“Hmm, this really sounds like me!”
This thought crossed my mind a few times as I researched the symptoms of burnout for my Psychology Honours dissertation.
Then I remembered that we’d learned there is a syndrome where those studying to become doctors or psychologists often believe that they meet the criteria for the diagnosis.
I decided that must be what was happening.
A couple of years later, when I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, I looked back and realised “Of course I was burnt out and how could I not have realised?” It was actually so obvious.
Aren’t most things more obvious with hindsight?!
So why didn’t I recognise it? Well, 1) I needed to be OK so I could keep going and complete the year, 2) I needed to keep living life the way I had always lived it as it helped me feel capable and good about myself and 3) I didn’t have anyone on the outside to reflect what they were seeing. I didn’t have someone say to me “Perhaps you should slow down. I’m worried you are burning out”. (Maybe I wasn’t ready to listen?!)
So I’d like to be that person for you if you’re ready?
Could you perhaps be battling with burnout and/or adrenal depletion?
Here are 15 symptoms of burnout you may experience:
- Irritation and/or depression (just generally feeling unable to tolerate much before easily experiencing an emotional response)
- Lack of motivation (no longer feeling like you have the drive to do what you could normally do)
- Lack of interest (no longer feeling you could even be bothered. This can feel similar to a lack of joy or flat emotion – in which case that can also be a sign of depression).
- Others’ needs feel demanding (which links to the next point)
- Everything feels overwhelming (it all just feels too much and this can create a feeling of panic and anxiety)
- Physically you may be feeling dizzy and not so centered in your body
- Fatigue that persists even after a good nights’ sleep
- Foggy thinking (e.g. you can’t find words while speaking or can’t remember names)
- Difficulty being creative
- Sense of urgency and scarcity (there never seems to be enough – enough time, enough money, enough energy).
- Low energy (feeling flat and unable to do things you’d usually be able to do with more ease. It can feel like you have to drag yourself around)
- Needing stimulants to keep you going (My vices were a mochaccino and a muffin!)
- Craving salty foods (this can be linked to low blood pressure as well)
- Weakened immune system and often becoming ill (when I worked in the prison system I came down with every flu and cold that was going around).
- Finding yourself scrolling through social media for far longer than you intended while trying to muster the energy for your next task.
I thought I would write this post as I found myself feeling some burnout/nervous system activation last week following two weeks of ill children and then a severely ill cat thrown in the mix, following which I then started with a scratchy throat and feeling tired. While I was cooking dinner my dog started nosing her empty water bowl around on the tiled floor to get my attention. The sound was too much and I shouted a few choice words at her resulting in me needing to put some money in our family swear jar!
I had to laugh at myself as I noticed my low tolerance for sound, my general irritation and the feeling that her need for water was just too much on top of everything else. This was all besides the fact that I had noticed I had been battling to find the right words when I was speaking.
So I knew that my nervous system had been activated for a bit too long and it was time to take more drastic action than I had been, because, left for too long this nervous system activation accumulates and can lead to physical imbalance and chronic fatigue which is difficult to heal.
Do you recognise yourself in the above symptoms? We all go through them at times, like I did last week. What’s important is recognising the nervous system activation and addressing it before the symptoms become chronic and your health and wellbeing is impacted.
How can I help you?
In my 1:1 Fatigue to Flow coaching programme I coach my clients to become more aware of what nervous system activation looks like in their own lives (how it affects their behaviours and is felt in their bodies), we explore why it all came about in the first place and address unresolved inner child patterns and even traumas. We explore the Polvvagal theory of stress to understand chronic activation and look at different ways to calm the nervous system and tone the vagus nerve. There is a focus on how to bring a sense of safety and trust to life (this is a more spiritual focus and is relevant to all forms of spirituality) and how to actually re-wire the body to feel more safe, held and supported so that daily life is experienced with more ease and flow. We focus on building intuition to support this. Finally, I share the power of leveraging natural cycles and rhythms to get more done with less stress and to give from a full cup and not an empty one.
This coaching helps you to take the power back into your hands so you don’t just have to rely on others to have the answers. And in doing so, you may well be surprised how much you learn about yourself, your purpose and how you can shine brighter and share your gifts more widely in the world without burning out!
I currently have the space to take on a few more coaching clients. If you’re keen to see if it’s a good fit then set up a complimentary discovery call here. I’ll do a brief BodyTalk session before the call to provide more insight about any body and mind imbalance that needs to be addressed and then we can take it from there…..!!
Burnout doesn’t have to become a life sentence…..