This article shows you how Grid can help you deal with burnout. Put these 5 practical tips into action today and safeguard yourself against stress.
Are You Finding Dealing With Burnout Tough?
I’m hearing a lot about how hard it is to deal with burnout as the pandemic takes its toll on the mental health of everyone. Health care workers, critical front line services, young, old, mums and dads. In my circle, I’m particularly hearing how tough it is to be an academic parent today.
I coach a high number of academic and research women across the UK, EU and the USA. While Covid impacts each of us differently, some trends certainly emerge that indicate a huge burden on mental health, productivity, and well-being.
Isolation is taking a toll on women’s careers
Isolation due to Covid is negatively impacting women’s careers and promotion opportunities. Many academics and researchers invest a great deal in their careers. This includes numerous sacrifices from moving countries, putting one’s personal life on-hold or putting up with difficult, if not hell-like, conditions. To find yourself feeling like maybe all that was for nothing is heart-breaking.
In the last months, I have witnessed tears, frustration, disappointment and people talking about quitting way too much. The pandemic scenario is likely to stay with us for some time still. I am left wondering how long can women keep working this way.
For women with children, work time is frequently having to come second to child-care. Many parents to small people are having to home-school their kids. This means work gets postponed to night time. For many academics, being able to stay up at night to work is nothing new. They have been doing it before. However, up to now, this was something optional.
Covid and child-care have forced many academic parents to be routinely giving up sleep to prepare lectures and catch up on the necessary work tasks. This has a triple-negative impact that will drain energy: loss of sleep, loss of control and autonomy, and frustration from having little time for things like writing papers and grants.
Some of my clients with academic partners also face conflicts over who does what. Clashed with people we normally count on for support drain too. A tense atmosphere at home with our loved ones makes focusing on work hard, if not impossible.
Internal stress and conflicts
More and more people feel guilty, drained, frustrated, and at the end of their wits.
For women who are single Covid is equally draining. The isolation makes finding a partner harder. Social opportunities are few which makes meeting and dating people a challenge. The delay caused for all those looking to move, settle down, and starting family planning is painful and frustrating.
I will often hear people saying things like, “Why did this have to happen now?” or “If only I trusted myself and moved last year!” Such thinking, of course, and second-guessing one’s choices only drain further and pile on more stress. There is nothing like having to battle all the uncertainty, isolation, and anxiety while also feeling you may be to blame. The result of all this is physical and emotional drain and lower morale.
It is Demanding Enough Being a Woman
As women, we are expected to be there for others: our families, partners, children, students, those we manage, as well as our friends and colleagues. We are expected to care and do it all. We’re often told that we’re natural multi-taskers and that we can do it all. Many of us can and do a great deal. Most women are natural heroes.
But this does not mean we have to suffer for it. Without some structure, being a woman today means walking a tight rope of incredible expectations and always wondering whether we’re doing it right or well enough. Current conditions create the perfect storm for burnout for women. Burnout is a whole other pandemic we need to tackle now.
How to Recognise Symptoms of Burnout
If you’re going to deal with burnout, you need to recognize the symptoms first. Ask yourself these three questions. Have you recently found yourself…
- Having little energy to keep going? You may be feeling tired all the time and finding it hard to concentrate. Maybe you’re unable to get things done in your usual efficient manner. You could be feeling emotionally detached/numb, or feel like you can’t afford to care as much as you’d like. You might even be questioning your purpose.
- Cynical or feeling disengaged with work you used to love or find motivating? You may be disliking what you do or how you have to do it. You may be questioning whether this is still the right career choice for you or find yourself thinking about leaving it all.
- Finding your performance and results dwindling along with your confidence? Mingled with frustration given you know your true capability. It could be you’re finding that meeting your own standards is frustratingly difficult and exhausting.
The above are three typical signs of true burnout. They are serious and often dismissed when they need to be acknowledged and addressed so that you can get on the road to burnout recovery.
Habitual Burnout: When Stress is Our “Normal”
While we generally know that burnout is not good for us we may not realize its full dangers. Ongoing stress puts our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being at risk. It often has long-term consequences that impact our lives and our core functioning, including getting caught in habitual burnout.
In this case, burnout symptoms become so deeply embedded in our life that we accept them as normal. We start to believe this is simply what it takes and how things need to be. We can’t imagine life in any other way.
