Are You On the Road to Burnout?

burnout and exhaustion Nov 17, 2020

Are you on the high-speed train to burnout and exhaustion?

Most of us don’t realize that fatigue, like pain, is an ALERT sign that your body, mind, and spirit are sending to say:

WATCH OUT!!

Early signs can be the first stop on the high-speed train to deep-seated fatigue.

I find that there are usually four phases on the path to deep-seated fatigue, which is also called chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), and which includes fibromyalgia.

I have experienced all FOUR of these phases.

Oh, how I wish I knew back then what I know now.

Where are you? Where have you been? Where do you want to be? OFF THIS TRAIN RIDE, I HOPE!

I still have to STOP myself from hurtling toward the train wreck of chronic fatigue! Thankfully, I have the tools to do that now.

Phase 1: Overdoing It

Yeah, but who isn’t overdoing it right now? There’s the pandemic, election stress (here in the US), juggling kids at home, work… BUT: Do you have the tools to handle it all, or does it feel like too much most days? Are you feeling overwhelmed and often overtired? If so, welcome to Phase 1.

Phase 2: Ignoring Your Body’s Signals

Your back hurts, but you keep going. If you stop for a moment, you feel the pull of your eyes closing and crave that nap. You eat lunch and want to lie down, but you get an espresso instead. You’re ready for bed when your kids fall asleep, but you open your email to get a bit more work done…

Phase 3: The Cracks Are Showing

I wanted to call this phase “Life Falls Apart,” but we have enough drama for now and really don’t need more! This is when the cracks start to show. Life feels like a car whose tires are about to fall off: it’s wobbly, the car doesn’t steer right, there’s smoke and dust coming from the uneven pressure on the wheels. All the balls you’ve been juggling… you’re dropping more than you’re catching, and this is not like you, but now it is. You can’t meet deadlines, or your work is subpar and you’re so tired you hardly care. You get by and do the minimum with your kids and your loved ones. You are still “doing” because you feel you have to, but it’s not fun and it’s not good. You know you’re not doing your best work or your best parenting, and others are letting you know.

Phase 4: Sickness

This is the last stop. Chronic illness is well, chronic. How sick you are will vary. You may have been in bed for weeks, months, or years. Or maybe you bounce—no, more like shuffle—from bed to couch to doing a few dishes, then back to bed because it was too much.

The trick to avoiding this train wreck is to notice the signs and have the willingness and the know-how to get off the speeding train before you have no choice but to CRASH.

Yup. I have some ideas for you. Watch for more emails, coming up soon!

Where are you at these days?

Knowing where you are helps you define more clearly where you want to go.

Let me know where you are now.

Much love and health

photo credit: Kehn Hermano/Unsplash

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