Burn out, exhaustion, tired, disengagement.
All relevant terms that could define employees, parents and students in today’s current climate. It’s something that isn’t spoken about much, isn’t taught to look out for and is often competed against as to who us more tired or entitled to feel more burnt out.
I naively thought that it wasn’t real, that you just needed a good chill and a hot bath, and you’ll be right. I naively thought that burn out was doing too much on the weekend and therefore, not resting enough before the gruelling week ahead started.
The year was 2019.
It was January. Summer.
I had big plans of being the “it” mum. I was going to be a warrior and show everyone else how to be the best mum ever. I was going to work full time in management, I was going to be the finance director for our new business, be a networking queen, and attend to my two boys and be at every single school and sporting event.
Yep. I know. How annoying is she! Seriously could her head get any bigger?
I had leave over Christmas/January period and came back to the office refreshed and ready to be a warrior princess. I showed up, attended school events, chatted to the mums, went to the networking events and even cooked dinners. Amazing! I can do this, I thought. I’ve totally got this and am feeling like a really important businesswoman now.
You know what happens next right?
April 2019. Easter. I was a broken woman.
I was resentful, emotional and far from healthy in my daily habits. I was working on projects with my overseas clients, sleeping lightly for four hours a night. I didn’t think it was possible, but I was waking more tired than I was going to bed the night before. I was so highly strung that my own family avoided me. I was angry and annoyed at everyone. I shut down normal communication channels and took it further upon myself to do everything because I just didn’t have time to show people what I wanted done. Perfect! I was now a control freak to add fun to the mix.
My skin was worse than when I was a teenager, I was sick with colds and my migraines were back with a vengeance. But I couldn’t stop or slow down. I had over committed to the role and was so insecure about life, that I believed that I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t give 1000%.
I needed an outlet, but what could it be? I am not a gym person and fail at committing to exercise. It felt like everyone around me somehow wanted more from me than actually asking me how I was. I felt so disconnected to everyone. I felt like I had lost the art of speaking and connecting.
The moment and month my life changed. I walked. I resigned and walked away from the corporate world. Walked away from the processes, the calendar invites.
Was it hard? Heck yeah. The hardest I have ever done. Was I regretting me decision? Nope. Not one little bit. I’ve not looked back one little bit. Life has been hectic the past eighteen months, but it’s been the best time for me to learn and invest in me. I haven’t had a cold. I’ve had a few milder migraines (thanks hormones) and I have connected to real life people who are making an impact on me becoming a better mum, wife and friend.
Sometimes you need to scrunch up that idea of what perfection is. You need to drown out the family voices questioning your decisions and just follow your heart. The most important thing is that you are genuinely happy and are feeling alive with optimism and drive each and every day. Sometimes this means breaking away from old traditions of what “work” looks like. Sometimes you need to embrace the “I don’t know” for a while to rest and recharge.
There are so many benefits that outweigh you currently taking no action at all.
I now work when I want. Instead of trudging through a 9-5 (or 8-6 including commutes) I now do a few hours a day of impactful work then spend the rest of the time with the family or working on me and what truly drives me to get out of bed every day.
I’m always a work in progress, and my latest mission is to stop piling everything on my to do list, so I look “busy”. Just because my diary isn’t bursting from edge to edge, doesn’t mean I’m not busy or accomplishing life.
It actually means I am choosing what I am allowing into my life to make an impact.
Everything that I let in must have a positive impact on my physical, mental and spiritual health. If it doesn’t, then it stays outside the door!