I hope that you can help. Since returning to work after Christmas, I have been feeling very emotional and tired on a daily basis. I am struggling to sleep and my relationship with my partner is also starting to suffer. We are fighting constantly without a resolution to any of our arguments.
I have been working longer hours than usual and I feel that this burnout is the cause of my problems. I know that I will have to learn to adjust to my new routine but is there anything that I can do currently in order to help me to feel better?
It reads as though your increased work schedule is impacting both your personal life and your overall health. Attaining a work/life balance can be tricky to conquer and burnout can take its toll on both a physical and emotional level. Burn out is a state of exhaustion, be it physical, mental and emotive. It often occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet life’s constant demands. The usual symptoms of burn out tend to be;
- Fatigue: You may lack energy and feel exhausted most days.
- Anxiety: As a result of heightened stress levels.
- Impacted sleeping patterns: Disrupted sleep, oversleeping or indeed, insomnia can arise.
- Difficulty in concentrating: Experiencing an inability to focus on tasks.
- Anger: Specifically impactful with regards to our personal relationships.
- Depression: You may endure intense bouts of sadness or experience a loss of interest in day to day activities.
The good thing about this Nell, is that you have identified the source of your troubles which is half of the battle. If you are willing to take positive action, there are effective ways for you to work towards self-restoration and to leading a more balanced, healthy lifestyle.
- Prioritise your health before all things: The first thing I would say is to ensure that during this period of transition, you put yourself and your own needs first. If you need to rest. Rest. If that means skipping one or two social obligations then so be it. This is a must. You cannot put the needs of others before your own right in this moment. Rest is essential to ensure that you are able to adequately restore your mind and body from all of the extra stress and burnout that you are undertaking at this time.
- Attempt clear and honest communication with your partner: It is inevitable that your lack of sleep, fatigue, anxiety and stress has impacted the relationship that you share with your partner. It is near impossible to attain a steady relationship with another person when you are hardly steady within yourself. Patience and open communication is key here. Always strive for calm discussions, even if you are experiencing intense anger. Express to your partner that you are exhausted and that you are doing everything that you can in order to make things better. It is important not to dismiss what your partner is saying. Acknowledge their feelings. Ask them what it is that they want. When you are both calm discuss this further. Value the validity of your partner’s needs. Often, resolution is attained by ensuring that you both feel understood, respected and cared for within your relationship. Frame your conversations around these points. If you find that your relationship is under threat, couples counselling is an excellent way to confront your experiencing within a peaceful and safe environment.
- Practice deep breathing exercises daily: Attempt when you wake up, for a few minutes each day or whenever you feel hit by waves of anxiety or stress. That is all it takes to encourage oxygen to circulate your body and to ensure that your mind has time to refocus on the task at hand.
- Get physical: Be it jogging, walking, swimming, or anything else that springs to mind! Just moving a little more, can massively help to de-stress, de-toxify and deter any progression of aches and pains that so often arrive when experiencing stress, anxiety and lack of sleep. Yoga particularly will prove helpful in supporting your awareness as to how your body and mind is impacted by recent events. Studies show that it is also a highly effective method of inducing better sleep quality, so sparing twenty minutes before bed time to practice some online yoga is well worth your time. I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene, a wonderful and incredibly special YouTube channel that offers a series of free yoga videos for all levels, be you a complete beginner or advanced student.
- Confront your emotions: What is it that you are feeling? It may help to write down what it is that is bothering you. Are you angry? Frustrated? Sad? Hopeless? Lost? Reflecting upon your emotions can be highly beneficial. Take some time to process any overpowering or overwhelming thoughts.
- Know when to seek professional help: If you find that nothing is working for you or that what you are experiencing is becoming worse, do not hesitate to seek support from your doctor or a mental health professional.
Take good care Nell and prioritise your well-being. Tending to your physical and emotional exhaustion is the first step to reducing burnout. Rest, then rest some more.
Wishing you peace and restored energy,
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