When we first connected, she felt she had a pretty darned good life. She admitted it wasn’t perfect, yet she knew that she was one of the lucky ones. Then, life wasn’t so good. She felt as if she were barely surviving. Challenge after disappointment after challenge! She was so, well, done, and wanted to know how to stop feeling burned out.
She was dealing with a lot of things women in the “sandwich generation” were dealing with.
Her parents were beginning to get frail. And she was suspecting her mother was getting dementia. Her children had all flown the coup, yet still needed her time and attention. There was a wedding being planned for her younger daughter. And she was excited about her first grandchild, except for the fact that her older daughter was on bed-rest. And if that weren’t enough, her husband of more than thirty years was going through an almost laughable (read stereotypical) midlife crisis. He’d had an affair with a co-worker, was “in love”, and wanted a divorce.
The only area of her life that felt like it was on track was her career. Yet, despite the fact that she felt most confident when at the office? All the other stuff in her life in addition to her workload caused her to feel overwhelmed.
She had almost lost one of her best qualities: her typical sunny disposition. That ability to see the proverbial glass as half-full.
She wanted to know how to stop feeling burned out. And love her life again.
We scheduled a coaching call for the following week. And began exploring all the big (and small) ways she could gain back a sense of control.
Now, I know your life may not be the same as this particular client’s. However, I bet you can relate to some parts of her challenges.
Are you feeling squeezed by being in the middle of sandwich generational issues? Did you once love your life, but not can’t seem have a series of good days? Do you feel as if you are constantly rushing around?
If you want tips on how to stop feeling burned out, here’s some of what we discussed.
One – If you want to know how to stop feeling burned out, make friends with your pal “acceptance”.
When you make the decision to accept the situation your life as it is now, that allows you to release the pressure valve. If you want to create a nourishing life, acceptance is essential. No matter who you are, to have a life that you love, you have to find your way to accepting yourself as you are in that very instant.
When you argue with what is, it can lead to frustration and disappointment in ourselves. However, when you make peace with who you are now, as you are now, is the path to stop feeling burned out. This allows you to love your life now, and the power of decision invites you to make changes from a place of “what is”.
Then, you begin to look at what you can change. No matter your age, it’s time to accept yourself for who you are now. It doesn’t mean that you are settling for less than you deserve or agreeing to be less than you are. You are simply choosing to stop arguing with your current reality.
Two – You must extend yourself some grace.
How we speak to ourselves in our own mind contributes to feeling burned out.
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Truly SEE yourself. Don’t look for the flaws like blemishes or wrinkles. No, look into your own eyes and see that there is soul in there. And that soul thrives on love, understanding, and kindness.
You’ve got to be willing to cut yourself some slack. And show love to yourself. Because when you look at yourself through a lens of needing to improve? Of course you’re going to feel overwhelmed and burned out!
Kindness and grace go a very long way. The first person who needs to be offered these things is yourself. Being kind to yourself is an important key in learning how to stop feeling burned out.
Three – Take a realistic look at your schedule and task lists.
If you want to know how to stop feeling burned out, this is key: you have got to do less.
Darling, I know that there are a lot of people counting on you. They are counting on you to be there for them, help them manage this crazy thing we call life, and love them. And I am not saying to drop your responsibilities. What you need is a step back and a healthy dose of understanding that you cannot do everything by yourself. I know you want to.
And that ego of yours insists that you can do it all. By yourself. Without any help from anyone, thankyouverymuch.
That attitude is what led you down the path to feeling burned out! And, honestly, you are of no help to the folks that need you if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
And while we’re on the topic of doing less, when’s the last time that you did nothing? It’s important to stop over-planning your downtime. Research has shown that too much planning for your off-time leads to being unhappy.
Four – If you want to stop feeling burned out, rely on the Three D’s.
I know you are shaking your head at me after me telling you that you’re going to have to do less. Busy and rushing around is wearing you out, isn’t it sugarplum. This is where the “three D’s” comes in.
And the thing is, you need to be honest with yourself. Just like we are harsh in the way we speak to ourselves, we often aren’t honest with ourselves. In the words of Gloria Steinman “Honesty will set you free. But first it will piss you off.”
Being honest with ourselves isn’t always easy, yet it’s critical if you want to know how to stop feeling burned out.
The first D is for delete. Take an honest look at your list and see what you can just stop doing. We do a lot of unnecessary things. Things we think we “should” do or “have to” do. Yet, if you don’t do them, it will all be OK. Delete as much as you can.
The second D is delegate. What tasks can you delegate to someone else? This is often where our ego gets in the way and we feel even more exhausted because of it. I know that you do things better than others, yet that’s killing you. Let someone else cook a meal, even if it’s your grocery store’s deli. Allow someone else take responsibility for getting meals to your bedridden daughter.. Consider hiring someone to clean the house or do your grocery shopping.
The last D is for defer. When life feels crazy and overwhelming, sometimes we need to defer things to a later date. Yes, this means that sometimes, we defer something we want to do – like a get away with our best friend – so that we can channel that energy towards demands that have a timeline.
Five – Speaking of “Defer” This May Feel Counter-intuitive
Defer as much as you can to east the pressure. This will l help when you want to know how to stop feeling burned out. However, you cannot defer self-care. Yes, I know you want to take your daughter or mom to a doctor’s appointment. And you also need to go to the doctor and dentist, too.
And this also goes for other areas of self-care. Don’t skip your hair appointments, nail appointments, or yoga class. If you don’t take care of yourself, you aren’t able to take care of others.
Not caring for yourself is one of the direct cause of feeling burned out. Because you, my dear, are a finite resource.
When you’re feeling burned out, it’s important to really examine how well you take care of yourself. Not only do you not need to defer medical or beauty appointments, your every day habits matter. You have one body and one mind, so treat them accordingly. This means fueling your body with good foods, getting adequate sleep, and moving your body.
(This also ties to tip one: acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean letting yourself go, either.)
Six – If you want to know how to stop feeling burned out, you have to stop worrying about what others think.
Darling, you must live your life on your terms in order to be happy. In order to do that, you must stop worrying about what others think. That means that your life and your choices are your business.
So what if someone else is shocked that you’re getting a divorce? What does it matter if someone else judges you for the way you manage caring for your folks or kids? So what if you become the topic of gossip? What YOU think about your life and your choices is what matters.
This was a biggie for my client. After talking, she realized that part of what was causing her to feel burned out was worrying what others thought. Especially about the implosion of her marriage. So, staying in your own lane allows you to stop using precious energy towards something that you cannot control. And darling, you cannot control what others think.
Seven – Recognize what’s within your control.
Just like you can’t control what others think, you need to be honest about what else you can’t control. So, if you want to know how to stop feeling burned out, you need to be honest about what’s within your control. And what’s not. For example, you can provide your aging parents with healthy meals. However, you can’t make them eat those meals. Just like you can’t make your parents not eat sweets or order a pizza.
You can control what YOU do and what YOU think. There’s no one else you can control. When you get honest around what’s outside your control, it helps.
Eight – Stop comparing yourself to others. Especially strangers on the internet.
It’s so easy to look at the way others lead their lives and compare yourself to them. But the thing is, you don’t always know what other people are really experiencing. This will always make you feel as if you aren’t measuring up, and yes, that leads to feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Because others make juggling all the challenges in life look “so easy”.
It’s especially important to stop comparing your life, especially the tough stuff, to folks on social media. Because most folks share the picture perfect side of life. Not the hot mess. you’ve got to realize that people only let you see what they want you to see, and trust me, you don’t want to know how bad they hurt deep inside.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, it invites you to breathe. And that will ease that pressure that leads to feeling burned out.
Nine – And if you want to know how to stop feeling burned out, there’s another area of comparison to consider.
You must, my dear, stop comparing your current reality with your past reality.
The biggest gift you can give your present life is to allow yourself to honor all the pieces of your journey. Too often, we look at our life when we’re older and expect ourselves to be like an older version of ourselves. You know what I mean. We compare ourselves at middle age as how we looked or behaved in our twenties, so shouldn’t we be thinner/in better shape/have more energy?
Yes, examine the past for lessons learned, but don’t wallow in it. Don’t wish for the life you used to have. Look back upon the person you were a decade or two ago and also celebrate how you’ve grown and shifted.
Ten – Feeling burned out sometimes is due to resistance.
Often, we feel burned out simply because our life has changed. Yes, life was easier when you Don’t buy into the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Baby, you are never too old to learn, grow, and create change.
If you want your life to be different from what it is, you must begin by deciding that you are ready for your reality to be different. Only then, darling, can you begin to create a plan.
If you want that change, you need to be willing to do the work. Thinking about it doesn’t make it happen. That means you need to act. Know that it may take sweat and tears.
Eleven – Another key to how to stop feeling burned out is to stay away from people who drain you.
When you’re already feeling burned out, you must stay away from energy vampires and drama queens. And anyone that has been around drama knows how exhausting it can be! Remind yourself that someone else’s drama is not yours. Spend less time with those who fan the flames of drama.
And those people that wear you out?
Stay far away from bad vibes: you sure want to stay far from kill-vibes if you genuinely want to stop feeling burned out and learn to love yourself, being in no relationship is more beautiful than being in an abusive one, trust me, I’ve been there.
Twelve – Commit to doing one thing a day that makes you happy.
Last but not least, you are going to have to choose your happiness. That means, doing things that make you happy. Whether it’s read a book, go to the movies, or work in your garden. And remember that sometimes and item can make you happy. Like flowers in the kitchen or a dress that makes you feel fabulous.
I find that some of the smallest things have a profound affect on my attitude and the way I manage stress and burn out. Like having at least five minutes of quiet to myself while I sip my first cup of coffee.
When you commit to noticing the tiniest of things that bring you joy? That, too, eases the pressure valve of life. Don’t forget laughter, too. Be willing to laugh at life and yourself. (Or if you need a laugh, watch a funny movie!) Life is serious stuff. And it’s also wonderfully hilarious at times, too.
When you want to be happy. And choose things that make you happy. Even it’s for five minutes a day, that happiness will grow.
Now, know that no single tip here is going to be THE answer to how to stop feeling burned out.
What I urge you to do is to look at each suggestion and try it on for size. See how a combination of several of these tips allows you to slowly ease the pressure that’s been building. I would tell you that trying every single tip here is worth the time and energy it takes. Because, darling, your mind and body cannot live in a state of constant burn out.
It just can’t. The human body is not design to live on constant adrenaline rush and cortisol-fueled living without some sort of consequence.
Also, my dear, know that when you’ve gotten to the stage of full-on burn out, it’s going to take time to recover! I know that you want to feel better right this moment. And you can feel better. However, the recovery from feeling burned out may take days or weeks. Because your body and soul need to recover.
Darling, you do not have to merely survive in your life. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to love your daily life. No, life will never be perfect, however, you can stop feeling burned out.
Coaching may help figure out how to stop feeling burned out.
Would you like to explore the options by talking to someone that’s been there? Get some support for your over-scheduled life?
Are you seeking practical advice? Someone to talk through potential pitfalls and solutions? Do you desperately need support around your crazy-busy life?
I have space for two new clients this summer. You can find details about packages and pricing here.
Drop me an email at: debra AT debrasmouse.com and we’ll schedule a call to see if we’re a good fit.