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How to come back from the brink of burnout.

As featured in Brainz Magazine:


Many Australians are feeling overwhelmed and simultaneously empty right now, no it's not just the usual Christmas busyness – burnout is becoming a very real risk to businesses and families.




Burnout refers to that feeling when you are exhausted, maybe beyond caring. You have much to do and are struggling to find any fuel left in the tank, yet you have to keep going.  You have been managing too many competing responsibilities for too long – it feels like something is about to topple. Burnout results in a state of mind of defensiveness, cynicism, frustration, and aggravation. Eventually, we numb out into a state of hypo-arousal. Left unchecked burnout will impact relationships, work performance, and your overall health.  If you are experiencing these feelings and situations it is important to reach out for support. Speak to your GP about a mental health treatment plan for access to a quality therapist.


So – how to identify it and then address it?


First let's take a look at the landscape around us, without emphasizing it too much, we collectively suffered a shock to the system 3 years ago. As we Australians do, we muddled through, put on a bright face, and waited to return to normal. Many of us had a long hard look at our lives and made some major changes. In earnest, we started 2023 with hope and optimism for a better world. However, we were yet to face the reality of the longer-term financial and production implications of COVID. By and large, 2023 has been all about attempting to recover.


OVID

OVID is a word that has been coined to describe that sense of apathy and overwhelm experienced simultaneously. It describes the ‘over it’ feeling of post-pandemic stress, ‘I am so over this, yet I am unsure about how to move on’.

Life is too short to feel like this - Let's make 2024 the year of rejuvenation.


Where to start:

It is important to take some time to reflect on how you are feeling in your mind and body. You can start by completing a questionnaire such as the burnout self-test, available here: https://www.mindtools.com/auhx7b3/burnout-self-test


It is often interesting to note the questions asked in these questionnaires as they act as signposts to how burnout feels.

Burn out levels vary. You may find that self care is not enough, or maybe you are the sort of person who likes to have a coach. If so, help is available through many avenues. Please see a list of services at the end of this article. In the mean time – here are some useful tips.


Your plan for recovery

Recovery does not need to be long and arduous. You can start today with small steps to build a full recovery plan. A great recovery plan covers three key elements:


Values and passion

Daily self-care routine

Noticing your progress





The importance of values:


Being aware of our values is a strong strategy for decision-making. We can use this across all domains of our life. Out lives are so jammed packed, we often neglect to review our values and whether we are living by them. In my role as a psychotherapist, this is the most common oversight that I witness in people. When our values and lifestyles, or our values and the organisations we associate with are not aligned, we tend to notice an uneasy feeling, or a feeling of emptiness.

And so, it is time to get clear on your passions and values. Take some time to reflect on the following questions:


What are your values?

Are your values aligned with your everyday life?  

Are your values aligned with the values of the people you work with the most?

What sparks joy & passion in you?

Sloan has written a great article here: https://www.brainzmagazine.com/post/the-power-of-your-values


Daily Self-care:

Self care means different things to different people. Essentially it refers to those activities we do that help us to relax and rejuvenate. It is of course important to get a balance of work and play into every day. It is important to honestly assess if your hobbies are relaxing.

Other considerations not covered in this article include diet, sleep and the quality of our relationships.


A great place to start is by using the wonderfully free resource of breathwork. Breathwork is scientifically proven to improve mood, concentration, and creativity.

Next, look at your daily routine, is there space for daily self-care in there?


Create a self-care plan:


Grab a jotter – make a plan: For any plan to work, you need commitment. Start by writing down your commitment to yourself. Why are you doing this? What are you changing? What will life look and feel like once you have made these changes?

Now jot down 4-5 ‘quick’ self care techniques that you know you can use daily. Robinson's article contains a nice list.

You may also like to download a great free app called ‘insight timer’. This app offers a wide variety of daily practices.

My personal favourites are Nadi Shodana or shitali (Robinson). You may also like to include stretching, herbal tea, 5 min mindful break, and so on.

Next, look at your commitments each week and decide when you are going to take some time for yourself every day. On the days when you have an hour – go for a walk, hit the gym. On the other days: stretch while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, pause for 1 min at your desk and slow your breath down, or bring your brain awareness from your thoughts to your body by squeezing your right thumb with the fingers of your left hand.

These small exercises are efficient as they calm our nervous system, think of them as a zen top-up to address the 3 pm slump.


Notice your progress:


Noticing your wins is a great motivator. Every week or month, reflect on how your self-care is going. What is working well? Why is it working? What is not working so well? Why not?  Take a selfie every month and notice how your face changes as you become more rejuvenated.

We are by no means fully recovered from covid, it has had a deep impact on all of us. It is time to address its impacts in a meaningful way. This article has outlined practical means to begin your recovery.


I will be offering ‘get your mojo back’ coaching packages in 2024 to support professionals to get back to their fully productive selves. Watch my socials for updates. In the meantime – all the best for the year of rejuvenation and recovery from ‘OVID’ – LETS DO THIS!

 

Support Line numbers:

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Find a therapist:

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