In this episode, we dive deep into the topic of burnout and how to avoid it.
We explore the root causes of burnout and how it’s not just about the amount of work you’re doing, but also your internal state while doing it. We also discuss how women over 40 are more prone to burnout due to hormonal shifts as well as the weight of societal conditioning.
To avoid burnout, we need to create an internal mindset/heartset shift, which has a flow-down effect on our nervous system and energy reserves.
Interrupting a burnout pattern requires rewiring our beliefs and automatic thoughts that are causing stress in our system, as well as considering other important factors which I cover in this episode. Only then can we start creating behavioral change in our external world that supports either repair or avoidance of burnout.
It is very difficult to get any traction with recovery from burnout if we try to implement behavioural self-care changes in response to feelings of burnout without first addressing the internal conditions that are present.
Full Episode Transcript
I am Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt, people pleasing, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your wellbeing.
Are you ready? Let’s begin. Hello my friends. What do you do when you’re running on. When you are feeling burnout, you’ve either fallen into a burnout state or you are feeling it on the edges of your experience. And here’s the thing we’ll get clear about right from the start. My clients often fall into one of two camps, they’ll either be on the side of not getting enough done because they’re always in preparation mode.
A k a procrastination, which can also be very cleverly disguised by our brain as planning. And so their complaint will often be that they are very busy, but they’re either not getting the momentum that they’re looking for or things are taking just way too long. They’re not getting into traction. They’re doing a lot of planning, but there’s not a lot of sales or customers showing up.
Or in the other camp, they’ll tend to be really hustling so much, doing so much and actually overworking. So they are creating a lot of momentum. But they’re actually overworking and in that place they’re teetering on burnout and because what causes burnout is not so much the quantity of your work, of your output, but the internal state.
Through which we do our work. So for example, if I’m always frantic, I’ve got a fight and flight state activated. Most of the time my sympathetic nervous system, which is all about our fight and flight is highly activated and there’s not a lot of breaks with that. I’m not getting a lot of rest and restore time or state within myself.
So in that case, I’m working hard out from that position of that sympathetic nervous system activation that’s gonna lead to burnout. And so you can see that we could be behaving and creating a lot of output, or not actually creating a lot of output, but because our internal state is chronically stress, It’s still gonna lead us into that place of running on empty, where we feel like we’re burned out.
So avoiding burnout or pushing back on burnout firstly comes from changing our internal state, which then has a flow down effect on the nervous system, which then consequently alters the level of your energy reserves. So just check in with yourself right now in terms of my energy reserves, 10 being the most vital, energetic, full of vim and vigor, full of vitality that I could feel, and zero being.
I need to crawl into bed right now. I am bloody exhausted. I don’t know how I’m gonna get through the day. Where are you at? Give yourself a number and just take a note of that number because that’s gonna be helpful for you to check in with yourself around, actually, where am I at? Am I just a little bit tired today because I didn’t sleep well?
Or is this a pattern that’s been going on over the long term? To add to this for us women that are over 40, we can be a little more prone to that burnout state. And the reason is is because we are going into maybe perimenopause, we’re coming into that stage of life where we’ve got the hormonal shifts that are going to lead into menopause, which of course can last 10 years or more.
It’s not all bad news, but it’s just something to keep in mind, and so when those hormonal shifts are happening, they’re causing a little more stress in our system. So then if we’ve also got layered into that hormonal shifts, which are causing more physical stress in our system, just for, you know, if we think about the, the ups and downs of the hormones that can happen through perimenopause, your liver has got so much more to deal with, it can also have this downstream effect.
Causing an actual felt sense experience of more stress in our body. So there’s lots of perimenopausal women that I talk to that say to me, nothing much has changed in my life, but I actually feel more stressed within myself more often. And then you find when women know, if we are post-menopausal, we’re menopausal, we are going and getting, say for example, bio identical, H R T.
