It’s not a lack of sleep, it’s a lack of time out, a lack of simply being.
Burnout is not staying up late, it’s the endless emotional demands of you. It’s the endless caring about and for other people, it’s putting their needs before yours, it’s giving everything you have to other people and having nothing left for yourself.
I’m there. Or at least I was. A Week ago I met up with a group of women business owners and I cried. When it was my turn to update on my business, I sobbed as I told them I had nothing left. Nothing left to give my family, my friends, my clients. I am burnt out.
And I knew what I needed to do, I just needed to have someone else acknowledge that I had these feelings. Because it’s so hard to talk to those around you when they are the ones you are caring for, they are the ones whose needs are coming above yours.
And so, slowly this week I have begun to put in place the systems and plans I need to heal my burnout. I can feel my creative juices are flowing again. The words are coming and I’m writing this for you, knowing that if not right now, there will come a day when this can help you. Not only to find the systems and ideas to heal but also to know that you’re not alone and that you’re understood.
For me burnout makes me feel disconnected from myself. I can’t plough straight into a long meditation because I can’t switch off, it’s too intense, but I can get out my coloured pencils and coloured biros and doodle and colour. It’s relaxing because I’m not focusing on anything in particular but I have to concentrate. The most important decision is which colour will I use. There’s no right or wrong and there’s no rules about how it looks or how I do it. It’s all my decision.
There can be too much pressure to do the relaxation thing ‘right’. People ‘teach’ meditation. Yes, there’s lots of kinds of meditation but the right kind for you is the one you enjoy and the one you like. I’ve gone through cycles of mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, walking meditation, mantra. Right now, I’m choosing colouring as my way of connecting and meditating. It won’t stay like this, I’ll change and go with the flow as my burnout heals.
I’m taking essential oils. I’m using them in different ways; on my chakra bracelet that I got for my birthday, in a diffuser, in my oil burner and I’m drinking them in a special blend tea. They are helping me relax, focus and energise.
I’m going to bed earlier, I’m watching Netflix. Doesn’t sound so spiritual but it’s time just for me, when I can switch off from the real world, I engage in someone else’s emotions, empathise but without needing to care too much. I’m reminding myself that I can’t nurture others whilst I’m in burnout myself.
As I’m coming out the other side, I can feel the plans coming together for the new improved Beautiful Swans programme. Ideas are flowing, I’m going to have some great perks for those who come on board in the early stages. I’m excited about helping a new cohort. But I’m taking it slow, so that I’m match fit before I press go.
Are you or have you suffered with burnout? How did you heal? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.