when I’m too in my head, I’m kind of in this frenzied state, I already know where that leads, it leads to exhaustion and burnout. It’s not a good place. And I’ve been there a few times, and I do not ever want to go back again. So instead, what I do is I just slow down and I pay attention to where is this exhaustion or burnout coming from? Where do I need a rest, mind, body or spirit are all three, right? And then I start to take a look at my choices of hey, what choice am I making which is leading me to feel burned out in one or all of those three areas. And then I do something different, right? I do something different to love and care for myself.
Now, depending on where you are with burnout, you might need to do this for weeks or even a few months to like get your mojo back. It really depends on how severe that burnout is. Or it could just take a few days of rest, to get your mojo back and start feeling better and to start stepping out of that burnout. Now, if you struggle with doing something different, right, because change can absolutely be hard. I want you to listen to last week’s podcast where I dive into change, and I talk about it. Because there are a lot of ways to ease ourselves into it. It doesn’t have to be this hard, forceful, unpleasant thing if we can actually ease ourselves into it. Make it fun, make it joyful. You can do it you absolutely can change so you can check out last week’s episode, if you struggle with, hey I recognize this is where my burnout is coming from. I know I need to do something differently, but you struggle with making that change.
Now, word of caution. So once you start asking yourself these questions and you start to get aware, and you hopefully make a different choice, just remember that once you start to get your mojo back, I want you to be aware of doing the same thing again, which is going to put you in that burnout or exhaustion, in the first place, right? It’s kind of like, hey, I took a few days off, I’m feeling a lot better. So then you just gear right back up and keep repeating that pattern over and over and over again. So instead, be aware, if you’re in a pattern of, well, I burn myself out, and then I rest and then I burn myself out and I rest. There’s just a pattern that keeps repeating. But once you start to become aware of it, you can, again, do something different and you can start to get a different outcome so that you don’t land yourself right back into that burnout. Burnout is absolutely no fun. And it’s really a whole lot easier to just avoid it completely. If we are more aware of where we need that rest, right and then actually doing it.
Okay, you guys, if you’re struggling with burnout, I hope this helps to start looking at where you’re burned out the choices that you’re making. Know that you always have a choice to do something different. And ask yourself is this choice I’m making self-honoring or self-dishonouring? Is it empowering me? Is it disempowering me? I love that question. It just always really stops me in my track because I intuitively know hey, this choice I’m making is either going to help me or it’s going to harm me. And I hope that you make a choice which helps you and loves you and supports you and respects you because that’s what you deserve.
All right, you guys if you need more help with this, I’d love to be the person that helps you. Come check me out at bestplannerever.com or you can visit my coaching website which is jenniferdawncoaching.com. Of course we’ll put links in the show notes in the episodes, you can Goal Achievers, which is a monthly life coaching program. Or if you’re a business owner, come join me in Inner Circle. I also do private coaching and we will help you achieve your dreams together and achieve your goals and just blast all the stuff out of your path that might be stopping you or blocking you. Okay, that’s it you guys get out there and have a beautiful Happy Productive day!