Burnout is way too common. Many struggle with burnout, or are on the brink, but often don’t dare speak about it. The shame and guilt isolates us even more, ingrains our sense of overwhelm and feeling of being alone.
Yoga, wellness and health care practitioners and professionals, with our knowledge, practice and skill in destressing, detaching and knowing our greater Self, we often feel we should be immune, more resilient. And that’s why there’s so much stigma attached to health experts with burnout. We should know better. People believe we’ve got such a relaxed and easy life. Couldn’t be more wrong.
We’re in the industry of creating, caring, learning, exploring, branding, marketing, networking, providing and embodying what we preach. And that’s only the work section of our lives. No wonder we burn out.
As I get more seasoned, I realise no one is immune. Life happens, and if we listen, we learn. Wisdom comes from wounds. And wounds don’t make us lesser. Yes we have weaknesses, and these are just potential places to grow, learn and become a beginner again. Enjoy, explore and embody. We can prevent or recover from burnout better knowing some key points. But first let’s understand what’s actually going on physiologically.
A practitioner since 3 decades and still I’ve burnout twice in my life. It’s a devastating, frightening, depressing and painful, especially as you watch your passion become a prison.
Close to burnout, I had many days, months even, coming home from teaching and wanting to crash on the floor, just go to sleep there and then. Even when I did, my body was so tense, I couldn’t rest.
The thing that gets you up and out of bed with joy, turns into something you feel you have to do. The insights, releases and love you felt in your practice are gone.
The body feels heavy, tired, shaky and weak. The mind is scattered, flitting and restless. And to practice feeling the body, being mindful and going within, is no longer a source of joy, but a painful realisation you’re nervous, unsettled and so uncomfortable in it. You’ve lost some deep connection.
Burnout can make us feel fearful and powerlessness.
What Is & Causes Burnout?
Burnout, medically known as adrenal fatigue, is due to constant physical, psychological or emotional stress. Our adrenal glands make us more alert and active by releasing the hormones cortisol, adreniline and noradreniline. Normally our body and hormonal system regulate, within minutes to hours, when stress stops.
When chronically under stress, our adrenals become overactive, continue this too long and they become fatigued.
This can be due to small but consistent stresses such as not having a regular income and ability to pay the bills, being spread to thin on too many projects constantly to try and get more reach, exposure etc., not enough feedback, support, payment and acknowledgement from clients, students, colleagues or mentors. These small but significant stressors add up. Especially when we’re empathetic, caring and social individuals, which most healthcare practitioners are.
So triggers causing fear, distrust and generally feeling not supported in an area of our lives, overactivate our adrenals.
Think irregular work, irregular schedule, irregular income. Any uncertainty. And a big issue in service industry, uncertainty about our worth in monetary value. It eventually erodes our self worth and confidence, compounding feelings of inability and insecurity.
Competitiveness between ‘yoga’, health and wellness industries leads me to ask whose wellbeing are we actually interested in? Our connection, community and common goal; a healthy world, is destroyed as soon as we see another’s wealth and win as our loss or lack. This scarcity mentality undermines our wellbeing and adrenals. Seeing connection and community is the very essence of health as a social species, competitiveness goes against why we fell in love with Yoga, wellness and healthcare, in the first place.
Add to this the fact that most women in the service industry, want to give their utter best to create a better world. Working hard to self educate, develop and self regulate, teaching others to create amazingly nourishing and fullfilling services and meaningful lives, we forget to nourish ourselves. We strive to be the best, but shy away from asking our colleagues, community and leaders to return the same investment with effort, soul and love.
Service, when taken out of context, and milked for the profit of large organisations, leaves those not well versed in business, value and industry, high and dry. This imbalance tips the scales of confidence, self worth, and wealth. Detrimental to our wellbeing and all those dependent on us. This domino effect lets some schmucks, with no empathy or sense of unity, profit from our squables.
Eventually those who care burn out.
We need to stick together as sisters, and family, to co-create a great world for our kids. We need to say F… off to manipulators and denigrators of our common goal. By working toward making business a more sustainable way of serving the world, and create better living for all.
Prevent & Recover More Gracefully
We can prevent burnout by setting ourselves up for success by self care. Feeling safe, supported, strong and steady.
Most important is create balance between what we actually want, need, and the resources; time, energy, money, we have to offer, only once we’ve nourished ourselves with loving time, vitality, volition, joy, vocation, finances.
Switching from sympathetic to parasympathetic; from fun, fight, flight and freeze, to rest, digest and destress. Using different aspects of our lives; mood, energy, emotions and thoughts, to reflect back to us where we need some TLC. And how we can value ourselves by honouring our needs, desires and feelings, greatly enhances our recovery after burnout. Or prevent it when we feel exhausted most of the time.
Physically we’ve evolved to run, dance, dive, climb and swim. We’re meant to feel alive. I used to teach that Yoga practice shouldn’t raise the heart rate too much. But now I’ve come full circle and realise it’s all healthy, as long as we check in with our energetic and emotional states and regulate according to what we find. To get activate and raise our heart rate so our body’s natural biorhythm and bodily systems are switched on helps balance our hormonal system. Adrenal glands are a very vital part of the hormonal system. They’re the backbone for all the other hormones of metabolism and energy. Regulate adrenal hormones within weeks by going jogging or swimming 2-3 times a week.
Emotionally, feelings reveal our values, needs and desires, pushing us to act upon our inner guidance. Educating ourselves through books about different emotions or a trainings in emotional literacy and empowerment are great to prevent burnout. Emotional awareness ensures we know and honour our needs, desires and values, so we can reclaim our wellbeing, passion and purpose.
Psychologically we’re meant to feel accepted, connected and be part of a larger whole, feeling our lives and contribution to others have meaning, are valued and appreciated fully. To initiate this level of exchange, we need to know our values, worth, and what we can bring to the table.
Once we state it and hold our community accountable for equal value in return, we start to tip the scales back to balance. Not just preventing personal burnout, but planetary burnout too. We’re a reflection of the greater goings on in life. What happens in the microcosm is happening in the macrocosm too.
All parts work together equally. No slacking at the expense of another.
We need reach out.
We need to know what, where, who and how we can help, and also ask for support, help and guidance for our own journey. Download From Burnout to Brilliance to recover and restore adrenal health and move out of burnout syndrome.
Which can be so hard for those of us used to being the rescuer.
The Wisdom of Burnout
Through this deep transformation I have learned to really listen to minute changes, nuances and honour them fully. I take things slowly, fInd beauty and joy in the little things. I hear my emotional messages and developed an understanding of my body’s innate wisdom, mind’s creative ability to find solutions and see opportunities of growth in psychological knots.
Our beautiful body is different every day. Honour it! Celebrate it! Once we learn to work with what is, instead of what we want, there is such a solid connection and love for self and other. Instead of overwhelm, it’s overflow of a full cup. My boat can’t be rocked. I hit rock bottom and I have found a more fluid and vulnerable and real ME. One that doesn’t need to hide or pretend at any level.
I thought I was pretty transparent, but there’s always room for improvement. This is liberation. As long as we hold onto any image, no matter how pure, or well intended, we’re suseptable to falling. Once we fall and know our weaknesses, see them and laugh at our whole self, illusions and all, we are free to BE.
Leave a comment and share your experience, prevention and recovery from burnout.