You can’t stop holding your breath.
You didn’t even know you were holding it.
The fast pace of your life has you feeling like you’re juggling chainsaws with your hands and feet.
Everyone depends on you. Each task feels like it’s a matter of life and death.
There is so little room in your schedule. You can’t even breathe between tasks – let alone fit in that self-care everyone is talking about.
And it’s starting to affect your whole life.
You’re constantly on edge, whether on the job, out with friends, or at home with your family.
The combination of the expectations of yourself, your responsibility to others, AND modern living is turning into burnout.
Your stage of life, personal background, and various responsibilities all influence how this plays out in your life.
It can happen at any age.
As a young adult, you’re wrought with anxiety about how you’ll get a job in your field AND pay off student loan debt.
You anxiously check your social media to see if others have commented or responded and spend hours making sure you comment and respond so that no one is mad at you.
Your schedule is full to the brim – work, house maintenance, child-rearing, and making time for a full night’s rest. Every time you turn around, someone else adds to your to-do list.
Every task now seems to take nine extra steps (You just wanted to pay a bill – and now, you gotta change your password because… well… we’ve all been there.).
You may be in the middle of the sandwich. Being tapped as a grandparent AND a caregiver. Working harder in retirement than you did in your career. Still trying to be everything for everyone and losing sight of those dreams you had at this stage: to travel, read, and discover yourself again.
To tackle it, we have to get to the bottom of it.
“All behavior makes sense if we know its context, but we can only know context when we can speak the truth freely.”
– Jamie Chambers
Therapy for burnout creates a safe place to talk about all these feelings, even the socially unacceptable ones. It gives us your context – because every crazy, inappropriate, stupid, or seemingly absent-minded thing you’ve ever said or done has context.
It’s an act of grace to give yourself – and others – context. We must be able to speak the unspeakable and allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable – so we can make intentional decisions about what’s working and what isn’t.
Cut yourself some slack.
Stress management is one of the single most difficult health care needs in modern life. Everything is working against you – longer commutes, less daily community, and an onslaught of information.
Think about the hunter-gatherers before us. Their sole objective each day was survival. It sounds a little scary – but maybe also… liberating.
If they could find a little food and shelter from the elements, the day was a win! They didn’t have to worry about getting their bills paid on time, getting all the kids to their practices, or squeezing in a little time at the gym.
Some of our tasks came naturally in their way of life. For example, gathering nuts and berries provided the exercise and even comradery and conversation as they picked.
Life is ironically harder now.
Nowadays, things should be easier, but our abundant resources, space, and technology have only added to our stress.
We can travel further and do more than ever before. As work changes from physical to intellectual, we’ve lost a major part of what our bodies and brains need – movement!
As travel is more accessible, we often live further from natural supports.
Because a screen can do so much, we rely less on each other.
So how do you manage contemporary life and keep yourself healthy?
Aside from selling all your possessions and beginning a life living off the land, how can you instill some of our ancestors’ lifestyles and get back to a well-balanced life?
Therapy for burnout is about learning how to regulate the stress response as it arises and then taking measures to reduce the spikes.
Take a look at the graphs below. They represent stress over time. From the moment your day starts, we experience stress. You get occasional breaks throughout a day, week, and year (think lunch, a massage, or even a weekend/vacation). But the stress never comes back down to baseline.
As a modern human, you always seem to be holding out for that one thing that will bring relief, but it’s never enough. That’s because stress is cumulative.
Instead, your activities should emulate the graph below. When your stress spikes, you find something – in the moment – to bring it back down to baseline. When it spikes again, you do the same thing (or maybe something different: who wants apple pie for dessert every night?).
Sure, follow the chart, you say. But how???
That’s where I come in.
Once we understand both the logistical and internal aspects of your stress, we can get to work figuring out what works for you to manage your stress more effectively as it arises.
In therapy, you may already be familiar with a few of the strategies I’ll show you. But having the time and space to learn, practice, and stay accountable, you’ll be able to implement them into your stressful life.
From there, you’ll figure out how to get on the front end of stress by figuring out the places and patterns that recurringly create stress, all while remembering that every day and every season is different. You may need to ride the wave of a particular season – or change up your strategies – or practice radical acceptance.
Stop merely surviving and start thriving!
Therapy provides the space to really analyze this and figure out what fits your life, values, and goals.
Reach out today by calling (715) 725-0820 and let me help you do that.