We have discussed the three different aspects of burnout: spiritual, mental, and physical. We also talked about the importance of self care and now I want to talk about how to combat burnout. It may not look like it right now but you can recover from burnout and prevent it from happening again.
The first thing to do is admit that you are suffering with burnout. It’s time to be honest with yourself and realize it’s time to take back control of your life. You don’t have to keep going from chaos to chaos and from crisis to crisis. It’s time to stop the vicious cycle and here are some tips and practical things you can do right now to SYS: Save Your Self.
- Wake up early. Make a plan to began getting up earlier in the morning. I use to get out of bed in just enough time to get ready for work. I set myself up for chaos by doing this. I started waking up 15 minutes early everyday for a week. The next week I got up 15 minutes earlier. I kept doing this until I now get up at 5:30 am every morning. Now I have time for prayer, bible study, exercise and breakfast all before getting ready for work
- Organize your day. Set goals for what you need to accomplish for the day. I have started making goals and lists for what I want to accomplish for the week on Sunday night. Each night look back at your weekly goals and plan your daily goals according to what you want to complete for the week. Sometimes goals change and you have to be flexible and account for distractions. Having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish helps to deal with those interruptions and problems quickly so you can get back on track.
- Learn the art of saying NO. Not everyone’s emergency is your emergency. You don’t have to be everything for everyone. Sometimes the most empowering thing you can do for someone is tell them no and make them problem solve for themselves. We all have people in our lives that want to drain all of our energy and pull us into their wormhole of complaints and issues. Learn how to make those people problem solve for themselves. When they come to you with a problem or task for you to do, ask them what is their plan for solving the problem and taking care of it themselves.
- Delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Remember the saying if you want something done right, do it yourself? Well that’s a bunch of LIES! Give tasks away to people around you and give them a deadline to complete it. God has placed people around you who are more than capable of carrying out a plan of action. However you must always inspect what you expect. Give detailed instructions and follow up with members of your team for progress and keep them on task. There is nothing more gratifying than to have a team of people executing a plan perfectly with your guidance and leadership.
- Reconnect with God. Talk to Him. Ask him to remind you of your purpose and mission. I pray throughout the day for wisdom and direction. Spend time in the morning in prayer. Jesus made the way available to us to have relationship with the Father. He can connect you back to your purpose and refresh you. Father God I pray for refreshing and repairing for your people in Jesus Name!
- Be thankful. Having a grateful heart eliminates negative thoughts.
- Eat breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. The simplest things can be the easiest to forget. Don’t skip meals and eat clean and healthy, not junk through a fast food restaurant. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats can fuel your body and give you the energy you need throughout the day. If we were going on a long trip in our car we would get the oil and engine checked, tires checked and fill it up with gas. But when we get up in the morning for a 24 hour journey in our bodies we run on empty until we feel lightheaded or sick and then we eat. We treat our cars better than our bodies. If you skip meals or eat late in the day, then start eating earlier regardless if you’re hungry or not.
- Drink water. Water hydrates us and flushes toxins out of our bodies that can cause increased stress. Water is refreshing
- Sleep. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night. This is the time that your body repairs itself. You need sleep. Sleep also aid in weight loss and it reduces stress. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours regularly are at higher risk for developing dementia than people who sleep 7-8 hours routinely.
- Exercise. Exercise like fast walking, running and lifting weights release hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones in the body. Go on a good brisk walk in the morning and evenings to reduce stress.
- Have fun! Do something you enjoy like going to the movies, the museum, go on a hike or get a massage. I like getting my hair and nails done for relaxation. I also like writing as hobby, hence the blog. What do you like to do? What brings you pleasure? As long as it’s not illegal or harmful to others and the environment go for it! Have some fun for goodness sakes.
If you are in crisis and you feel like you can’t take another second, then don’t. Go on vacation, take some time off from work. Just don’t make any decisions about your future when you are in this emotional state. Take sometime away to get yourself together. And if the thought of that is overwhelming to you (I’ve been there before) then seek professional help. I spent time with a life coach and he helped me to gain perspective on what I really wanted out of my life. With the help of a life coach I was able to get back control of my life. You may need a life coach or a counselor but there is help out there for you. Many companies have employee assistance programs that has counseling available. Some of these things cost money but you are worth the investment.
God has so many great things for you. Don’t let burnout take you away from your dreams and aspirations. I know it gets hard and it seems like everyone wants a piece of you and you’re pulled in a million directions. No matter how out of control it gets you still have the power to Save Your Self. If you have questions, comments or just need prayer I am available. Just know that you can and will fight burnout and stay the course.
The last few days we’ve discussed spiritual burnout and mental spiritual burnout. Today I want to tackle physical burnout. We identify most with the signs and symptoms of physical burnout because they are hard to ignore. Some of those symptoms are lack of sleep, chronic fatigue, easily susceptible to illnesses due to low immune system, weight gain or loss, elevated cortisol levels. Some people may even experience chest pain, muscle aches, shortness of breath, dizziness and headaches. If you are experiencing these symptoms it could be the sign of a serious medical condition and I would advise you to seek medical attention. Prolonged periods of stress can have detrimental effects on your body.
