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Burnout and box ticking

That common word we hear banded about - burnout. We can all feel like this at times during our life, to different extents, and for very different reasons. Sometimes we don't recognise it. We might feel like we are just working really hard, doing a great job, and misconstrue exhaustion for job satisfaction, or the way we will always feel due to life's pressures. We may be so exhausted that we feel like we have no way out of the situation. Financial restraints, responsibilities at home, lack of space in our brain to look further ahead than the end of our nose. We keep doing what we feel we need to do, we keep ticking all the right boxes on paper, but we aren't hitting the mark for our own wellbeing. Exercise feels tiring rather than uplifting - but it's good for you so don't stop and give yourself a break, your morning smoothie leaves you flat rather than glowing - it contains 3 of your 5 a day so don't change that morning routine. Your job is draining you - this is what you've always wanted so dont be ungrateful and change the situation. That  inner voice, and sometimes other peoples, can keep us very stuck. We carry on ticking the boxes we feel we should, but those points on our list have begun to take more than they give to us. 

This was my situation. I knew I wanted to change my vocation, but in my head I was  on a treadmill and felt I had no wiggle room, personally or professionally. I love exercise, so I carried on doing it regularly, even though I was really tired and under the weather. Exercise has always been my coping mechanism, so it will see me through this, right? Personal situations were getting very hard to manage, and again I kept telling myself that it shouldt be getting to me, so I should suck it up. My job felt like walking through treacle, but that little voice was saying that it's better than a lot of other jobs, so don't complain.

The result - I shut down. Physically, I ended up with shingles. Emotionally - I had to stop seeing certain friends and family as I was so overwhelmed, My stress bucket was full, and I knew I needed to do something. I was doing all the right things on paper - exercising, taking time for myself, eating well, but it had become simply ticking things off a list that was no longer relevant to me.

The Solution Focused approach saved me. It allowed me to focus on making one small decision at a time. Taking life apart brick by brick, changing or discarding what no longer serves me, helping me get back in that intellectual brain, annd out of that angry, anxious, depressed caveman brain. Finding that a daily afternoon nap was on the fulfilling box I needed to tick, for me to get better, and a bowl of granola with warm milk was a much more nourishing breakfast for me to start my day with. 

Giving myself permission to do something until it doesn't work anymore, and then re-evaluate has been an empowering solution that I have been able to come to through using the Solution Focused techniques. We can so easily end up doing what is technically meant to be right, and worked in the past. We can slip out of the moment, and lose touch with who we are at this point in time. Our reward hormone dopamine stops firing in the brain, the spark is lost, and it is time to ask ourselves 'does this feel good today?'. If the answer is no, maybe its time to shake things up.

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