Life can change in the blink of an eye.
One minute, you’re enmeshed in everything you have going on, rushing from one responsibility to the next and barely remembering to breathe, because you have that much on your plate. In the next moment, everything is shattered, you’re broken and you can’t stop crying.
I knew I was exhausted. I knew I needed to make some changes. What I didn’t know was that ignoring these two things could have such extreme impact.
My life literally shattered into a million pieces on the floor around me … in less than 60 seconds.
In under a minute, I went from being an award-winning executive to being on the floor, unable to cope with even the basics in life and completely unable to stop crying. It happened that quickly.
It’s become normal for us to talk about how tired we are. ‘I’m so stressed’ is one of the most commonly used phrases in modern times. And we use it multiple times a day.
We’re exhausted all the time. And not just tired because we’ve put in a big effort for a couple of days, but physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point that we are ‘nothing left in the tank’ exhausted.
We’ve got nothing left to give, and yet somehow we find a way to give more.
We’re women, so we know how to dig deep and keep going, but we don’t stop to understand what that actually means for us long term.
I know what it’s like to break and be dropped from such a height and with such a force that you can’t get back up again. I also know what it’s like to go through the two year recovery period that I needed to get back to being able to cope with every day, basic life … and another 12 months to be strong enough to step into a new direction in life.
I used my time in recovery to research and understand what stress really is and what it’s doing to us physically and mentally. I then used this information to create simple and practical ways of doing things so that I could live my life differently moving forwards.
Stress is at the core of everything that is exhaustion and burnout-related in life. Understanding stress and where it comes from is the key to turning your life in a different direction.
Stress is not just related to your work. There are so many different things that cause stress in your life.
Here are 10 powerful things you can do a little bit differently so that you can significantly change the way you live your life:
1. Know what’s important to you. As women, we’re constantly serving everyone in every aspect of our lives. When you know what’s important, you can focus your time and attention in that direction, making it easier to be connected to what you are doing.
2. Say no. Women often agree to help, even when they know they don’t have the time, or aren’t interested in what they’re being asked to help with. They feel obliged to assist even though they’re not expected to.
3. Love your ‘to-do-list’. Being engaged with what you’re doing is a great way to stay connected with who you are. The more things you can get on your to-do-list that are important to you, the more fun you’ll have in getting things done.
4. Actively create change. Change is only hard when you don’t know how to do it easily. Become a rebel in your own life and create simple and practical steps that make it easy for you to try doing a few things a little bit differently. Change is so loveable when you make it your friend.
5. Expectations. There’s no rule written anywhere that says you have to be switched on and achieving in every second of every day. It’s OK to achieve nothing; in fact, it is completely liberating to allow yourself to stop and relax into a day where achievement is completely off the radar.
6. Challenge the status quo. Questioning the way things have always been done helps you get a new perspective and determine whether areas such as relationships, work and living arrangements are really what you want. If your life isn’t working for you, then questions open the door to doing things in a different way.
7. Identify simple steps to move life forward. You are more likely to implement small, simple steps on a more regular basis, such as finding time to sit in quiet meditation or finding time to add some exercise into each day.
8. Make a list of all the things that give you energy. Things that make you happy, make you smile, make you laugh. These could be related to people, places or activities. Create time every day to give yourself one of those things. The more you give yourself, the more energy you’ll have to live every day.
9. Reduce negativity. Make an effort to stay away from activities or people who drain your energy, and replace them with things from the list that give you energy. This will gradually shift the energy balance in your life and make it easier for you to refuel your energy every day, instead of constantly draining energy from your tank.
10. Modify your mind chatter. Learn to turn the chatter in your head into your most supportive cheerleader. Switching off the chatter might be as simple as learning to meditate, spending time with people you love to talk with, getting lost in a great book, going for a walk in nature, spending time with animals or anything else that allows you to get lost in doing things you love.
Life doesn’t need to be complex for us to achieve. You don’t have to be stressed to be successful. There is no golden nugget that will catapult you into a different way of life. But there are simple and practical things you can do to change the direction your life is heading, and that allow you to easily tailor-make the life that is perfect for you.
The question isn’t ‘how you can avoid burnout?’ Rather, ‘will you give yourself permission to live as simply as you possibly can?’
If you want some help in finding new ways to understand how simplicity can help you, you can access tips in the articles and videos in my FREE email series – it’s a great way to help you begin your journey. Simply click here to start you on your way.
This article first appeared on Arna Online in June 2020.
LEAD WITH PURPOSE.