Prioritize Your Peace: How to Shift from a Cycle of Excessive Stress and BurnoutMar 15, 2023
This past month with my new program, I took on 30 new clients to work with for the next 6 months — some incredible women looking to transform their relationships with themselves and with their bodies.
As I began diving into their lab work, a fascinating pattern started showing up. For each client, I order something called an adrenal stress index. A test that shows the function of their adrenal hormones and how they’re working throughout the day.
I noticed that of all the 30 reports I read, only 1… ONE was normal.
And you know what? This is a huge sign of the stressful times we’re living in as a culture and constantly rushing from one thing to the next, never giving ourselves breaks, checking our emails and our phones between every meeting or at every bathroom break. The pressure of people pleasing and perfectionism. The nervous system never has time to actually calm down.
What this does is first send us into a state of alarm where over time, we might be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, like we can’t sleep, and like we’re gaining weight.
In the reaction phase, when this stress is too heightened for too long, we then end up fatigued in the morning, unable to sleep at night, now the weight really won’t come off. We have GI issues and we start having cravings for sugar until finally, we get to the burnout phase, where our cortisol flatlines.
Here, we’re exhausted all day. Sad. Moody. Irritable. Our confidence is lacking and our bodies just can’t keep up, so it gets sick all the time.
Today, I wanted to share a few lifestyle tips that will help you shift out of that chronic stress so you can realign with your inner peace and come back to yourself to start to reduce and eliminate some of these symptoms.
1. I Want You To Figure Out How To Work Smarter, Not Harder
This is because we often tend to do the opposite when faced with stress. During a hectic point in your life, have you ever thought to yourself, if I just work a little harder and push a little more, I’ll get through this and the stress will die down?
If you have, you’ve probably learned that the more you pushed, the harder you wore yourself down and the harder it was to get through things. You may be living in a chronic state of stress and not even realize it. After a while, feeling frazzled starts to feel like a baseline and you might not even realize how stressed out you really are.
From this space, looking at the big picture of stress, life can feel complicated and overwhelming. You might get very emotional, you might shut down, and not want to think about how to address this at all. But if you’re in a state of adrenal dysfunction, this is a good time to evaluate your life and look at the stressors infringing on your life’s quality.
So what can you modify or take off your plate?
What systems can you implement to keep yourself accountable and follow through with these shifts?
Maybe you’re overwhelmed with work and come home to a messy house every day. The piles of dirty clothes and dishes make your home environment feel chaotic, but no matter how much you try to get done in one day, you can never get around to the chores at home, which stresses you out even more. If you tried to get up an hour earlier 2 times/ week and clean, you would be working harder. Your house would be clean, but you’ll be too tired to even enjoy it.
But what if you paid someone to come to clean the house once / a week? Often times we have a hard time justifying these types of expenses, but removing this stressor and good energy from a clean home might be worth the monetary investment. This is an example of working SMARTER.
2. Take a Pause
This pause can be however long you want. When we’re already overwhelmed, it can feel like we want to take on all the tasks ourselves and just power through…. But pausing allows you to step back and gain some clarity on the real priorities. If you’re a Type A personality, you know how hard this can be at first, but when you just stop for a moment and step outside of the chaos when life gets overwhelming, everything starts to look more manageable.
Taking a break to do a 5-minute guided meditation (great SOS meditation on the app) or taking a walk around the block to get some fresh air is like a reset button for a system that’s in overdrive.
You might feel like you’re wasting your time, but you’ll soon find out that you’re actually more productive in the long run, learn how to prioritize, and be better able to choose what will serve you best in that moment.
3. Create Clear Priorities And Boundaries
An important piece of what we just discussed involves creating priorities and setting clear boundaries. This act of self-preservation helps to mitigate stress. It’s tempting to do everything and be everything to everyone. Still, without priorities, it’s hard to make decisions and stick with them because other unimportant tasks take precedence over previously important tasks.
One way to start here is to create a concise list of your activities and dos. Then circle what’s most important to you and by that, I mean what’s REALLY important to you, not what you think you have to or should do. Once you’ve identified what’s less important or not important at all, consider how you can delegate or give up these tasks altogether. Before adding a new task or commitment to your life, you can ask yourself this powerful question, will this activity recharge my batteries or deplete them? If it’s going to deplete you, then it’s up to you to either say no or find a smarter way of doing it.
This might include splitting the responsibility with a partner, asking the kids to help out, enlisting the help of a neighbor or friend, or outsourcing to a professional.
4. On That Note, Know It Is OK To Ask For Help
Many people in this success-driven society, especially women, struggle with perfectionism. You may not be able to notice this about yourself just yet, but ask yourself this – how willing are you to accept help or advice from others? If you’re resistant or believe that no one can do it as you do, you’re probably struggling with perfectionism. Perfectionists are skilled, driven, and often successful, but this comes at the expense of your well-being. Trust me, I know that used to be me, and I’m still working on it. You can help yourself by acknowledging that asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. It’s about progress, not perfection; a satisfactory finished job is better than an unfinished job with perfect details.
Once you get past the discomfort of asking for help, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to feel the weight of lifted burdens while seeing that the world didn’t fall apart because you gave up a task to someone who you thought may not do as good a job as you.
If this newsletter is speaking to you and you want to learn more about how to end the cycle of burnout and regain your energy and your zest for life, then schedule a FREE discovery call and find a program that works for you!