I have just finished a consultation call with a potential client who is self-employed and has been for about 18 months. Her intention, like many of us who become business owners, was that she was fed up of the “rat race” of a former career and she wanted to spend more quality time with her family. She wanted to be successful in her new business and I totally understand that, and her desire to create a better work life balance. However, she told me during our call that she was feeling totally exhausted, not sleeping well and feeling under so much pressure that she was not sure if she could keep all this up! She sounded worn out, flat and cried during our consultation. It’s a cry for help that I hear so often with my female clients.
I see so many women who are working incredibly hard, running their business, shouldering the responsibility , working all hours doing their marketing, admin, accounts, networking, social media etc and in addition are juggling the responsibilities of life/home admin, children, caring roles, partners or they are working their socks off in an employed role doing similar activities for someone else. Either way so many of these women are hanging on by a thread to their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
The signs are always there, but many women know they are exhausted, overwhelmed, “frazzled” (as my client today put it!), and on the verge of total burnout, but they feel stuck on the merry-go-round of life, simply no longer finding the time or energy to do something about it.
In my 20 years plus of working as a Therapist and Coach with women suffering with anxiety and related disorders, I have realised that for many of them, if they had been able to recognise where their mental health was heading and been able to get appropriate coaching and help at that point, they would have not tipped over into the abyss of anxiety caused by prolonged stress and pressure. This was my motivation for creating the PAUSE Coaching programme: to help women prevent that decline into burnout and anxiety and instead to enable them space to catch their breath, to nurture and support themselves and be empowered by learning compassionate self – leadership, as a takeaway for life, being able to create balance and keep it in their busy lives as they moved forward.
Below are 6 common signs that you are heading for burnout:
- Always switched on
You constantly keep going even though you feel exhausted; checking work emails in the evening even though your work day is officially finished, moving from one task to another even though you are supposed to be spending time with the family and relaxing.
- Mentally beating yourself up
You push yourself to keep working through that endless to-do list of chores and responsibilities, being harsh on yourself and berating yourself for all you still have to do, not even noticing what you have achieved. You feel like you are constantly fire -fighting, getting stuff done but never really accomplishing your heart’s desire. It feels impossible to stop and the fear is that if you slow down everything will fall apart as there is still “so much to do and so little time!”
- Living in super-snappy bitch mode
You can’t help it, but even the little things are winding you up and push you over the edge. You are snappy, feel like a tight spring and haven’t got time to deal with niggles and other people’s stuff.
- Illness & Physical Symptoms
Your energy is at an all time low. You are constantly feeling exhausted and run down. You may be getting headaches or your head feels tight and foggy and you can’t think straight. It may feel that you constantly have a low-level virus or you keep getting colds and sore throats or issues with your stomach.
- Your Sleep is Affected
Even though you feel worn out and long to drop into a blissful sleep, it’s just not happening. You either find it hard to get to sleep as you are “thinking” too much about all you have to do, or you may be able to fall asleep but then it is restless and you find yourself waking in the unearthly hours and your mind kicks in and you can’t get back to sleep again. Before long the alarm goes off and you are back on the hamster wheel, feeling even more drained.
- You don’t make Time for You
Your life is crazy busy and it feels relentless. There is no time to stop although you promise yourself that you will, when everything is done, but that time for you never happens. I know you remember another way, a time with there was space to breathe, when there was fun and lightness and laughter, ease and flow. But now you are stuck with endless to-do lists and chores and demands on your time and there simply feels like there is no time for you. You feel constantly switched on but somehow you feel like you are sleepwalking though life.
If at least 3 of these resonate or sound like you, then you really need to pause and take a breath, before life does it for you. You are not alone. I believe that our culture, education, society, life-style, all lead women in particular into this trap, where we are told to work harder, service everyone else’s needs before our own and we feel the need to keep going even when our bodies are screaming at us to stop!
So, what to do?
I would like to suggest that if you are identifying with these common pathways to burnout, then you really do need to pause and take stock. As the Cabin crew say during the emergency procedure before we take off, if you need to use an oxygen mask, then put your own on first before helping others with theirs. I really cannot say this forcefully enough, but YOU REALLY DO NEED TO PAUSE AND TAKE STOCK! Now if like most women in this situation you are saying to yourself “but I haven’t got time” then what you are really saying is “I am not a priority!”
The reality is that without you, your health and well-being intact you cannot and will not be able to service all that you need to do. At the very least, set your phone for one minute at least 3 times per day to simply breathe in and out with your eyes shut; empty your mind and simply come into the present.
But even better, consider getting some emotional and practical support in the form of my PAUSE programme – a programme designed specifically for women like you, using my extensive skills and knowledge and my first hand experience both personally and professionally, as a successful Therapist and Coach. Just 6 sessions over a period of up to 3 months either virtually or face to face is all we need to get you back on track moving from a state of push back into elegant and balanced flow again. This is a coaching programme like no other, as it is tailored specifically to you and your needs; not one size fits all approach as that simply doesn’t work. We are all individual with our own life situations, beliefs, values and circumstances and I work with you to empower you to catch your breath and take an hour of quality and purposeful time together with me. However, on a deeper level we look at restoring your vitality, priorities, perspective, and purpose with support and compassionate intervention, where I will help you to change your relationship with yourself so that you can step off the hamster wheel and make the time to replenish and re-balance simply and easily within your busy life.
If you would like to find out more, the first step is to contact me to arrange a mutually convenient time for a 30 minute telephone consultation call (free of charge) where we will explore what is happening in your life that is exhausting you, I can explain more about how the Pause coaching programme works and we can see if we are a fit to work together. Make a positive decision to put yourself first for once, drop me a line via my contact form