accountability, action, anxiety, balance, behavioral, burnout, changes, depression, emotionalwellness, healing, Health, lifestyle, mentalhealth, mentalwellness, personality, radicalselfcare, Relationships, self love, selfcare, stress, worklifebalance
It may have been a slam of the mouse or keyboard and quite likely a muttered expletive under my breath that had the young naive intern pop up over the top of my cubicle and exclaim “Whoa…you’re ANGRY!
I exclaimed “What!!” My other co- worker popped up and quickly tried to explain that “No…no she only meant…”
I then realized 2 things…
1. The intern thought I had an angry personality.
2. My co-worker also thought that I was an angry person AND also capable of losing my temper with this young intern.
I was quiet the rest of the day and lost in my thoughts because Angry is not who I am and the very thought that the people around me saw and experienced me as this person was horrifying, not so much because I care about their opinion of me but because deep down I knew that it was true. I had become this extremely stressed out individual who had devolved into Cruella Deville.
I could not stop thinking about it and I went home and cried. I was a hurt and mortified ball of shame…those were my first feelings and then I thought of the job I was in that was sucking the life out of me that I choose to remain in with all the excuses I gave myself. I thought of all the “yes” answers I gave to friends and family even when I felt like a puddle on the ground.
Then I began to think of how I was failing myself by neglecting my self-care; I wasn’t sleeping enough, saying ‘No’ enough or investing enough time to just breathe.
I love to read and the extent of my reading had gotten to cursory flips through the pages of the most available dog-eared magazine.
Dear God what have I become!?
Thus began a deliberate process of accountability and action regarding my selfcare.
My Self-Care Mandate.
Thank you naïve intern.
I started taking stock of my personal wellbeing and the first thing I did was see my family doctor and take a month of short-term disability leave from my job, I then connected with a personal trainer and started working out 3-4 times per week.
This was the beginning of me establishing radical self-care and showing gratitude for and to my whole being.
Radical self-care is a priority for everyone and it can be hard for loved ones to understand and be supportive because they often don’t see your pain and your personality changes don’t make them panic. They don’t understand your insomnia and racing mind if they themselves can sleep through the world ending and they also don’t see the need to go to the gym in horrible weather because what’s the big deal about endorphins and supple joints.
Sometimes family and spouses don’t understand because burn-out has never been their journey or the journey of anyone close to them. Yay you…first in line!
Yes…I was in the throes of a full on burnout and didn’t realize.
According to http://www.helpguide.org this is the definition of a burn-out:
“Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.
Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”
My experience also had a very debilitating effect on my body and I suffered chronic migraines that only a pitch black room and medications could help, but the scary thing that had me diving into my self-care regime like my life depended on it (which it did!) was when I…of robust physical health, strength and vigor was knocked on my ass with a case of shingles…you heard me, the thing that mostly 70 year olds and people of advanced age gets!
I thought I was dying and had to be off work for three whole months!
I was crying. All the stress in my life that I neglected to address had made me so ill.
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout:
Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot.
Frequent headaches or muscle pain.
Change in appetite or sleep habits.
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout:
Sense of failure and self-doubt.
Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated.
Detachment, feeling alone in the world.
Loss of motivation.
Increasingly cynical and negative outlook.
Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout:
Withdrawing from responsibilities.
Isolating yourself from others.
Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done.
Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope.
Taking out your frustrations on others.
Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early.
My point is this…neglecting self-care can have extreme consequences and all of us have a responsibility to take care of number 1, as is often said, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
I often recall the instructions given on a flight on what you should do in case of an emergency; you know the spiel you get just before a flight where the flight attendant’s flailing arms show you where exits are and such? One of the things you are mandated to do is to put your oxygen mask on before you help anyone else with theirs, even if it is your own CHILD!
It a simple instruction which I have always found profound because I find depth in the simplest of things and because it makes perfect logical sense.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST.
Some will make you feel as if you are selfish for taking care of yourself but you know and understand how and what you feel and if you have chronically neglected your well being you will feel the effects and you’re not in a good place for yourself or anyone else. .
So let your teenagers wash their own clothes and let them wear the pink briefs if they take a shortcut and didn’t separating whites from colours. (spell check just told me to spell colours without the ‘U’ but I’m not gonna do it!)
Let your husband make the bed even if he’s terrible at it…the corners don’t have to be tucked, it’s not that serious.
You can’t do everything, you are one person let your family and friends know and let them know you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Courageously walk away from the people, places and situations that suck you dry and threaten to leave you as a mummified carcass.
Let go of the guilt you feel for saying “No” to especially the people you love; and last but not least, do what you love whether it be a job in an organization or an entrepreneurial venture. Listen…I’m not inferring that any of what I had to do was easy, It’s a hard process to say “No” when you’ve always said “Yes” and I still struggle everyday but it gets easier and the people who love and care for you, over time, gets more understanding of the lifestyle you’ve chosen.
Self-care is a journey that never ends, it continues for all of our lives and with the world and society structured as it is; Radical self-care is; without a shred of doubt, a mandatory lifestyle.