What is burnout?
The term “burnout” has been a buzzword since 2020 and has earned its status as a medically recognized diagnosis. Often associated with work/life balance or toxic workplaces, burnout has taken an unprecedented toll on women. Whether you blame it on Zoom, hustle culture or the ideal of “having it all,” society’s glorification of busy-ness can land women deep in the pits of exhaustion.
You don’t work a 9-to-5 but still feel exhausted and overwhelmed? Burnout isn’t just for CEO’s. Stay-at-home moms, caretakers and anyone who’s overworked and under-resourced can find themselves drained beyond recognition.
Burnout -vs Stress
If you’ve been asking yourself “Am I burnt out or just stressed?” try not to get hung up on the words. Burnout can have a few different expressions including adrenal fatigue, mental or emotional exhaustion, or a lack of meaning in life. Stressful events come and go, but living in a state of persistent pressure erodes stamina and weakens the body.
If living chronically stressed is a bad habit, burnout is what happens when that bad habit finally catches up to you!
Instead of focusing on a label, take inventory of how you feel. Your body is a great truth-teller and symptoms like tension, trouble sleeping or digestive issues are signs of di-ease in the body. Ignore these irritations and they grow louder. But use them as a guidepost and you can steer yourself back toward well-being.
Here are 8 of the most common indicators of burnout:
Like any dis-ease, burnout happens on a sliding scale. Some days may feel easier than others, but there are generally 4 stages women pass through.
Stage one includes feeling stressed and turning to caffeine or carbs for an extra boost. Most of us experience this phase from time to time, with no ill effects.
In stage two, tension becomes long-term and more disturbances like digestive trouble or insomnia start to creep in. The body doesn’t recover as quickly or easily as it used to.
By stage three, hormones become disrupted causing that tired-but-wired feeling or other manifestations of depression, anxiety or lack of sex drive.
Reaching stage four can result in chronic health conditions like depression, adrenal failure, cardiovascular issues or autoimmune disease.
How do you know if your symptoms warrant more than a weekend spa vacation?
If you’re experiencing 3 or more symptoms, your enthusiasm for life has been diminished, or your relationships are beginning to suffer, it’s time to make a change. We all have bad days, but if you’ve been stuck on overdrive, don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing complete burnout and getting your energy back on track.
Springtime comes with an influx of energy, but the Daylight Savings time change can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack and set you back a few weeks (or more).
The majority of us have a natural rhythm that syncs with light: rise with the sun and rest in the darkness. But modern conveniences that include 24/7 exposure to lighting and stimulation can cause a disturbance in natural patterns. If you consider yourself a night owl, chances are you’ve trained your body into that pattern. Burning the midnight oil occasionally isn’t a problem. But if you continually push yourself beyond natural limits, your glands become weakened and you exhaust your natural resources. Feeling tired but wired or catching your second wind when it’s time for bed is a big sign that your adrenals have been affected.
For more energy and resilience, prioritize healthy sleep hygiene and if you usually stay up after 10pm, make small, incremental steps towards an earlier bedtime. Everyone is different, but give one or two of these suggestions a try and start sleeping better tonight!
6 Things to Avoid for Better Sleep…
...and 7 Healthy Sleep Habits to Try Tonight
Looking for more sleep hacks? Try this Brahmari breathing technique to soothe overwhelm and make your slumber that much sweeter.
February is the month of love, but no one said it can’t be SELF love! Taking good care of yourself is one way to honor your mind, body and spirit. It replenishes you so that you can continue to do your work and show up as your best self in the world.
Unfortunately, self care tends to get pushed to the bottom of the list. Work, family needs and other responsibilities fill up the day if there’s no designated Me Time. Vacation days get squandered. And, our devices come with us everywhere we go. There’s no rest.
If you’re struggling with adrenal fatigue, overwhelm or exhaustion, it’s time to reprioritize yourself. Putting rest and recuperation at the top of your list might feel indulgent or scary, but it is a necessary step to getting your life back.
Whether you have 10 minutes or 10 days to devote to yourself, make your well-being a top priority and give one of these practices a try.
Leave your phone behind or turn it off. I keep my phone on airplane mode unless I’m expecting a call and it’s amazing how much more focused and energized I feel when I’m not tempted to mindlessly scroll, even for a few minutes.
Take a break in nature. Whether it’s a short walk or a 4-day camping trip, be all there. The natural world is full of colors and shapes that are pleasing to the eye. Fresh air clears the mental cobwebs. Use your senses to immerse yourself in the moment. (And... leave your phone behind.)
After you unplug from what the outside world is trying to impress upon you, it’s time to plug back into yourself. Grab a pen and paper and start writing about what feeds you and what drains you. Is there something you love that you haven’t been making time for? Likewise, is there something you do regularly that saps your energy? Maybe it’s time to rearrange your choices.
We are growing and changing all the time. The decisions you made last year might be outdated now. Is your soul asking you to try something different? Like any relationship, you’ll be stronger if you take time to know yourself (again and again).
Feeling stressed or in a funk? Dance it out. Good tunes and a few dance moves can really shift energy. This is not the time for a heartbreak playlist. Choose music that makes you feel uplifted! If inspiration is lacking, hop on Spotify and browse playlists until you find something that perks you up.
Hire a Professional
You don’t have to go it alone. We are responsible for our own healing but there will be times when you need professional advice. So buy yourself a package of acupuncture sessions, see a therapist or hire a wellness coach. Having a regular appointment and someone to offer guidance means you’ll be more likely to follow through on your intention to heal. Invest in your well-being and your growth.
Legs Up the Wall
This is my go-to yoga pose for those tired-but-wired evenings. When 10 p.m. rolls around and you catch a second wind despite being exhausted, it’s a likely sign of adrenal fatigue. Help your nervous system relax by resting your legs up against the wall while taking deep, rhythmic belly breaths. Try this for 10 minutes before bedtime each night to unwind.
If you’re a lover of literature or period dramas (Bridgerton counts, right?), you know that doctors used to send patients to the seaside to convalesce. Pushing through prolonged stress without taking time to fully recover eventually leads to burnout. Set aside one day a week to do… nothing! Give your mind-body-spirit the time it needs to grow strong again. Seaside visit is optional but fresh air is highly recommended.
Disclaimer: All information and resources found on JennaMillerYoga.com are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I don’t play one on the internet. Consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.