One of the first things that women report is that they suddenly feel less stressed. They feel calmer inside themselves. because those hormones are calming hormones. They support our body to physically calm. So I really wanna keep in mind that not all of this is just about what you’re thinking or how you’re thinking or your mindset.
There’s layers in here that are societal, that a cultural, that are physical. , and there’s the mindset stuff. However, if we just take this piece right now, which is around our mindset, so if my mindset is really in a habit of perceiving the world through a stressful lens, if I have a habit of stressful thinking, then I’m giving my system another load to carry.
And if I’m over 40, I’m 52. And when I was in perimenopause, if I was having those hormonal fluctuations, plus I add that layer in of stress-based thinking, then we can see how it starts to accumulate in our system. And because burnout is really, your body has been in a stressed state for a long period of time.
Without the deep rest, without the parasympathetic nervous system, being able to come on board and create that calm and relaxed response, which is like, so the stress state is the accelerator. Go, go, go. The calm and relaxed response state, the parasympathetic nervous system has come on board. That’s the break that’s slowing us down.
That’s calming our system. And when that happens, we are filling up on energy. It allows our energy reserves to once again fill up. We are refueling. So if you looked at the numbers that you had when you checked in with yourself, where’s my vitality at? And outta 10, you were like, Ugh, I’m about a four or a five.
When you are able to take some of that deeper rest inside yourself, and it might only need to be small pockets of rest regularly throughout your daily life, then you are refueling. And so then what happens is that those vitality numbers can actually go up. But if we are always in sympathetic arousal, Then we’re actually depleting our vitality numbers over time, just by the mere fact that we’re not refueling with the calm relaxed response in the nervous system, looking through the nervous system leans, and unfortunately, once your system is as in a longer term stress response.
So ironic, but it’s often harder to find internal rest. And so that can look like for us. You know, I’ve had times where I’ve been really tired within myself. I’ve felt that. Running on empty state that wired and tired state, and so I’ve tried to go to bed earlier, but I just can’t bloody go to sleep. My mind is so busy that I’m unable to sleep, and this was particularly prevalent when I was in perimenopause, which is why I’ve bought this into this conversation.
Around burn burnout because it’s such an important piece for us to pay attention to as well. And now when that happens, when you’re in a little bit more of a wired and tired state, we may need to introduce some different tools or interventions that actually switch the nervous system and bring online that parasympathetic, calm and relaxed response.
And we’ll talk about some of those tools a little bit further on into the podcast. So what I’m saying is that the origins of our burnout partly start with our beliefs, our thoughts, our self-concepts, and our internal state.
However, We must not use this piece as a way to criticize ourself to think, oh God, it’s just my thoughts again I’m having bad thoughts. I must do better. Because our beliefs in our self concepts, our thoughts about ourself come from our societal conditioning, come from our upbringing. You haven’t chosen those beliefs.
You’ve grown up through them and with them. So this is a very subtle but important perspective shift that we need to make around beliefs and self-concepts when they’re limiting us. So to interrupt a burnout pattern, we need to be able to rewire the beliefs and automatic thoughts that are causing the stress response in our system.
We also need to consider in the mix here the effects of trauma. Not to go into that too in depth today, but that is absolutely what I help my clients with. And if you feel like that’s something that you are battling with, that’s something I can help you with as well.
Just reach out and we’ll have a chat. And so once we’ve done that work, or well, we are never a hundred percent done, are we? Once we are on the path and we are doing that work, we’re identifying, we are creating change internally, then we start to create the behavioral change in our external world. But if you were to just change your behavior, say for example, like getting really, really good at scheduling your time, I’m going to have my whole week scheduled out.
But you are still doing that from a limiting belief system. You are still running a lot of stress in terms of your thoughts, your feelings, your nervous system state then that’s like getting your nails painted when your life is falling down around you. Those nails might look good and look really pretty, but you’ve got the financial wolves at the door still
it hasn’t changed things fundamentally, so please keep that in mind that the behavioral changes and the things you can do, the strategies that I’m gonna offer. They are really helpful, but, but they’re most powerful when they walk alongside those deep mindset shifts. And sometimes I hesitate to even call the mindset shifts.
