Four Ways to Reduce Your Stress and Recover from Burnout

 

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to a demand or threat. When you feel under threat or in danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body steps up a gear with an automatic process known as the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reaction. This is also known as the stress response. Your eyes widen to take in the scene, your pulse quickens and blood flows away from your brain and organs to your limbs to allow you to flight or take flight. Your hormonal make up changes to help you to run at a moment’s notice. This is the ideal response to finding a sabre-toothed tiger in your cave, not so great when it’s your perpetual state.

The impact of being in a constant state of stress is that these stress hormones – such as adrenaline and cortisol –  stay in your system for longer than is desirable which brings on changes to your metabolism such  as weight gain and a tendency towards longer term health issues and burnout.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. That point when physically the exhaustion has overtaken your ability to carry on. Ruby Wax described this state as being ‘frazzled’.

Common signs of stress 

Whilst there is no absolute medical definition of stress you may recognise one or more of the common signs of stress or overload –

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Overreacting to situations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Worrying about the same things over and over again
  • Stomach problems such as acid reflux or diarrhoea
  • Agitated, anxious and impatient
  • Uninterested in life
  • Loss of sense of humour

There is a difference between occasional pressure to get things done and a more persistent stress state where you feel overwhelmed.

What can I do to help myself?

However stress impacts you it is likely that you can learn to manage stress better by managing your external pressures and developing your emotional resilience. One of the first things is to talk to someone about your problems, but there are other changes to your daily routine which can also help you.

Four elements of wellbeing

Here are four ways you can help yourself and those around you. We call them the four elements of wellbeing. Here are some easy activities you can introduce into your life to start to dial down the stress.

Mind

When under stress it can be difficult to think. Too many thoughts and not enough time. Make some time for mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present and focused on one thing alone. Hard to do when so many things are vying for your attention – so pick some tasks you are already doing and do them mindfully. For example, eating. Take your time to slowly chew your food, concentrate on what you are eating and how it tastes. If you have a thought – let it go. Breathe slowly between mouthfuls. It won’t stop all of your issues but it is a start. It may also help your digestion.

 

Body

sleep quality

Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep is often the first sign of a troubled and busy brain. Go to bed at the same time each night and try to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. Consider the environment you are sleeping in – is it comfortable enough, not too hot, not too cold? Is it dark enough? Check out our sleep blog for more tips.

 

Spirit

body painting

Put fun on your to do list! Go for a dog walk with friends (socially distanced of course!), play a musical instrument or watch an online gig. Spirit is about creativity, community and connection. Maybe calling an old friend and having a catch up would help.

 

Vision

happy child

This is the one area where we often forget to place our efforts. Covid has brought about a lot of changes not only in what we can do – but also in what we want to do. Consider your priorities. What does good now look like to you? Choose three things a week for your focus. Make sure one of those things is related to your health and wellbeing. If your horizon has totally changed think about a vision board – a pictoral example of your ideal life. Getting clear on what you want will help you to make choices on how to spend your time to move closer to your vision.

 

Next steps

It may be that you are overwhelmed and even a few small changes feel too much at the moment. You may need to create some space for change by letting something go or taking some time off. Don’t be afraid to challenge timescales for completion of things, ask for help to clear backlogs or look to delegate. Delegation is the opportunity for someone else to learn. When you think about your vision you may decide that some things you thought you wanted you no longer need.

Let these old needs go and make way for something amazing to grow.

 

Let us help you!

The Bounce Community !

We can help you keep focused on you and prioritising your wellbeing whilst still making a difference in the world.

Join My Wellbeing Club for short online wellbeing videos and tips, supported by monthly group catch up calls.

Join our Facebook group for daily tips, discussion and support.

Attend our free workshops  – we hold a monthly workshop across a variety of wellbeing topics.

We have individual coaching sessions you can book by emailing Sharon@discoveryourbounce.com

For team wellbeing take a look at our Engage! Workshops – all available on zoom  – and ask us to help create a wellbeing strategy for your organisation.

 

 

“I love these sessions with Nicky & Sharon. When life rockets along at 100mph, having the opportunity to take time out of my day to learn reminders and tips for my personal wellbeing is hugely valuable.

Holly Rathbone-Ward, Business Owner

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk