Burnout and Balance – How to Achieve a Healthier Rhythm
Author: Kerrie Campbell, Transformational Coach, Live Your Sensational Life
“I am so tired or exhausted all of the time, but I don’t have time to rest as I have too many things on my plate.” This is what I hear regularly from many of my clients.
As women, we tend to have a lot of demands placed on our time, especially when we run our own businesses or have busy careers. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing we just have to keep pushing through because we have so many responsibilities, and we just don’t know how we can drop any of them as we don’t want to let anyone else down. However, this leads us to feel like some days we are barely ‘surviving’ let alone thriving, often feeling tired and overwhelmed and like we need a vacation on a regular basis. When we operate like this, we are either in burnout or heading rapidly toward it.
This has been a big part of my own story as I spent close to two decades in some level of burnout. I raised my now teenagers while juggling my career in senior leadership roles in large global companies, moving across the world and regularly traveling internationally for work. This led me to experience on-and-off adrenal fatigue, increasing food intolerances, as well as other ongoing health challenges, which have taken me years to heal and overcome. This is why I am extremely passionate about helping and preventing other women from getting to that point as I now know there is a different way.
Let’s start by defining what burnout is, because you do not need to be in a state where you can barely function or not be able to get out of bed to be in burnout. It’s essentially a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, and it can manifest in a variety of ways. From low energy to brain fog, to persistent or excessive fatigue, to irritability and negative thinking, to experiencing even minor levels of anxiety or depression, to poor gut health and much more. Unfortunately, many women will ignore and continue to push through these symptoms, believing they either don’t have a choice or that they should be able to cope.
I’ve found that there are a few contributing factors to even low levels of burnout in busy women, which can include taking on excessive amounts of responsibility (usually out of a sense of obligation or feeling guilty saying no to things), prioritizing themselves last, and most of all never giving themselves a mental break (anyone here an overthinker?). This all leads to being in a regular state of worry, anticipation, self-doubt and stress, putting our nervous system into a constant state of fight, flight or freeze. This then snowballs into being less focused, productive, and creative, making poorer decisions and avoiding taking action on things that feel difficult or get stuck in fear (which can significantly hold our business back).
Help, I might be feeling some burnout, now what?
I would recommend selecting 2–3 things that you can do on a daily basis and trying them for the next 2-4 weeks. You may not notice an immediate difference because it takes some time for your mind and body to relax and form a new habit, but don’t give up. The key is to be intentional about doing them each day and persisting with them and you will begin to feel the effects, usually in a short period of time.
About Kerrie Campbell, Transformational Coach. Kerrie is a former Human Resources executive turned Coach and Consultant who loves helping ambitious women and mothers step into their highest potential and achieve success in a way that allows them to thrive. She has spent her entire career studying human behavior and leadership, and is passionate about helping women find and live their purpose, so they can have the impact they truly desire and leave a legacy they are proud of.