Getting to habitual burnout often starts with loving what we do and finding it hard to stop. We may get incredible satisfaction or buzz from being busy or feel driven to achieve. The occasional stressful day is easy to dismiss. But if we get caught in an extended feeling of stress that leads to powerlessness we’re in danger. Any prolonged sense of futility to improve things means risking exposure to chronic daily stress. Thus in turn erodes our ability to feel safe and grounded. We end up burning through and exhausting our resources. Burnout starts here.
As we expand more than we have, we start to drain our reserves. We can prevent habitual burnout if we catch this scenario in time. Effective mindset change, empowering tools and processes to help us stay on top of things, and internalized sense of healthier balance will go a long way towards improving things. Each one will plug the energetic leak making space for more positive habits to take root. But we have to spot the signs and get help.
How Grid Helps Deal with Burnout and Reduce Stress
Watch the movie below to see how one client, a successful academic and researcher, and a Mom to a small baby benefited from saying “No” to burnout with the help of the Grid method.
Why Grid Reduces Stress
The Grid method helped Laura deal with burnout. It is helping many others like her to:
- Systematically organize all demands in one place.
- Redefine healthy boundaries to ensure that what matters most is addressed.
- Tangibly advance things in a calm and measured manner .
- Nurture the person, which allowed the “leaky engine” to be mended and healthy refuelling resume.
Real change begins on Day 1. Week after week, habitual order and balance are restored instead of habitual stress and burnout. The Grid could revolutionize your life too.
5 Tips to Deal with Burnout
Do you find yourself feeling tired and stressed all the time? Help is on hand! Here are my top 5 tips to deal with burnout:
Tip 1: You deserve better
Life is not meant to be easy or fair, but your life should be organized in a way that gives you ample opportunity to top up your key cylinders and resources so that you can face your daily demands feeling up to the task. Take a moment to sense into yourself and how you are feeling. What do you need to refuel? Sleep? Practical help? An empathetic listener? A compassionate hug? Get what you need.
Tip 2: No one can give you what you won’t claim for yourself
You will most likely find yourself surrounded by people who are working just as hard as you, and who may make you feel bad or guilty for doing less. Unless you claim the right to a healthy balance for yourself, you will stay trapped in a vicious high-risk burnout cycle. Some badges are great. The burnout badge is honestly not worth it. Consider what you want to claim for yourself. Is it peace of mind? Rest? Balance? Joy? Fun? Start living with this in mind.
Tip 3: Making time for you is not a privilege
It’s your key responsibility. Part of feeling empowered is being able to claim time that’s just for you, say “No” a bit more often, and push back on boundaries that are way too costly to your health and well-being. Most things in life are not ‘life and death’ situations but we can be easily fooled into believing otherwise. What part of the day can you spend on topping you up? It may be just 2min or an hour. You deserve it.
Tip 4: Focus on what truly matters
Focusing on what really matters for your health and happiness such as people who energize, love, and support you and projects that you truly love is critical to staying energized. Too many women fall into the trap of doing things that drain them simply to survive. It’s a bad strategy as it traps them in a vicious cycle of unfulfilling survival becoming the norm. Begin to plan each day by asking yourself this question: “What can I look forward to and enjoy today, however small?”
Tip 5: Like-minded supportive networks are a must
From a coach to helpful colleagues, wise friends, and healthy mentors, we all need to see our efforts, toil, triumph, and disappointment witnessed. We need to feel supported. We need to be acknowledged. The right form of support is a true aid to every women’s sense of power. If your time for connection and critical top-up conversations is being squeezed out, I urge you to reconsider your daily or weekly agenda.
How Make Time Count Can Help You Deal with Burnout
At Make Time Count, we can help you find your path to healthy self-renewal and balance. Our tools can help you deal with burnout and actively safeguard against habitual stress. Here are three ways to start this journey:
- Explore our Grid productivity, well-being, and balance system. There are different ways to get started, all of which have been developed to fit different circumstances, budgets, and preferences for learning. You doing better with us is what counts.
- Try our 14-Day Habit Builder challenge. This online course has helped many people make important changes and flourish. It’s amazing where you can be in just two weeks by applying this method.
- Sign up for our 1-day personal development retreat. Whether you’re needing to address results with healthier balance or recover your drive and connection to your purpose, our unique retreat methodologies will help you do that.
Help is on offer. What we often need is to take a concrete step and claim it.