By MARTHA MOORE
Striving to do it all, to look like we’ve always got it together, to be uber-successful comes with a price. The price is burnout. Burnout affects you adversely on all levels of your being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Burnout is showing up in baby-boomers more than any other group of individuals. The reason it is so common among baby-boomers is because the effects of our fast-paced, high-stress, lifestyles are cumulative. Baby-boomers have just been doing it longer than Gen Xers and Millennials. It’s more like it’s just a ticking time bomb for you younger folk…So the earlier you identify the signs that you are experiencing burnout, the easier it is to begin to make changes that will get you out of burnout and keep you happy, healthy and loving life again.
Here are seven signs that indicate you are suffering from burnout. How many of these do you identify with?
- Dread – You dread getting up in the morning and going to work
- Emotional Outbursts – You are easily irritated and frustrated with others
- Overwhelm – You feel overwhelmed and anxious daily
- Overmedication/Overeat – You rely on meds/alcohol/comfort foods to get through the day and night
- Hopelessness – You’ve given up hope that things can change
- Falling Behind – You can’t keep up with everything you used to be able to do
- Chronic Illness – You seem to be always catching colds / illness
If you relate to any of these, you are depleting yourself energetically and it’s time to restore your body back into balance. So what do you do about it before it begins to destroy your relationships, your career, your health? And how do you get back to a life without anxiety, constant stress, hopelessness?
The first and most critical step is acknowledging that you have a problem, just like an addiction, that needs to be addressed. This is particularly difficult with burnout because the signs of burnout have actually become the new normal for many of us. How many times a day do you, or someone you know, talk about one of the seven signs mentioned above as a part of your life? I was at the gym just this morning and 5 of the 7 signs were discussed within the period of one 45-minute class. It’s almost as if it’s what’s expected of us now. We are even encouraged to strive for more in fact. And this isn’t a new phenomenon. The term “supermom” has been used for decades to mean you have really made it as a woman who can do it all. Only it didn’t take long for the supermom to realize that it wasn’t sustainable, in fact, all those supermoms realized what a problem it was and how it was affecting their physical, emotional and mental well-being. So “supermom” went by the wayside. And yet, all of the lofty expectations of the supermom didn’t go away. We only succeeded in replacing her with the “wonder woman” of the new millennium. We can still do it all and then some!!! Right? Acknowledging that stress, anxiety, overmedicating, overwhelm, sleepless nights, etc. are signs of a deeper, systemic problem of burnout is the first step to actually doing something about it. If you don’t do this first, you won’t be motivated to make the changes that are critical to moving out of burnout and back into a life that you know you deserve.
The second step is to begin to change your environment so that you are surrounded by a network of support that will help you actually implement the changes you need to make. Just like an addict does when they go into rehab and then after rehab, go to AA meetings, you will want to do things like join a yoga or meditation class and GO to it consistently, set up time in your week for your down time and don’t let anyone take that time away from you – put it on your calendar and treat it as if it’s an actual appointment and don’t cancel it for anything. Take yourself out of situations that have been toxic for you in the past. Maybe you have a friend who is constantly triggering you. Why not take a step back from that friendship for a while to give the both of you some time to regroup, refresh and start again?
The third step is to find mentors/ coaches/ teachers that will help you make the changes. In AA they have mentors. If you don’t think your problem is equivalent to an addiction, remember that successful people will also tell you they have mentors and coaches and sometimes more than one. Oprah Winfrey has several coaches/mentors. Olympic athletes don’t get to where they are without the support and guidance of their coaches. Just because it is possible to do it all by yourself, doesn’t mean that is the best, most effective and fastest way to do it.
Finally, you must commit to making the changes. You have to really want to change in order to make it happen.
Won’t it be great to actually wake up every morning excited about what the day ahead of you has to bring without the stress, anxiety, overwhelm, frequent emotional outbursts, dread, sleepless nights?
Martha Moore, CPA, MBA Transformational Life Coach & Founder of The Free Spirit Project, LLC
Martha Moore is a transformational life coach known for her unique style of no-nonsense and insightful guidance. She started her career almost 30 years ago, receiving her MBA and practicing as a CPA for several years, before leaving a successful career behind to follow her heart by travelling the world. She worked her way around Australia for two years, spent three months on an African safari, travelled alone through the Middle East and volunteered for a year in India. After years of international travel and study, she settled in Colorado to become a life coach, teacher, author, and mentor. For the past 15 years, she has devoted her life to helping others discover the joy of following their own hearts and uncover the courage, strength and passion that is within.