I completely missed the signs that I was operating in burn out. I used to think you had to be flat on your back and bed-ridden before it counted as burn out but now I realise that for me, it starts as indecision over the simplest things and self-neglect.
Leading up to my group programme launch were many weeks of high energy, inspired action and full focused productivity. I was in flow, on fire and I felt unstoppable! I didn’t want it to end, I was having so much fun.
The launch went well and on the day that the cart closed, I was in a celebratory mood, excited to support my new clients.
I even gave myself a whole 24 hours off to relax and bask in the glow of a job well done.
I woke up after my day off, ready to jump back into creativity and inspired action again when I was shocked that my mind was empty. As in, totally blank, void, nothingness!
I couldn’t understand it. After weeks of bursting creativity, how could this be?
It was the same the next day and the next and the next…I searched around inside my head and literally felt I had nothing to say ( which is totally alien to me btw!!)
I started to feel frustrated with myself and so I thought: “Ok Sanae, you know what works! Tomorrow morning, get up early and go for a run, that always kick-starts the creativity!”
Getting up early and running was always my Go-To whenever I felt I needed a mood boost or to get my creative juices flowing, so I set my alarm with every good intention…
…But come the next morning, I didn’t go running. Instead, I lay in bed beating myself up – literally mentally torturing myself for not going for the run! I felt crazy, like a woman possessed.
Suddenly, little things started to feel like really BIG things. I couldn’t make a decision about what to cook for dinner. The fridge was almost empty and yet I couldn’t manage to muster up the enthusiasm to go to the supermarket and so I wasn’t eating proper meals. My self care routine went out of the window.
I felt scattered and easily overwhelmed and then I’d beat myself up for feeling scattered and overwhelmed!
I’d start to read a personal development book, get impatient with it and then pick up and start a different book as though desperately trying to find a quick fix to get me back in action and flow state once more.
As I was trying to force myself back into action, I was actually becoming more and more inert and paralysed.
After a few weeks, as my anxiety levels started to increase, I reached out to my coach who fortunately recognised the signs and pointed out to me what was really going on.
I was mentally exhausted and heading for serious burn out! I’ll admit, there was an immediate relief that washed over me because a part of me knew the truth of it, and also it felt good to identify the problem because then I knew what to do by way of solution.
And so here’s what I did:
- I unplugged completely for a few days from social media.
- I let go of the usual expectations that I placed on myself
- I listened and allowed my body to inform me of what to do from one moment to the next i.e sleep, manicure, pampering, wholesome food, more sleep…
- I spent more time in nature, just lying on the grass next to a canal close to my home
Since that experience, I’m very mindful of those creeping up tell tale signs of mental fatigue and burn out. I used to think you had to be flat on your back and bed-ridden before it counted as burn out but now I realise that it can sneak up on you in the most subtle and insidious ways.
Tell Tale signs include:
- Self neglect. Are you persistently putting off what is usually your non-negotiable self care routines?
- Indecision. Are you struggling to make your mind up over the simplest of decisions that you’d normally have sorted in a heartbeat?
- Numbness. Do you feel mentally blank, void of creative ideas and inspiration?
- Scattered and easily overwhelmed. Are even the smallest of tasks making you feel overloaded so you’re feeling unable to copy?
- Inability to focus and concentrate. Are you scrolling aimlessly through social media; or clicking through multiple tabs on your laptop without purpose?
- General fatigue. You’re low in energy and enthusiasm.
So, if any of this resonates with you today then please acknowledge it, hold yourself with kindness and compassion and take a few days to unplug and listen to your body.
Side note: I’m not a medical practitioner, so if you have concerns please seek professional medical advice.
Love and peace
© Sanae Floyd 2022. The information contained herein is provided for information purposes only; the contents are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents herein. We disclaim, to the full extent permissible by law, all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents herein.