As an Entrepreneur, I am aware of the stress caused by wearing all the hats in a business. The extensive range of information and skills needed for each, the time required, and the stress of the learning curve are DAUNTING! As a result, work hours can interfere with what should be time for rest and renewal leading to burnout and illness.
But it is not hard work or long hours per se that cause burnout. If you are passionate about what you do, that passion feeds your spirit and energizes you even when working long hours. Burnout is caused when more energy is being withdrawn from your energy reserves by multiple stressors than is coming in through rest and renewal. Those stressors include anything that consume energy—bad food, bad habits, too little sleep, toxicity, not just the frustrations, overwhelm, and other mental and emotional issues.
Burnout is simply going into the red with a bounced energy account. And as with a checking account, it only takes one cent to do that. Furthermore, once you overdraw, it is not a simple matter of just putting the penny back. There are fines to pay. So it takes more money to undo the overdraft. And it takes more energy to undo the damage of an energy overdraft.
While it is important to have multiple ways of reducing stress so that you are not leaking energy, stress management is not the whole answer. Putting together a well-rounded life that feeds your spirit and enhances
- overall health,
- provides happiness,
- connection with others,
- fulfillment, meaning and purpose,
will give you the internal resources and increased life force to deal with the ups and downs in life as they come. And from that place examine and challenge your beliefs, thoughts, judgments, assumptions that underlie so much stress, and commit to a regular stress management practice. All together, this will give you the energy reserves to not just cope but to thrive.
What is stress?
Stress is a demand upon your system for energy. A stressor is whatever is requiring energy from you to process or deal with mentally, emotionally, physically, or even spiritually. This includes preparing for even happy events (holidays, vacations, weddings), doing your usual routine as well as having to cope with extra, unexpected additional expenses, problems, malfunction, delays, toxicity, poisons in food, water, air, cleaning or personal care products, allergens, EMF (electro magnetic frequency), geopathic zones, noise, and overstimulation.
Interestingly, we need a certain amount of stress to challenge us to learn, grow, and to explore new dimensions of both ourselves and our world. Insufficient stress creates stagnation, boredom, depression, and mental/ emotional/ spiritual rot–yes, rot! Growth requires a stimulus, a reason to get off the couch. It is all about finding the proper balance. See my previous blog entitled “Stress Can Be Good for You?”.
Understanding the Stress Equation
As with the previous analogy of a bank account, there have to be energy reserves to cover all of the demands placed upon you.
- Demands upon your energy have to be adequately met by both your reserves and new energy being regenerated.
- What comes in has to cover what goes out or a bounced check situation arises causing breakdown in physical or mental health.
The 3 Stages of Stress
- Alarm Reaction – In this initial stage, you experience symptoms such as sweaty palms, tension or tightness in muscles, holding your breath, rapid pulse, indigestion, insomnia.
- Stage of Resistance – Whereas in this stage, the stress symptoms go away, and you appear to be doing fine. You seem to have adapted, and have a ‘handle’ on it. There is a danger during this adaptive phase because you may become cocky and stop doing those things you need to do to take good care of yourself and to resolve your issues on a regular basis. Consequently, as things build up, you tap too heavily into your energy reserves.
- Stage of Exhaustion – this stage is where you actually break down. It can be caused by something minor–just one more thing too many (the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’). All the stress symptoms come back but are not easily dismissed, and illness or even death results.
What to do about it?
The basic strategy as outlined below is as follows:
- find ways to get energy into your system
- stop energy leaking out
- establish regular routines to do the above.
How to get energy into your system
You get energy into your system by:
- improving your overall physical health
- improving your overall happiness and connectedness
- creating or focusing upon the meaning and purpose in your life
- connecting to your spiritual and internal resources
First, Improve your overall physical health
- Nourishing, balanced nutrition
- Healthy Gut – allows you to digest and assimilate what you eat
- ingest: probiotics, yogurt, kefir, naturally fermented foods such as naturally (not commercial) sauerkraut and kimchee, kombucha, and fermentable fibers (yam, sweet potatoes, yucca, and whole oranges (with fiber), Jerusalem artichokes, lentils) butter, garlic, dark chocolate with 70% cacao or more
- eliminate as much as possible: sugar and processed foods; grains unless non-GMO, pesticide free and specially prepared; wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut; pesticide ingestion from any food or drink; antibiotics and other medications such as birth control, steroids, antacids and NSAIDS (see http://www.nsaidslist.com) such as aspirin that are taken as anti-inflammatory/pain relief medications; and parasites
- Deep breathing, singing
- Exercise including dancing, yoga, and anything to balance energy flow, and any movement or physical labor
- Energy medicine -there are many modalities, but here are a few more: Reiki, Source Energy Medicine, Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine (see Resources at the end)
What can you do today to take of your physical health?
Second, Improve your overall happiness and connectedness
- Love, hugs and emotional support
- Anything inspirational
- Anything that feeds your spirit or makes you happy
- Having fun
- Healing music – sacred, calming, hemisync, happy
What can you do today to connect and enjoy life?
Third, Create or focus upon the meaning and purpose in your life.
- Do you have a reason to bound out of bed in the morning with excitement to get started?
- This could be your job, a volunteer activity, or a hobby.
- Can you see how something you are doing now is or could be doing now could help someone else?
- How can you be of service?
- This could be any act of kindness or compassion to a person or animal, a phone call to someone you care about, just affirming your love and belief in another, or perhaps just listening or being there.
