Burned Out: Three Steps toward Healing

Woman closing her eyes leaning back on the couch after a stressful day

Do you ever just stare at your computer, and a task that should take two minutes actually may not even get done that day? Or you wake up having a total of eight hours of sleep and still feel like you haven’t slept at all? Well, that’s how a lot of our 2021s felt like including me. And from what I’m hearing, the New Year sounded more exhausting to folx than a new beginning.

I don’t usually get personal in posts, but this one, I do feel like I have to. 2020 was highly intense for me, and so when 2021 rolled around, I just wanted to feel connected in general. However, the creative juices just weren’t there, and so there were no new blog posts and very few posts on social media. I was just too burned out to give much more than I could. 

While I feel a lot better now, managing my energy continues to be at the top of my mind. Burnout is no joke, and as a business owner, I can sometimes feel that if I get tired, that means my business suffers, and my financial status becomes precarious. Well, there I go down the anxiety spiral. Yes, your therapist can have anxiety, too, and all the other human emotions you have. 

So guess, what happens when I am ready to be a little more present with you all, and I tap into socials and hear that a lot of folx are dealing with this beast called burnout too, mind blown! And I thought it would be financial stress with the passing of the holiday season and crazy inflation. I was wrong. 

With that said, let’s talk about how we can make the year 2022 be that of healing and renewal and not just 2020 too. 

Boundaries

Yes, I said it, boundaries! Every wellness guru’s favorite word nowadays, but in this case, was are not necessarily setting boundaries with other people, but with ourselves. 

Our relationship with ourselves is crucial. If we push ourselves too much and ignore the fatigue, everything gets worse, whether it turns into depression and/or anxiety. We tend to push ourselves so much that we get used to the tension or other feelings in our bodies and ignore those signs of needing to take a break. 

When clients talk about a tense situation but can’t understand why they reacted a certain way, I will ask where they start to feel anxiety, anger, etc., in their bodies. Usually, our bodies will physically feel our emotions before we can logically name them. 

If you feel numb, disconnected, or don’t know why you are feeling so tired, ask yourself throughout your day, wherein my body am I feeling this? For example, your anger shows up for you as a burning sensation that moves up and down your arms, take the time to be in the present moment in your body. If this is happening, maybe it’s time for a break and to step away from the situation to do some needed self-care. 

How we physically feel emotions is unique to us. How I feel anxiety or anger feels different for me than for the next person. So, take your time with this and allow yourself to connect with your body. 

When you are able to understand how your body reacts to emotions, respect it! Your body is trying to communicate with you about when to continue and when you may need a break. Respect your boundaries with yourself, and you will slowly see your energy start to return to you. 

Try Something Else 

Stop trying to force yourself to do something that you cannot physically or mentally do. And, anyways, has that ever worked for you in the past? You may have gotten the work done but was it of the quality that you actually wanted it to be. 

Your body is telling you no, and your mind is as well. If you are out of sync with your energy after all this communication, your stress level will likely increase. 

Give yourself the time to do something else, whether to take a much-needed nap, a walk, or simply to catch up with an old friend. When you allow yourself some outlets, projects become more feasible to complete without becoming overwhelming. 

This also gives you the chance to connect with yourself again. No human is a machine. You are not just your productivity, and your productivity is a byproduct of you but not who you are. Breaks and hobbies are necessary for being human, and being human is not a weakness, and it is a strength. 

Time

It takes time. You will not be in recovery from burnout overnight. It took me a year and some change to even come back to writing again. Your timeframe is not set in stone, and it can take more or less time than what it took. The important part is to build a well-rounded life which would include breaks from achievements, school, and work. You have your PTO or school holiday for a reason, and it is not to get more work done! It is to allow yourself to reset and reconnect with yourself. 

This is probably the most frustrating part of dealing with burnout. There is no magic pill to drop or an energy drink to take to get you out of it. 

It is about consistency over time and putting yourself before your job. It’s about creating a balance that works and, at times having to rebalance when your stress levels get too high. No Instagram wellness post will be the blueprint to this all. You have to embrace the unknown just a little and allow yourself to let go in a way that enables you to breathe. 

If you have difficulty doing it alone, you can always seek support from a mental health professional. 

What Now from Me

Well, I’m still working that out. My goal is to write an article a month. I would like to start a newsletter that you can sign up for filled with all the discoveries I have made for the month, including other professionals that I follow, podcasts, mindfulness activities, quotes, and whatever floats my boat for the moment. 

I am tired of cookie-cutter content, and I miss that creative side of myself. As I figure out how to connect my creativity with my business side, expect to see different types of content from me as I figure out what works. While I know everyone loves a clean Canva tile for Insta, I’m getting a little bored with it, and it is starting to feel disingenuous to me. 

As always, if you have topics that you want me to expound upon, let me know through the messages. I don’t generally have a comments section open in the articles I publish on my website. 

And For Those of You Who Don’t Know Me

My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online mental health therapy services in the state of Illinois. This article is not a replacement for therapy, and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation. Click here!

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