Last week I shared the reason why burnout hits women hardest (tl;dr patriarchy). And as I was writing out the six steps to end this cycle of burnout I realized it was A LOT.
So I decided to just share the first three steps this week and the last three next week.
Before we dive in, I want to remind you that the end-goal here is sooo much more than just not burning out. It's about recovering aliveness, joy, and energy. It's about rekindling your enthusiasm and passion for life. It's about truly living the biggest, fullest, most wholehearted life possible.
So let's get into it, shall we?
1. Reconnect to your body
The hectic pace of modern society and value we place on intellectualism and logic keeps us in our heads most of the day.
Right now, take a deep breath into your belly. How does that feel? Are you aware of sensations in your body that you weren't aware of before? If so, you were probably just stuck in your head until I reminded you to breathe!
So what’s the problem?
When you’re stuck in your head, you’re more likely to move at an unsustainable pace and get out of sync with what your animal body needs — movement, food, rest, play, pleasure, connection.
Are you actually hungry, or do you just need someone to talk with? Are you sleepy or do you really need a walk around the block?
When you’re disconnected from your body, it’s very difficult to experience pleasure. Pleasure is a key antidote to stress and burnout.
To prevent and recover from burnout, you have to learn to tune into your body and build a degree of mindfulness and awareness of sensation.
2. Express your emotions
Emotional exhaustion is a key indicator of burnout. To fully recover from burnout you have to address your emotional health and regain your capacity to feel and express.
When we learn to let our emotions flow instead of fearing or avoiding them (biggest offender right here ) they pass so much more quickly! Have you ever felt refreshed after a good cry or cathartic release?
I guide my clients through emotional empowerment and custom targeted breathwork practices to help them shift their relationship to and tap into the innate power of their emotions.
Breathwork is an incredibly empowering tool to release emotions and stress cycles from daily life that might otherwise accumulate, leading to emotional exhaustion and burnout. I recommend working with a professional to learn the technique and hold space for you because it is a powerful tool.
In the new Goop Lab series on Netflix, Wim Hof teaches breathwork and a few of the participants get very emotional during the breathing. Why does this happen?
Brain scans of people doing breathwork shows reduced neural activity in the prefrontal cortex (thinking brain) and increased activity in the limbic system (feeling brain) and deeper brain structures.
The prefrontal cortex is the seat of our analytical brain and the part of our brain that worries, doubts and gets stuck in loops of anxiety. The limbic system is our emotional center that’s often overridden by the prefrontal cortex.
Regular breathwork allows us to deeply connect with our emotional selves and release both deeply held trauma and daily stress in a safe and controlled environment. With regular practice, this can lead to greater integration, resilience and emotional stability.
Step 3: Figure out what you want and learn to ask for it
Burnout is most prevalent among “professional helpers” like doctors, teachers, therapists and coaches, but even if you aren’t a helper by profession you can still burnout.
If you grew up with parents or caretakers who were emotionally unstable or otherwise weren't able to meet your physical and/or emotional needs, you learned to tune out your own needs and focus your attention on others.
As you go about your day after reading this, practice keeping 50% of your attention on yourself and 50% of your attention on the world. Do this by feeling the weight of your feet as you walk, by feeling the expansion of breath as you breathe.
Stay attuned to yourself while you walk around your neighborhood, join on a meeting or visit with friends.
Once you learn to call your attention back to your body and start to listen to yourself, you’ll notice feelings, needs and desires bubble up within you.
Practice asking for what you want in safe situations like when you're trying to decide where to go for dinner and gradually in more vulnerable situations like during sex or a big meeting!
The first few steps to ending the cycle of burnout can be summarized as connecting to your body, expressing your emotions and asking for what you want.
The practices I suggest to grow in these areas are:
Phew! You made it!
Want to hear how this applies to you and how I can support you? Book a free discovery call. Cause guess what? You don't have to do it alone.