3 Simple Steps to Take to Stop Burnout

flowers and beesAre you busy as a bee today?

Nature can be an invaluable teacher of wisdom. For example, the busy little bee shows us a great example of work ethic, productivity, and community. There many interesting habits these little guys have that we can learn from. Did you realise that in the height of honey production season, a bee can literally work itself to death? The normal lifespan for a bee is 9 months during cooler temperatures but in warmer weather when conditions are right for getting their work done…bees will work themselves to death. There is work to be done and they are determined little creatures that are committed to their purpose, even if it costs them their life.

As a business owner, I love to have staff members who have owned the vision, work with us and not just for us, and who are willing to go the extra mile. As well, as the owner, often times I am required to give every last ounce of energy, both physically and mentally, in order to get the job done. It can be exhausting and stressful. Can I get a witness?

Constant stress can leave you feeling disillusioned, helpless, and completely worn out, leading you to burnout. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care—let alone do something about your situation.

Most of us have days when we feel bored, overloaded, or unappreciated; when the dozen balls we keep in the air aren’t noticed, let alone rewarded; when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of The Hulk. This becomes a problem if these feelings continue without relief.

Relentless stress sends us spiralling into burnout. There is a difference between being stressed and burnout. Stress involves too much: too many demands, too many pressures, and too much effort. Under stress, you still believe that if you get things under control, you will feel better. Hope is alive and pressing for change.

However, burnout is about not enough: feeling empty, loss of motivation, and absence of care (“I just don’t care anymore”). Hope is illusive and you begin to feel like quitting altogether.

Stress feels like you are drowning in your responsibilities; burnout feels like you are dried up and have nothing left to give.

This can appear to sneak up on you but it actually occurs over time when stress relief is hindered. In order to prevent burnout, it is important to recognize symptoms to your health, emotions and behavior.

Things to look for include:
~feeling drained, low immunity, frequent ailments, and changes in appetite or sleep habits.
~sense of failure, feelings of being trapped, feeling defeated, feeling alone, increasingly cynical and negative, heightened frustration, and decreased satisfaction.
~withdrawing from relationships and responsibilities, procrastinating, taking frustrations out on others and substance abuses (food, drugs, alcohol).

If you recognize the symptoms beginning to develop, you can take steps to get life back into a healthier balance. However, if you are already past the breaking point, trying to push through and continue on the destructive path you are on, can cause further damage. Pay attention to your body’s signals and take action.

1. Slow down. Give yourself time to rest, reflect and heal. You may not be able to stop everything but force yourself to take a step back where you can.

2. Ask for support. Friends and family will not be able to “fix” your situation but sharing what you are facing may relieve some of the stress. Opening up builds trust and strengthens relationships. This is important because we all need support at one time or another. When you are feeling better, you will be able to return the favor. If this step does not help, as always, I suggest seeing a professional. It’s important not to try to be “too strong” or in control. True strength is demonstrated when we know our limitations and reach for the help we need.

3. Reevaluate. Burnout is a flashing red light that something is not working. Are you neglecting something important in your life? Balance is vital to healthy wellbeing. Take this opportunity to discover what brings you joy and balance life to include more of it.

I am imagining the focused little bee flying out, gathering, returning, depositing, doing whatever bees do to produce the honey, and then buzzing off to do it all over again. Driving itself further and faster and busier until…well, the picture isn’t pretty. We sometimes do the same thing…adding more and more and more until something has to give. Let the “give” be to what we do instead of to our well being. Yes, I know -there is a lot on your plate. Yes, I realize -it is important. Yes, I understand that you must be responsible.

Just remember, for you to continue offering your brilliant gifts to the world, you must recognize that your most valuable resource for accomplishing your purpose is YOU. Be sure to take responsible care of this important asset. In the long run, you’ll get more accomplished.

Are you busy as a bee? Keep up the good work but don’t over do it! Be wise.

Here are a few quotes to help encourage you when you need added strength:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”-Isaiah
“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.”-David
“Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”-Isaiah

This is my entry for the One Word Photo Challenge: Mustard. Thank you for checking our my contribution and the other amazing entries.

Having fabulous week, my friend.