One of the most common feelings people talk about when describing their experience with burnout is
I know all too well that feeling because of my own experience with it.
I know that I tried so hard to keep all the pieces of my life together, to keep my job and all my responsibilities together, while trying to cope with two children with special needs and my other responsibilities as a mother and a wife.
I could not keep all the balls in the air, I tried. I tried so hard….
I know that my experience echoes with so many people.
What people can not see when they are in the midst of it all, and I know that I personally could not see it, is that they are doing too much.
They are trying to keep too many things going,
they have lost their capacity to prioritize when they are getting more and more tired.
I remember thinking, I will do this, then that and then whatever needed to be done, overlooking sleep and food at time, just in hope that it would be sufficient to keep my life from going out of control.
I remember thinking if I can do this and that and the other, then things will calm down and I will be able to rest… Except, things never calmed down, and life continued to spiral out of my control…
I never realized until it was too late, that I never had control over life… I could only control my emotion and how I reacted to the different situations I was faced with.
I WAS “emotion”.
I WAS consumed with guilt and doubt, thinking that somebody else could most certainly do better than I did. Thinking that I was really incapable if I was not able to face all my responsibilities.
I could not face the feeling of helplessness that I was experiencing, so I filled my life with every other possible emotions, anger, frustration, … I was punishing myself emotionally for not being able to solve all the problems in my world.
I was so hard on myself….
Insight is 20/20!
I know now that I could not change the world around me. We did not know why our oldest son was acting the way he was then. He was diagnosed with severe autism almost 3 years later. Nothing I could have done then would have changed that fact.
I could not foresee a major share holder change in the company I was working with, which had a massive impact on the strategy I was responsible for.
What I could have done and what I encourage all my clients to do is
To have compassion for myself.
Rather than punishing oneself for perceived short comings, I encourage people to take a step back and take stock of all the things they are doing right.
We tend to focus on what is not working in our life, forgetting too easily what is going well.
Take the time to stop and smell the roses…
Take the time to breath and take care of yourself.
Those little moments of awareness offer a chance to let go of that feeling of helplessness and to reconnect with one’s self.
I am now hyperaware and wary of the feeling helplessness. I do experience it on occasion, especially when I disconnect and I forget that I can not control life.
In those moments, I take a step back and I breath deeply. Maybe I will read a book or I will tap.
Just to calm my system down and to bring the feeling of panic that usually comes with that feeling helplessness.
It takes time, depending on how long I have let the feeling of helplessness take a grip but I know for sure that I can let go.
Self-awareness is key.
If I can do it, so can you.
Take a deep breath. And another. And one more.