Cause that just sounds like we are changing our thoughts. We are altering our thinking, but it’s so much deeper than that. We’re going into beliefs. We are going into how our nervous system functions in it’s normal state. So when I say mindset, I’m talking about the whole beingness of your psyche, of your body.
So keeping all of that in mind, here’s some tips. Okay, so on the external for the behavioral stuff. So we wanna start being realistic about how much time things take. You might have a plan for your business. For a project that you have, and actually your timeframe is too short. And you’ll notice that as you start moving through it, you’ll start feeling a little more overwhelmed.
You’ll start feeling stretched, and you will push yourself from that real hustle, hustle, energy that doesn’t have a break. So that’s the key, right? So maybe some of it is just as simple as being more realistic about how much time things take, and I recently had to do that with my membership platform that I was setting up.
So another thing you can do is you can plan your time and block your time, and so you’ve got these blocks of time in your diary so that you can be more productive in your actions. You can plan your time on a Sunday evening, on a Monday morning before you start your working week, you can block out some time for things like marketing, connecting with potential clients.
For me, it’s my social media time. If I plan and block that time out, that’s really helpful for me in terms of my energy because then I’m not overthinking around, well, how can I get all of this done this week when the reality is I might be able to get five or six things done this week, but there’s just not the physical time for it.
So remembering this is we are doing this once our nervous system is calm. Is more regulated. We’ve been working on that. Then when you make the behavioral changes, that’s when they’re powerful. Next piece, which probably should be the first piece, is to rest, to learn how to rest, and that doesn’t have to be going and getting massages, going and getting treatments, having spa days.
It doesn’t have to mean that at all. It could mean lying on the floor, supporting your body, playing a deep, relaxing, guided meditation. It could be going to bed an hour earlier every night and skipping that Netflix show and actually going to sleep. So many of us are chronically sleep deprived, and when I teach students to meditate, probably 80% of them
once their system comes down into relaxed. They go to sleep straight away, and now part of that is about learning how to be relaxed and alert when you meditate. That’s a skill that you learn, but the other part is their body’s just so chronically tired. Then as soon as you get that relaxation in the nervous system, the body prioritizes sleep.
It’s like, oh, okay, you relax. Okay, I’m gonna do that thing that I’ve got this massive deficit for. I’m gonna get some sleep. Rest, rest, rest. Take as much sleep as you can, as your system needs, and even if next tip, even if your schedule is full to overflowing, take that regular time out. Once we make that perspective shift around our to-do list, around our schedule, and know that you may never get it under control.
And if you do get it under control, that will only be temporary. That’s impermanence. Once we get our head around that and we can start to identify what’s important and what’s urgent for me to do this week, you’re putting it into your planner and you are, you are altering the framework where I know a lot of us do this, me included, where somehow in my thoughts, I think, and feel
when my to-do list is small, when I’ve crossed everything off, then I can rest. Then I can come from that rest state. Well, the reframe as a business owner for you. Is my to-do list, is there it does not need to have anything to do with whether I feel calm and relaxed inside myself or not.
I can have 20 things on my to-do list. And I can still be calm and relaxed inside myself and feel like, yes, I’m achieving things. Because that’s often the thing, right? Once we tick off everything on our to-do list, then I’m like, yes, success. I’ve done it. Well, I want you to take that feeling of yes, success.
I’ve done it each time you do one thing in your day and don’t wait until you finish that to-do list. Cause it’s never gonna be done when you’re a business owner. So the point around that was to take regular time out, even when your to-do list is full to overflowing. And that’s easier to do when you’ve made that perspective shift.
And the next piece is how you take your actions. The how will determine the quality of your results. So we know that saying of, it’s not the destination itself, but it’s about the journey along the way. So if you are hustling, overworking, overdoing, stressing the f. along the way to your destination. We wanna flip that on its head.
