Burnout: when trying too hard becomes a problem

Burnout: when trying too hard becomes a problem

 

It is great to try hard at things, especially things we are passionate about.  I also think we can be our most productive when we are at our busiest.  I love seeing people embrace their true passions.  If passion is lacking it shows – without passion we lack energy.  I lack energy when it comes to ironing, washing dishes and jobs that bore me.  I come to life when I am with those I love, when I hear my favourite music, when I write, when I open a nice bottle of wine and when I am in the water (just ask my friends how long I can stay in a hot tub).

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We all have different things that make us tick and things that we care about more than others. Some of us try very hard to have the perfect tidy house.  My husband is one of those people. He was raised in a spotless house. I on the other hand was raised in a house that was based on serving others. I try my best to host people well and to be a people pleaser. That is my bag and I am very much a perfectionist at that.  I am a feeder, I like people to feel relaxed and to have a good time.  I absorbed my parents like a sponge and as result: people get well looked after when I am hosting. I also like to ensure the husband has his tea on the table when he gets home (as stressful as that can be).  Will the house be spotless as well? Probably not but sometimes I try and surprise him.

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There is a BUT coming…. but now I have kids. Young kids who need me at their beck and call. I can’t always give our guests 110 percent. Sometimes they need to go into the fridge and help themselves.  Over time I have learnt to accept this. My husband has also learned to accept that our house cannot always look like a show home. We simply do not have the time. You see, when we put too much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect tidy house or to be the perfect hostess – we burn out. We no longer enjoy doing it because it all gets too much. Sometimes we have to accept that we are only human. It is ok to have a few dishes in the sink. It is ok to let a friend top up their glass or boil the kettle. It is unhealthy to be on the go constantly. There are only 24 hours in a day and we need to give ourselves a bit of chill time. Everyone knows their breaking point.

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Trying to crack open oysters for our guests when my boy was 4 months was one of my breaking points

Some people feel the pressure to be punctual.  I am also one of those people and this partly comes down to me being a people pleaser.  I hate being late.  I don’t want people to think I am being rude and we might miss the good bits.  I actually get so stressed at my husband for taking ages to leave the house. I can feel my blood boiling.  He knows me very well now and can sense the stress.  He doesn’t feel this pressure.  He would break out into sweats at a sink with dirty dishes in it but being late – nah no biggie.

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I think we can all be perfectionists in some way, we can all be a bit lazy in other ways and we can all have a bit of OCD.  There are many, many forms.  At the end of the day it should be about balance.  Putting too much pressure on ourselves will only result in burnout. Stress is not good for our mental or our phsyical health.  Know your limits. Whatever makes you stressed – housework, a desire to please everyone, to be the best at your profession of choice, to be the best parent, the best at sport – know when you are trying too hard.  Follow your gut and take a break when you need to.

Symptoms of burnout to look out for:

A lack of energy – do you feel tired most days or physically and emotionally exhausted? Perhaps you feel a sense of fear for what lies ahead on any given day.

Insomnia – are you exhausted but struggling to sleep?

Physical – do you experience heart palpitations, a tight chest, dizziness or headaches? Is your immune system weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections?

Trouble concentrating – is everything piling up? are you feeling a bit out of your depth?

Loss of appetite – are you skipping meals or less interested in enjoying food?

Change of mood – are you easily angered? do you snap at colleagues or family and friends?

Anxiety and depression can follow on from burnout.  Take a break and look after yourself x

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3 Comments

  1. April 4, 2016 / 5:33 pm

    Thank you for this. It is so meaningful to me right now. I keep putting so much pressure on myself to try to be perfect at work because we just started working from home and I don’t want them to think I’m sitting here slacking (reading blogs hahahahaha), also I’m behind on laundry, concerned that the meals I’m making don’t have enough fresh fruits and vegetables, my brother is coming to see my new place for the first time so it has to be perfect, and on and on and on. I feel like I’m driving myself crazy and end up in tears at least once a day because it’s so hard to measure up. But you are so right, I need to just chill. It’s all okay. And once I make myself a list of the most important tasks to get done, even if I don’t get them all done, I start to feel better as I check them off one by one. Whew! You were my break today. Thank you for such a timely, meaningful post!

    • April 4, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Awe thanks so much for your comment it means a lot that it has helped you. I think we need to be kinder to ourselves 💗💗

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