What can you do today help someone? How can your work serve?
Fourth, Connecting to your spiritual and internal resources
- Prayer, meditation.
- The Infinite Intelligence Process – tapping into the part of you that knows more than you do consciously.
- “There is a part of me that knows ___ and is assisting me now to ___ with grace and ease.”
When is a good time for you to check inside with your inner guidance?
How to stop energy leaking out
- Resolving emotional issues – current and past
- Restoring gut flora
- Daily stress management–EFT, self hypnosis, Infinite Intelligence Process, etc.
- Goal setting
- Setting and and focusing on priorities
- Shifting beliefs,
- play devil’s advocate – look for the positive evidence, the positive ‘whys or why nots’
- “What if __ could work?”
- “What if I could ___?”
- “What if ___ (the negative authority figure/person) was wrong?”
- “What is the worst that could happen?”
- Turn a challenge/problem into an opportunity or object of curiosity
- “Where is the opportunity in this?”
- “How can I turn this into a blessing?”
- “What positive thing/s can I learn from this to be ___ (better/healthier/stronger/more successful)?”
- Focus on helpful thoughts to shift your attitude
- Notice what is with detachment – Adopt an attitude of curiosity
- Notice what is , without taking it personally
- It’s probably not about you.
- Notice what is without jumping to judgment or unproven, upsetting interpretations of events
- “How can I look at this in a way that doesn’t bother me nearly as much?”
- Pick your battles
- Focus your energy where it is going to do some good
- Know your limits and make peace with that
- “I do what I can. I let go of the rest.”
- Get help
- Look for resources
- “Who do I know that could deal with this better/differently and how would they approach/handle it?”
- “Who do I know that can help me with this?”
- “What help/resources do I need to resolve this and how to I get them?”
- Balance – between work, rest and recreation, between being inside and being outside, being with people and being alone, between having silence or quiet time and sensory stimulation
What is something you can do to stop leaking energy physically? What can you do to stop leaking energy mentally and emotionally? What can help you today?
Upsetting emotions leak energy. Happy or peaceful emotions add.
While some emotions can come from physical conditions, most emotions come from thoughts such as how we interpret what is going on. What are we thinking in our own mind about the people or events in our lives? Are we saying that they are wrong, bad, awful? Interpretations can be wrong. They can be based on incomplete or faulty evidence. Thoughts and the fixed beliefs that form around them can be challenged and changed.
Learn from the Past
If you have experienced burnout before, take precautionary measures now to avoid it happening again by addressing your areas of vulnerability.
What are the things you have done that have caused you to burn out in the past?
What are the things you have not done that have caused you to burn out?
If you think about the things you must have or do to avoid burnout, and if you know the things that do or have made a positive difference in your energy level and functioning in the past, then make a commitment to do them now on a regular basis.
What are those key things for you?
But don’t try to go from doing nothing, to trying to make massive changes all at once. But do do something. Take a step, and keep it going. Then do something else that makes sense. This is a process of creating a new lifestyle, a new way of living on a daily basis, not something that you do once in a while and forget about it.
Establish Routines for a Healthy Lifestyle
Start slow, but start somewhere
- Set up a morning routine or ritual that starts the day off focusing on the most important use of your time and energy—the priorities of the day.
What might be a helpful, doable, morning routine?
- Create an after work routine that brings balance, fun, meaning and fulfillment
- connect with people you care about (dinner with friends or family, reading a bedtime story to your kids)
- do something for fun or a change of pace
What might be a helpful, doable, afternoon or early evening routine?
- Create a routine or ritual before sleep
- do something to help you to relax (hot shower, a slow bath, listening to soothing music)
- do something to gain perspective from any stress of the day or anything upsetting on the news (meditating, journaling, reflection)
- acknowledge your achievements
- take a moment to focus on gratitude and the blessings of your life.
What might be a helpful, doable, evening routine before bed?
What helps me is a system I call the Infinite Intelligence Process. You can read about it here. on my blog: Accessing More—Tapping Into the Wisdom and Resources Within.
For my story, see “Self Hypnosis Saved My Life” and “Lessons Learned from Almost Dying”
See the many blog entries at unlimitedpotentialhealingcenter.com
Experience/learn these powerful healing modalities:
- Reiki (Unlimited Potential will resume Reiki Clinic once a month in Faber, just 20 minutes south of Charlottesville. 1st visit is free, donation after that unless you are sharing your healing work (Reiki/ other energy healing or feet or hand massage skills). RSVP required. Fall dates are Tuesdays from 2-4 PM: October 18, November 15, and December 13.)
- Source Energy Medicine – Stephen Joseph Pollitt (come to Central Virginia Dowser’s Meeting at Northside Library, Charlottesville, Saturday, October 8 at 2 PM. RSVP required.) See article here.
- Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine (come to Central Virginia Dowser’s Meeting at Northside Library, Charlottesville, Saturday, November 19 at 2 PM, RSVP required.)
- Emotional Freedom Technique —class at Piedmont Valley Community College, Thursdays, October 13, 20 and 27 from 6-8 PM.
- Self-Hypnosis Class at PVCC, Saturday, September 24 and October 1 from 9-12.
Copyright by Roxanne Louise. However, this article may be shared in free online sources only if this copyright notice and link to http://www.roxannelouise.com and http://unlimitedpotentialhealingcenter.com are included with the content.