Overcoming stress burnout feels like a lofty goal for some these days. It seems that everyone is so overwhelmed with the pressures of daily living that the concept of overcoming the accompanying stress feels like just another thing on the proverbial “To Do” list. Most people are just trying to keep their head above water.
Most of the time when I introduce myself to people and tell them that I help people with stress I usually hear things like “Wow you must be busy” and “Man I could use your help!” You can’t go anywhere without people talking about how overwhelmed they feel and how many hours they are working at their often salaried job.
What the bleep has happened people?!
We are quickly running ourselves into the oncoming brick wall and also on our way to being run over by the oncoming train.
What to do, what to do??
Stress is not just something that is manifested by outside sources but instead is something that we can learn how to better control from within. In psychology they call this having an internal locus of control rather than an external locus of control. Life is stressful…that’s not going to change. But how we manage it definitely can!
In reflection of my own story of pulling myself out from under burnout (detailed in my article published with the HuffPost) I have the following five steps as a suggestion for how to begin the process of better managing stre
1. Becoming aware that we have choices – I felt trapped until I realized I wasn’t. The idea of being trapped is a convenient rat trap of the mind. We are not victims of circumstance. If we go back in time we will realize that we chose the job, relationship, house, partner, children, etc. We may not have been totally conscious that we were making that choice but we did indeed make that choice. The beauty of this is that it means we also have the option to choose the way in which we manage the stress we are currently under. We can’t always opt out of the original choice, but we can choose how to respond to the stress that we are currently experiencing. Acceptance of personal responsibility leads to freedom.
2. Becoming more present of habits rather than on automatic pilot – Beginning to notice ways in which we are operating through habit rather than conscious choice is key. We don’t realize, just like my previous point, that we actually do have the ability to change our habit patterns. The key to noticing and shifting habits to be more present in your body and breath. Deep breathing connects your mind to your body instantaneously. It calms the nervous system quicker than any pill will ever do! Cool huh?!
Check out this TED talk by Charles Duhigg on his book “The Power of Habit.”
3. Finding the willingness to make a change -It is easy for us to revert back to the first step and believe that we are incapable of change; that we are victims of our circumstances or choices. This, my friends, is what I call a “convenient excuse” to continue to be unhappy and blame people, places or things for your unhappiness. We have the ability to manifest our own destiny; whether that destiny is to stay miserable or to become happier and healthier. Having the willingness to do whatever it takes to shift your life is key to overcoming burnout. Given that I have done and continue to do my own work to take care of myself and manage stress, I know that it is indeed work and continuous practice to move in the direction of your happiness
4. Consistency – Consistency is key to success. I generally encourage my clients to schedule their new habit in their calendar as if it was a meeting that they needed to attend. If you want to lose weight, get a new job, feel better in your body, be calmer and less reactive, you will need to practice, practice, practice the skills to get you to your intended goal. We also need to be willing to be dead honest with ourselves. If you are trying to cleanse your body of toxins but you have “cheat days” be honest with yourself about the sabotaging behavior. Work on understanding why you chose the choice that was opposing your goal. Going backwards is a part of moving forwards. The key is to avoid on automatic pilot and instead bring awareness to our every day activities to learn what your trigger points are.
5. Set yourself up for success – If we want something bad enough, we need to put in the work. We need to also notice how in the past we may have set ourselves up for failure rather than success. This goes back to step one..becoming aware of our choices. Our choices about self care reflect how we feel about ourselves. Setting reasonable goals that feel manageable is key to setting yourself up for success. If your diet is full of toxic/processed/fast food, you may need to slowly wean yourself off these foods in order to get yourself onto a healthier path. Make sure to appreciate every little step you are taking forward and treat yourself lovingly along the way.
These steps are the recipe I followed when I made my changes beginning 9 years ago that sent me in the direction I am not in building my business and passing along the gifts that were given to me. Life these days continues to be stressful and I am not always managing it with ease. This just a part of being human.
Go easy on yourself. I always suggest to my clients to use their stress inducing relationships or situations as an opportunity to see what is being mirrored back to them.
What is the Universe trying to teach you about yourself?
If you keep asking yourself that question, you will be on your way to overcoming your burnout from stress for sure!
Feel like having some support in the journey towards finding a happy YOU? Contact me here and schedule an appointment today!