What is better than having to beat burnout? Avoiding it all together!
In all honesty, I used to think people complaining they were tired was just an indication they needed to improve their health and do a bit more for their wellbeing. But then I experienced fatigue 😩. Fatigue isn’t just tired, it is debilitating in so many ways. Something that still haunts my memories. Fortunately I was able to beat burnout, but I wish I had the knowledge to avoid it all together.
However, there are lessons to be gained in every experience. So despite the few years of desperation and fatigue, I gained much strength and wisdom to now share with others.
My greatest mistake was not taking notice of the warning signs. I had many, but thought I was indestructible and kept pushing through. For me the signs were sudden fatigue after a small amount of exertion, constantly picking up every cold and flu going, over thinking and stressing about unnecessary situations. Despite this though, I kept on pushing myself until my body said enough was enough and I hit burnout.
My definition of burnout is extreme fatigue that impacts the ability to do every day activities. Psychology Today Australia defines it as ‘a state of emotional, mental and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged and repeated stress‘. For months my life consisted of just getting my children to and from school. That was all I could deal with.
I searched for answers relentlessly, hoping for a quick fix. But I kept spiraling downwards and my mind and body fell to an all time low.
Eventually I realized the only person that could help me was myself. I committed to working on my mind initially and the body came later. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. But, I was determined to beat burnout,
Along the journey I gained strength and wisdom, with many life lessons. Some of the most valuable lessons I gained are as follows.
Your Health is Your Greatest Asset
‘When you have your health you have a thousand dreams, when you don’t, you have just one’ – Proverbs. I was so distraught at myself from not valuing what I had, especially when not knowing if I would ever get it back. All I wanted was my health and energy so I could live each day with ease. Never will I take my health for granted again.
Listen To Your Body
If you’re getting signs or indicators that something may not be right with your health, take note of it. Get yourself checked or identify ways to assist the problem. Don’t dismiss the warning signs.
Great Health Requires A Balance
Just focusing on one area of health can be unhealthy. In my case I was exercising well, fit, eating healthy foods (although in hindsight was probably a little too obsessive with being strict). However, other areas of my health were not balanced. My stress levels were extreme as well as my mental overload. I wasn’t allowing a lot of time for rest and recovery also. Balance in health is key.
The Mind Is Powerful
Much of my recovery had to stem from the mind. Our mind can be our greatest asset or can destroy us. My mind, stress, thoughts, anxiety were physically draining me. I allowed it to control me and spiral me down to a dark place that took significant work each and every day to slowly drag myself back up. This challenge made me realize the power of the mind and the importance of mental well-being, which I now work on daily. My blog here covers more on this area.
Nutrition Can Make A Big Difference
A key part of my recovery was the implementation of adaptogens. I am not claiming they cure anything, but they assisted my mind to be a little more calm and elevated my energy so I could participate in necessary mindset work without as much overwhelm. Quality nutrition certainly helped my overall well-being and energy to slowly improve each day.
It Is OK To Rest
Sleep is so important and taking time to rest if you feel you need it. Too often we may feel lazy for taking an easy day or having a nap if we need one. At times however, it may be essential. Again, listen to your body and acknowledge what it needs.
We Are Not Super Human
I was naïve in thinking I could do it all… work, train, study, be a Mum, keep a household, eat like an athlete. Aiming for perfection in all areas of life and doing it all didn’t turn out well for me. At times we have to let a few expectations go, learn to say no, and be ok with not everything being perfect or immaculate. Life is messy, as are aspects of it. Choose your messy…. messy house or messed up life?
I would have given anything for a quick fix, but I had to accept it was going to take time. It was frustrating and often felt like one step forward and 2 back. But, time was necessary. It was the time that allowed me to learn the valuable lessons. To grow and gain wisdom, to do the mental work that was necessary. To allow me to eventually come back stronger in many ways. Without the time enforcement, I would never have gained from the experience what I did. As crazy as it sounds, I am now grateful for it. But would never choose to go back there again. Ever!
It is often through our most painful experiences that we gain the greatest lessons. However, I hope my lessons can be reflected onto others to avoid them taking the same path. Don’t be like me and have to beat burnout, avoid it.
Look after your health. Value it. Don’t ever take it for granted.