“I ran around like a maniac last week, doing all the mental back-to-school shopping”
“Summer was great, but now it’s back to the crazy time of year”
“I feel stuck”
“I don’t know what my hobbies are anymore”
“Time is flying by so fast, I can’t even remember what I did yesterday”
Sound familiar? These are just a few things that came up in conversation with some friends recently. They are all hardworking women. They are faced with high expectations every day. They are under a great deal of pressure. Pressure placed on them by family, jobs, finances, even themselves. They differ a little in the ages and stages of life, but one thing these women all have in common: they are very, very busy.
This got me thinking:
Is ‘Busy’ the New ‘fine’?
Being “busy” has replaced being “fine.” The week is for work or bringing up small children, or both. Weekends involve chores/groceries/long drives to see family, and maybe a yoga class squeezed in between a little bit more work and laundry. For most women, there is just too much to do. Or at least it feels that way.
In a culture that glorifies perfection, a new breed of woman has emerged. She is hyper-busy, and she appears flawless. If you fall into this category, tread carefully or you risk burnout. Burnout shows up in our lives in one or many ways, and it manifests as physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms that closely resemble illness, depression, and/or anxiety. Symptoms include:
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Frequent headaches or aches and pains
- Feeling helpless, trapped, or defeated
- Loss of motivation
- General Indifference
- Isolating yourself from others
- Feeling ill or lowered immunity
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Taking out frustrations on others
- Feeling like you’ve “lost yourself”
Several studies have shown that women feel under more pressure and stress than men, both inside and outside of the workplace. Depression and anxiety among young people is now at an all-time high. According to Mind.org.uk, 1 in 6 people in England report experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week. The research tells us that busy, modern life is not great for our mental health.
So, what can we do about that? We all just want to be awesome!
Well, I’m glad you asked because there are 7 things you can do that will actually increase your awesomeness, and help prevent or improve burnout symptoms:
1) Re-evaluate your priorities: Stop busying yourself so hard. It’s ok to say “no” to tasks you don’t have time or, frankly, you just don’t enjoy. This also applies to spending time with people who suck your energy. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to more fulfilling activities.
2) Take mini-breaks during the work day: During the work day, step away from your computer and take a walk. Even just 5 minutes in the fresh air will help. Have lunch away from your desk if you can. Take long a weekend once and a while. A break from work doesn’t have to be a two-week holiday. Keep it simple. Simplicity is good.
3) Stop scrolling your life away: Put away your smartphone when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to scroll the night away. Don’t scroll away your lunch break either.
4) Do something creative: Studies show that doing an activity you find interesting is better for you than loafing around, even when you feel exhausted. If you’re too tired for exercise, why not nourish your creative side and try drawing, painting, crafting, or cooking up a new recipe? But you don’t have to get fancy. Find a rock, paint it, put it on a shelf, admire it once and a while. Done.
5) Don’t behave yourself: Routine, sameness and monotony make life boring, so do something out of your comfort zone. For the ultimate in apple-deliciousness, sneak into your neighbours garden and pick a few. Wear the shoes you’re saving for a special occasion. Buy a lobster for dinner. Read something naughty. If someone asks you how you’re doing, tell them the truth. Next full moon, go outside and HOWWWLLL your ass off (I highly recommend this last one).
6) Try self-care Sunday: Treat yourself to a ritual instead of a regime. A skin care ritual that uses aromatherapy to enhance relaxation, dissolve stress and lift your mood is an easy way to get an instant boost. We have just released our new Minis to help make it easier to customise weekend facial mini-breaks. Now you can get small sizes of our Enzyme Mask, Frankin-Sense Cream and Superfood Serum! Read in a comfy spot for an hour. We’re LOVING Women Who Run With The Wolves. Get your hands in the dirt. Gardening is a great way to instantly feel connected, grounded and peaceful. To end the day, melt into a warm bath with some epsom salts, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils. Studies* show that regular baths are better at relieving anxiety than prescription pills.
7) Get a bit more sleep: This one is so important! Without good quality sleep, the body can’t restore itself and neither can the mind. Aim for an earlier bedtime and at least one-hour of technology-free down time beforehand.
If you feel like you’re burning-out, it’s an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about what that might be. Questions to ask yourself are: What really brings me joy? What are my hopes, goals, and dreams? Am I neglecting something that is truly important to me? Where am I directing my energy into?
Often thought of as a weakness, burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what you really want out of life. It is your body’s clever way of asking you to slow down, and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal. Don’t ignore its signals.
Remember, you were born to be AWESOME, NOT PERFECT.
Read more about the causes, signs, symptoms and prevention of burnout here.
* Research from the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal found that Balneotherapy daily for eight weeks is more effective at easing anxiety than some prescription drugs.