Bring through those feelings that you will feel when you are at the destination. Success. Feeling good about myself, feeling empowered, feeling spacious. Take those on now. Create those for you yourself now, and do your work from that state. Doesn’t have to be a hundred percent perfect. , but make that perspective shift and that’s gonna make a big difference.
So we can get a lot done without coming from that place of being endlessly busy inside ourselves. Because if busyness is a mindset, then we can shift our mindset and still get a lot done. Really key. So pay attention to how you’re feeling inside yourself and get really clear. Am I running on empty because I’m doing too much, or is this burnout feeling coming from the fact that I’m in overwhelm?
I’m feeling confused. And I’m really doubting myself. Is there some self-worth beliefs underneath the surface that are really driving this burnout feeling? Can you track the energetic differences there? I bet you can. So is my burnout feeling coming because I am actually just doing too much?
Or is it coming through because I’ve got, Self-worth issues running, and that’s feeding, confusion, self-doubt, and overwhelm. And so then what my system is trying to do is to overcompensate for that. And that’s a very stressful state. So there you know, there we’re identifying, okay, I am actually doing too much here.
I need to create some more breaks in my day. I need to take some more time out or, There’s a piece here where I need to really work on my self-worth and my self-belief. It’s just amazing when you get that lift in your self-belief. When you no longer doubt yourself, how much more productive you are, it’s huge.
So to summarize, if you are feeling like you are running on empty, know that this is super, super normal. Please don’t blame yourself about it. We don’t wanna layer on self blame as well. It’s part of the big soup society that we live in. This is a really normal thing that happens for all of us. And you may also be running certain mindset states and beliefs that are fueling this inner state.
And so if that’s the case, there’s some work you can do around that to create the shifts to give you that lift in your vitality. It is amazing actually, when I work with people with through their Creatrix coaching process. We don’t work on their vital energy.
We don’t work on vitality in any physical way, but we change the way their brain is wired away from self-doubt, away from not good enough, away from low self-worth. And these women are stepping into owning, knowing, and feeling through their entire body, nervous system, brain, psyche, and soul that they are
infinitely worthy when you know that you feel that. Right? So that’s the shift that they make. And then what happens with their vitality? It shoots up. Their vitality shoots up. because they’ve created shifts in their self-concept. And so once you start creating those shifts or you are doing that work along the way of creating those shifts in your self-concept and your self-beliefs, then you are gonna get way better results.
When you make the external shifts that you need to make, which might be about better planning, improved time blocking, you might need to change the way you are fueling your body with food. You might choose to improve your fitness so that you have better physical energy reserves for yourself. You might need to be more realistic about how long something takes to complete or to manifest. You might even need to get on board some more help if you are not a very organized person in terms of your
working week, getting some support to learn how to do that can be really, really helpful. You might need to learn how to slow down within your nervous system, within your thoughts. You might have a habit of a racing mind. Which causes the racing nervous system that you’re really just needing to interrupt that pattern and create a new pattern.
You might need to block out those break times. That’s something I always need to come back to. And last, and very, very much not least, you might need to learn how to say no more often when you’re feeling a no inside yourself, when your body needs to rest. And carving out that time for yourself for rest. I hope that’s been helpful.
My friends, if you are feeling like you are running on empty, like burnout is knocking on the door, there’s different layers and there’s different aspects of this, but we look at the mindset, we look at our societal conditioning, we look at the life that we’re, the environment that we are living in. And we also look at what are the strategies, what are the things I need to do to change in my life so that I move from that state of where the tank is running really, really low, lower, and lower and lower to actually, I’m topping up.
I’m topping up my vitality every day, every week, and so then it doesn’t matter if it goes a little low because you’ve got those tools and those ways of refueling when you need to. Okay, my friends go out there, have an amazing, amazing, productive week interspersed with lots of rest and lots of play. Love you so much.
I’ll talk to you soon.