That feeling when everything is just too much. Extreme tiredness. All of a sudden, the things that were used to be fun are so heavy. A lack of interest in things, feeling negative emotions like frustration, anger or sadness all the time. The experiencing of chronic stress. An ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment, in work and life. Physical and emotional exhaustion. Feeling like there’s a dark shadow over your life. The light has been blown out.
Burn out often goes further than just only job stress. It takes over your whole life and being and it doesn’t go away by itself. The high demands and expectations of society nowadays don’t improve the workaholic state of a perfectionist either. You really have to make drastic changes in life and it can take some time to find a balance between energy givers and takers.
Eleven things that will refuel your engine and set your life back on fire
1. Listen to your body and follow your heart. Learn to recognize the physical signs that indicate you’re overstressed (for example headaches, stiff shoulders and neck, stomach pain) and in which situations they occur. Similarly, become aware of the things that make you really happy. Before you go to sleep, look back to what made you smile within during that day. See if you can discover a pattern over time in this and focus on your heart makers instead of your heart breakers.
2. Nurture yourself in the right way. Give yourself the nutrition you need, which is not always that you’re craving for. Built up a supportive diet, with healthy clean food full of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Be careful with sugars and carbs, they will only give you short-term gratification, but won’t nurture you in the long term. Nourishment comes in different ways. Find out for yourself what is really soothing you.
3. Surround yourself with uplifting people. Reflect upon your social circle. Which people make your heart tick and which ones are making you feel more dead than alive? Stop pleasing people. Ask yourself every time you meet someone whether you do this for yourself or to please another?
4. Be active. Although it sounds contradictory if you’re suffering from exhaustion. Move. Activation is one of the keys to change people’s moods positively. Through exercise and movement, the release of ‘feel good’ brain chemicals is being activated. It increases serotonin production and can reduce immune system chemicals that can worsen your mood.
5. Create a structure and routine. Plan your day and make sure that you make adequate decisions about your health, nutrition and sleep, relaxation time and quality time with loved ones. The ability to stick to the routine will help you boost your self-esteem, something that may have burned out too.
6. Work on healthy boundary setting. Make a list of what’s really important in your life and dedicate time and attention to this. Learn to say no to others and find out that people will respect you for this. By caring less about others, they will care more about you.
7. Take time to breathe and relax. Fit in a practice of relaxation techniques in your daily life. Find a way that works for you, based on your needs, your lifestyle and the way you tend to react to stress. Relaxation techniques in combination with proper breathing exercises, releases deeply stored tension and stress in the body on the level of the autonomic nervous system.
8. Practice yoga. Mindful movements with conscious awareness has demonstrated to have a much more beneficial impact on the central nervous system than other forms of physical exercise. Practicing yoga increases the relaxation response over the stress response in the body. Also, stretching the muscles releases endorphins, the hormones that create a happy feeling and reduces pain. Moreover, the practice of yoga decreases physiological arousal resulting in a lowering of the heart rate and blood pressure and eases respiration. The heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly, is being increased through practicing yoga.
9. Decrease impulses from outside. Detach from your electronic devices and television. Integrate quiet time before you go to sleep. Delegate certain times to check your email. Less is more. Find simplicity in your life and detachment from things that are overwhelming you.
10. Find your passion. What makes you really feel alive apart from everything? Find a hobby outside of your work what you love to do. Make a bucket list of things you always wanted to do in your life and just do it. Set goals on how to incorporate this in your daily life. Do at least one thing every day that makes you happy.
11. Practice mindfulness. Learn that enough is enough. There will always be something to work on and things will never be perfect. Become a human being instead of a human doing. Step out of the train of thoughts in your head and learn to be with whatever there is. Observe yourself from a distance. Focus on acceptance and compassion that will make your life much easier. Let go of emotions and identifications. Detach. You are not your burn out. It’s a state of being that comes and goes and you are more than that.
Written by Anouk Prop