As a society we seem to have normalised burnout and being over-worked so much that these are now commonplace terms. Which really worries me.
For it seems the baseline of stress most of us are experiencing has just shifted up two or three notches while we’ve been busy chipping away at life – like a kind of ‘lifestyle creep’ with major implications long term… and I deeply fear for the future of everyone’s health if we continue to tread this slippery slope of overstimulated lives.
Considering the rising levels of stress, anxiety, mental illness and emotional overwhelm, why are we willing to accept thing like burnout as ‘normal’?
When did it become ok to be treating ourselves, our bodies and our spirits so poorly? And why are we allowing this toxic lifestyle to be the new normal??
“Normal” can be a dangerous word – especially when we are talking about unhealthy habits like emotional burnout, which can both end marriages and cause irreversible health conditions. Which is why we need to tread with caution and become even more mindful of what we want to be normal and acceptable for each of us in our lives, our homes and in our families.
The reality is, many of us are struggling; caught in the spinning wheel of life. But while we may take an occasional pause for inner balance – a one day ‘rest’, an overnight yoga retreat or some paid stress leave from work –these are still seen as temporary fixes or relief from a largely unsustainable lifestyle filled with too much stress.
Toxic ‘survival’ habits like Netflix binges, alcohol on a regular basis, morning coffees and anything else we can do to numb the ache inside or keep on going, are just symptoms that something is drastically wrong in our society – as we get fooled into thinking that this is living, when it’s really just surviving.
And yet most of us are stuck in this rat race of survival, hopped up on an adrenaline fueled slippery slope to burnout.
What is the solution?
To be honest I don’t know if there is one single solution for this rather large issue – the problem truly is bigger than all of us, its society wide. But I do think that as each woman begins to take back the power to own how she feels, to honour her bodies inner knowing, to slow down and feel instead of pushing ahead through numbness, then we may begin to live in a more sustainable way.
Self-care and emotional well-being need to become a MUST, a part of the important daily routine we perform in the habitual living of our lives. To fuel us daily in a balanced, conscious and liveable way.
But that means breaking free of the baggage we have probably accumulated around rest and self care …. Too often we say – ‘I’m feeling run down and need a break’ or ‘I’ve been working really hard and am ready for a holiday’. This Bandaid mentality is part of the problem, but its so embedded in our lives it takes conscious change to replace it with something else.
Which means making some fairly massive shifts in our approach to daily life. To literally stop taking a holiday to de-stress as “a reward for all the hard work done”, and instead start making the need for emotional health and well-being necessary, not optional.
Imagine if our society acknowledged the value of rest and slowing down! If you needed a day off you just took it and did so without guilt, explanation or a need to justify how hard you’ve been working. A place where it was encouraged daily to practice self care, balance and down-time (think mid afternoon siestas and a four day working week as a start!).
Which would mean revisiting the idea that rest is something we do to recover, instead of something we choose to do proactively. To not just prevent a human being from collapsing into exhaustion and burnout, but more importantly to replenish and maintain balance.
Foreign as it seems, this is the mindset shift we need to embrace to begin to normalise the real value and need of daily self-care.
Personally, I know all too well how important it is to prioritise my own self-care and wellness needs, yet I can still fall into the trap of that old friend; “DOING mode”. times when I want to get stuff done, bring in money to pay the bills etc. Instead of remembering to instead just slow down and feel…relaxing into what’s possible and letting go of the need to do always DO something!
This seems to be the inner struggle most of us face as women; choosing between the go-getting action taker who ends up on her way to burnout, or the more slow, steady conscious and aware women who has self-care deeply embedded as part of her daily life.
Which one do you want to be?
The truth is, the world does NOT need more women who (outwardly) present a perfect life of success, while quietly struggling away in silence (on the inside). Instead we need more women who are ready to be vulnerable real, honest and authentic about how they feel and what they need to honour or let go of. Reality not the version we want to present that’s polished, filtered and perfected first!
It would also help if we stopped making ‘burnout’ an invisible status symbol that is reached before we can give ourselves permission to rest and escape the world for a while. Instead, we can choose to simply embody our self-care habits proactively, in-order to create and live a sustainable life of true wellness, joy and gratitude.
How do we do that?
We as women need to get better at asking for help, making regular “me time”, and being heard in sacred circles of support (without a need to be fixed). We need to give ourselves permission to FEEL as a means to HEAL, instead of disconnecting in front of TV, wine, or work. And we need to find our truth as women again, for how else can we ever hope to teach our children about holistic health, self-love, harmony and respect for others if we can’t find it within ourselves?
Self-love, self-care and time out are not selfish, they are necessary for the future of our species, and for the regular enjoyment of a life LIVED.
I suffer from these challenges as much as any other woman, but when I find myself wanting to go into doing mode it does help to know I am giving myself permission to slow down, feel and breathe first, before launching into action.
What about you?
How full or empty is or your self-care cup? And what about your stress cup?
Do you have an outlet for supporting and prioritising your emotional needs?
If not please reach out and find someone to talk with, sit in circle with, cry with, or just lay on the grass and watch the clouds go by for a while..
As women we need to band together and be bad mums, get back to truly honest heartfelt connections again, so we can give ourselves permission to self-care free of guilt and baggage simply because that’s how it’s meant to be.
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based self-care and wellness coach specialising in emotional self care for women.
She supports women with challenges in fertility, pregnancy + birth, birth trauma, motherhood + parenting. Bree runs retreats on self-care, offers a range of wellness classes, workshops and is available for personal coaching in person and online.
You can access her a range of and hypnosis downloads on iTunes or join her essential oils wellness tribe at wholesale prices here.