Beyond Burnout

Woman experiencing burnout
Photo by Kyle Broad

[By Donna Deniese]

This is something I truly feel compelled to speak about because it’s a reality for so many of us. How do we keep giving care to our loved one when we ourselves are burned out and need a break? What do you do when there’s no one to turn to, or turn your responsibilities over to, even for just a few hours?

I’ve dealt with this experience so many times in the past several years of being a caregiver. The hard part for me has been that for the most part, people on the outside of the situation tend to say things like -‘yes but your mother is more important.’ How can that be? Who’s ‘more important’, the lifeguard or the person drowning? I say they’re equally important – WE are equally important. And if no one else has told you today – you’re doing an amazing job and the sheer fact that you stepped up to the plate let’s me know that you’re a strong person with deep levels of integrity.

So back to the issue. What do you do when you have to keep going? How do you reboot without a getting away? The first thing is to recognize that you are burned out. Don’t beat yourself up or ignore it, just admit it to yourself. It’s perfectly natural and it’s okay. What we do is tremendously stressful and to continue to perform in compassion we have to be real about that. Here are a few techniques that have helped me…

  1. Focus on Your Breathing

This is a standby technique for me that I use just about everyday. The number one way that stress starts to be experienced in our bodies is through shallow breathing. If you feel like you’re coming to the edge – stop and take the deepest breath you can. If you can step away and reconnect with 3-4 deep breaths, this is even better. Repeat a positive phrase to yourself ‘I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.’ This truly helps me calm down and get some clarity when I feel overwhelmed.

  1. Focus on the Beauty

One of the things I strive to do as a habit now is to focus on things – especially on a visual or audio level- that make me happy. Surround yourself with music that soothes you, go outside and look at the trees, listen to the birds – look at a fashion or travel magazine. Couple this with deep breathing and you will feel much more peaceful and clear.

  1. Have a Glass of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. It keeps us from overeating and will keep headaches at bay as well. The last thing we need on top of feeling overwhelmed is to not feel good about our weight. Prepare it in a special way. In a nice glass, with our without ice, still or sparkling… and be sure to sit down – don’t rush and drink the entire glass.

These tips aren’t a trip to Tahiti, but they are tried and true, tested techniques that will work to eliminate the stress and rejuvenate you as you continue to care and give.

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Article Source: Beyond Burnout