Elevated cortisol levels can lead to the body being in a flight or fight syndrome. Cortisol is the hormone that regulates parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system or fight or flight. These cascade of hormones controls the body’s response to stress. It can elevate blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and even cause the body to store fat. Prolonged elevated cortisol levels lead to weight gain and stubborn body fat. People also have a tendency to gain weight because they eat more when they are stressed. I know for a fact that I am a stress eater. When you are burnout and always feel pressed for time, you lack the energy or time to cook meals. The first thing you do is go through a drive thru. That food is higher in fat, sugar and sodium which also leads to weight gain. See a pattern here. Stress can cause you to eat more of the wrong foods due to convenience and you have hormones causing you to store fat. However, there are those who do the opposite. When they get stressed their stomach becomes upset or painful which causes them to avoid eating. If they are constantly stressed they eat very little or go for extended periods of time without eating. This could cause weight loss, but not in a good way. Instead of losing fat, the body holds on to fat and muscle is wasted. These people are usually thin but flabby or lack muscle tone and strength.
Prolonged extreme stress is not good for your body. Self care is so important. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to see your doctor. This way you can rule out any underlying physical condition that can lead to chronic illness and get it treated quickly if needed. Next I will talk about how to combat burnout and prevent it. I have a lot of great tips to share that will really help get you on track. Stay tuned!
I have been on this healthier me journey for 3 years but I became serious about it on December 23, 2015. That was the day that I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. I always said by my 40th birthday I wanted to be fit and fabulous, but I procrastinated. By the time I hit 40 I weighed in the 180’s and by 41 I weighed 190 lbs. Getting out of bed in the morning took 20-30 minutes because my knees ached. I had to take a pain reliever to go to bed and rub muscle cream on my joints in the morning to get up. My stomach hurt all the time and I was always tired. Sometimes I would drive with the car windows down just to keep from falling asleep on the way home from work in the afternoons. My other morning chore was getting ready for work. Going up and down the stairs in my home would cause severe shortness of breath. It would take 5 minutes to catch my breath after walking up 10 stairs. Walking down the stairs was hard on my knees. After showering, I would take another 5-10 minute break to catch my breath. I often had chest pains associated with stress and high level activity and my cholesterol levels were through the roof. As you can tell I was far from being fit and I did not feel fabulous. My turning point however was 12-23-2015. My coworker had bought us all calorie counting books for Christmas. I had been going to the gym since April of 2015 and was very faithful about going. I even got a few other coworkers to join the gym as well. But my eating habits were horrible and I was burnt out–spiritually, mentally and physically. I knew how to smile and put on a front like I was ok, but I wasn’t. My coworkers and I were all eager to get started with diets at the beginning of the year and we knew these books would help. I got the smart idea to start using the book right away to count up how many calories I was currently ingesting. Of course I shared the idea with everyone else in the office and we decided to do it together. This book had calories broken down into fats, sugar, sodium and fiber from chain restaurants. At the time my favorite restaurant was Dairy Queen and I went every day. The day before I had a flame thrower 1/2 pound burger, onion rings, large sweet tea and a medium strawberry quake blizzard. All of that came to a whopping 3000 calories. I ate more than anyone else in that office combined! My coworkers laughed at me hysterically and laughed along with them, but inside I was angry. Not at them for laughing but at myself for being so out of control. I made a determination that day my life would change. I began to do the things that I knew were right to do. Instead of going through a drive thru I went to the nearest grocery store and bought a salad and water for lunch. I also bought fruit and unsalted nuts for a snack and I was never going to feel that shame and embarrassment again.
When you are serious about change you start that second. That’s what I did. It took dedication and discipline I didn’t even knew I had to continue my healthy eating habits through the holiday season. I even baked cakes for my family and didn’t touch any of it. I stuck to eating vegetables, fruit and lean meat and increased water intake. I began getting up at 6 am everyday to pray and study scripture. I now get up at 5:15 am and my goal is to wake up at 5 every morning. I found a lady on Facebook by the name of JJ Smith who is the author of the 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. She looked the way I wanted to look and she is a few years older than me so I bought her book. I had already bought smoothies from the Juice Bar and was familiar with making smoothies and juicing, but her book took me to another level. It was hard and it wasn’t always pleasant, but I started to notice a difference in the way I felt by day 6. My energy level improved, my chest pain was gone and my mood elevated. I had started doing a special weak knees exercise my husband sent me and my knee pain was improving. By day 10 I had lost 5 pounds, the most weight I had lost in a long time. I also fluctuated a lot in my weight but I was determined to keep going because I felt so good. By February 2016 I lost another 7 pounds. I kept doing the green smoothie cleanse once a month for 10 days. I struggled with moving the scale during those first six months but I learned to look for other victories to motivate me. I looked thinner and I felt great. Between prayer, renewing my mind, and healthy clean eating with movement, my life became healthier and happier. To date I have lost 40 lbs. and I am in a size 6 dress. I still want to lose another 5-10 lbs and have a completely sugar free diet. Sometimes I mess up and I don’t feel like exercising, but my goal is to get it right more than I get it wrong. Like JJ says it’s not about perfection, but progress!