Have you ever heard those stories of people at the turn of the century being hospitalized for exhaustion? They were either admitted to the hospital for several days or weeks to rest, or sent to a retreat resort in an idealistic mountain setting and are told to rest and recover.
Exhaustion. It has happened to me for the past two years at the same time of the year. I hit a wall. Hard. I have nothing left to give. I’m done. And my business screams to a halt. But the year isn’t over. I still have clients. I still have projects. And the to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. So now I’m exhausted and anxious.
I am sick. It hurts to move. I feel nauseous. No amount of rest seems to help. I am completely and totally burned out. I want to be sent to the resort in the mountains to recover. What exactly is the insurance billing code for “Exhaustion?” Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover this?
Has this ever happened to you?
This year instead of just suffering through it alone and feeling sorry for myself, I reached out to my community of friends to get their advice. I just want to say that my peeps are amazing. Sure, my Facebook friends and Instagram followers Like and love the pics of my kids, the silly cat memes, pictures of my dog and some of the other fluff I put on my social media outlets. But when it comes to the really serious stuff – you know, when you really need help and advice – these people come out of the woodwork to offer support and advise. I feel truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life.
Here are a few of the tips they shared for recharging your soul:
- Go take a hike. As in literally get up, put on your walking shoes, and head outside to take a walk. Exercise helps work off loads of stress and negativity. I swear sometimes I can feel the stress flowing out of my fingertips. And stepping away from your work, even just for 30 minutes to an hour – can help you refocus and get clear.
- Check what you’re eating. Healthy foods recharge your mind and body. I know when I get really busy, I start eating out more which means bigger portions, more queso and chips, and dessert with every meal – things I wouldn’t normally make myself for dinner if I cooked at home. When I take the time to cook healthy meals at home I have better control over what goes in to my body. (Sadly, that means less queso.)
- Go green. Green juice helps clear out the toxins that have been building up due to stress.
- Take time for yourself. If all you do is give, you never have a chance to take care of your self. This could include a walk (see #1 above), a pedicure, going to the movies by yourself in the middle of the day, visiting an art show or museum. Do something that you like to do, just for you. And make it part of your regular routine.
- Meditate. I’ll admit I’m not good at this one. But even if you’re not a Buddist meditation master, you can set aside time each day to just sit and breath. Clear your mind, concentrate on breathing in and then breath out the stress.
- Wine and dine. Catching up with your friends can be a great way to recharge, and what better way than over dinner and a glass of something yummy. I know when I am at my busiest, I tend to isolate myself because I’m trying to get it all done. Look up, pick up the phone, and arrange a night out.
- Stretch yourself. Do something outside of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s something you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t yet. Maybe it’s something that scares you, but you know it wouldn’t hurt you. We have an indoor skydiving company here in ATX. I sat by and watched my kids do it. Scares the hell out of me, but I think me and the hubbster are going to take it on for our next date night.
- Chocolate and music. I love both. And together they are even better. Both help soothe and satisfy an aching soul. Crank up the tunes, bust out the extra dark organic chocolate and savor the moments. Ahhhh, that feels good.
Thanks to advise and input from friends and the support of my family, I’m almost back to 100% full steam ahead. But this time I’ve tried to put some safety nets in place to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m learning to ask for help instead of just doing everything myself. I’m learning to watch for the signs that lead to my becoming exhausted, so that I can take action before I hit the wall. Only time will tell if these things will help. Guess we’ll know about this time next year.
Have you ever burned out? What steps did you take to recover? Please share your thoughts below in the comments.