02 Jul Are you suffering from lockdown burnout?
Lockdown has been a difficult time for many. I’ve spoken to a number of professional women recently who, more than ever, have been struggling to juggle full-time jobs and personal priorities – whether that’s home-schooling their kids, organising care for relatives at risk, being there for others.
Lockdown burnout is now widespread
They’ve felt under pressure to be 100% available for their work and step up in response to the myriad challenges confronting their businesses because of COVID. While trying to navigate the complexities that lockdown has layered on to the management of our daily lives – getting food onto the table, staying on top of the housework and life admin. Plus, worrying about what the world will look like in six months’ time and whether they’ll still have jobs and be able to pay the bills. Some are blessed with partners who know how to get alongside them and properly share the load; for those who aren’t, it’s a lot to be carrying without support.
It’s been relentless and the cracks are starting to show. Lockdown burnout is now widespread.
I had my own experience of burn-out ten years ago. One of the worst experiences of my life at the time. And – yet – I look back now and see it as a gift.
The gifts of burn-out
Because it highlighted all the ways of working that hadn’t been serving me. For a very long time. Working all hours. Never switching off and taking proper breaks. Not asking for help. Pretending I was on top of things and had it all covered. Dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ’t’ – because everything had to be perfect. Constantly worrying.
All of which I was refusing to look at because I was afraid of failing, afraid that I wasn’t doing enough, afraid that I wasn’t adding any value, afraid that I’d be accused of being a fraud.
So I kept on pushing on and pushing on. Until I woke up one day and realised that I just couldn’t do it any more. I had nothing left to give and was exhausted and miserable.
Prioritise creating a life that works for you
The gift of burnout was the recognition that the way I’d been operating wasn’t sustainable and it was time to change. It was my personal wake up call – the call to find a different way of doing my life.
I prioritised creating a life that worked for me – and still do. That’s included getting clear about what’s important to me, letting things go, wrestling with the gremlins that try and whisper “You’re not enough, you have to do more’, overcoming guilt, setting boundaries and saying ‘no’, being OK with others sometimes disapproving of my choices, recognising and working within my limits.
During lockdown, I recognised that taking care of me needed to be my main priority. That’s involved significantly lowering my expectations of what I can achieve at this time and having a lot more rest than I’d normally need.
I’ve been making time to be still, take naps, lose myself in a novel, lie in my hammock and stare at the sky – sometimes with a hot water bottle and a blanket, given recent temperatures! Often not easy. I’ve just moved house, there’s a myriad of jobs to do, I run two businesses, have an elderly father who requires care. But, essential in my view, in order that I can be and give 100% when I am at work and with others.
Is it time to rest and recharge your batteries?
If you’re feeling exhausted and disillusioned, I want to strongly suggest that it’s time for you to prioritise YOU. Which, in the first instance, will very likely mean carving out some time to switch off. To get some rest. To still your mind. I know this can be difficult – especially if you have kids at home. It’s actually a skill. One that it’s worth getting good at, if you are to stay well and stay happy.
And, once you’ve rested and recharged your batteries, then, maybe it’s time to start thinking about what needs to change in order for you to be able to create the life that you really want, one that really works for you.
And, if you want to explore how working with me would enable you to realise your ambitions and create the life and career that you really want, let’s have a call. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to speak.