Ladies, I am so happy to have Eva from Eva Authentic Living featuring on my blog this week to discuss the really prevalent topic of stress, burn out and how to manage both. Great read here with lots of golden nuggets on a topic that is unfortunately too common in our culture today. Enjoy and thank you Eva. Anna xx
As a busy woman you have a lot on your plate. High stress levels have become normal in your life and a bit of stress helps you perform, but experiencing stress for a longer period of time is a risk for your health and wellbeing.
People talk a lot about stress lately and are using terms like burn-out, burn-out complaints, chronic stress or stress complaints.
Different phases of stress:
Let me first put a light on the different concepts to give you a bit of clarity in the jungle of the terminology of stress. I guess you know that feeling of anxiety, nervousness, or feeling tense while you are experiencing a daily event where you feel rushed. Like when we run late in the morning for work, we have to give a presentation to a group or we are facing a deadline at work. The symptoms you are experiencing in that moment is a stress reaction. Your body helps you to perform during that moment with the built in stress system.
The purpose of our stress system:
The body has a stress system and it gives us energy to do the things we need to do. It gives energy to our brain and muscles to do our daily activities. Our bodies are programmed for that. Now when we are in “rest modus”, when we are relaxing actively like doing yoga or have a slow walk in the park. Or inactively by lying down on your couch doing nothing, our body restores the energy that we have been using. When we are alternating an activity with rest or relaxation, our body balances the energy we have used for that activity and is able to fill it up again and our vitality levels remain on an equal level.
Now, knowing this it is very possible that you build up your stress levels because you do not fuel your vitality levels timely.
Most of us are being much more “active” during our day than we should. We give our time and attention to our work, family, friends, kids, partners, hobbies and sports, that it is so easy to forget to fill those vitality levels. We al have become so busy with the demands in our external world, that we find it hard to create moments where our body can actively or passively recharge.
When we do not give our bodies the opportunity to recharge on a daily basis our body reacts like: “Oh, this person is fleeing from a bear, we have to give it a bit more energy so that it can run away.” Our bodies have not evolved in the last 10.000 years. The stress system was there to flee from the bear. Now this stress system is much more activated during our day, because we have too many activities.
This over activation results in signals like:
-not able to sleep at night
– feeling tired when you wake up
-eat less or more than normal
-have a hard time concentrating
-find it difficult to remember things
-feel more sluggish
-feel in a rush the whole time
-feel tense around neck and shoulders
-find it hard to make decisions
This list is not complete but just to give you an idea.
Then you need to start to pay serious attention. As these are examples of serious burn-out complaints because your body has turned the stress system in a constant state of activation. When you experience this on a daily basis we do not talk about a stress reaction anymore, but we talk about “suffering from burn-out symptoms”. The stress reaction has turned into chronic stress. Your body reacts like your constantly fleeting from a bear.
This is the moment when many women call themselves in sick. When you recognise yourself in the burn-out complaints above, consult first your GP to take a stress test to know where you are in the chronic stress spectrum.
In this phase your focus needs to be in helping your body to recover from these serious burn-out symptoms. This way you can build up your energy levels.
Difference between burn-out complaints and being in burn-out:
What is also important to know is that having serious burn-out complaints is different then being in burn-out. When you have burn-out complaints, your body is still able to recover naturally. It will take time, but the body is still able to recharge when you are resting.
When you are in burn-out you are in a very advanced state of chronic stress. You have to realise that when you are in this phase, you are physically sick because there is a physiological disruption in the body and that means that it is not able to recover in a natural way anymore. That’s why women in this phase can sleep for 16 hours and still feel not rested. When you are in his phase, you need professional guidance to help you recover.
Now prevention is key to not suffer from burn-out complaints or being in burn-out.
To prevent yourself from burn-out complaints, you can apply these 7 guidelines on a daily basis.
1) Start slow, end slow: This is a mantra I use when I feel that I have asked too much of my body. This means that you take your time to start and end your day without being in a rush.
2) Create a system for your recurring daily activities: There are certain things that are always the same in your week day. See if you can create systems to organise them. Like for example I have a system for having clean clothes. That saves me time in the morning so that I don’t have to seek for my children’s socks last minute, with the risk of running late for school and my work.
3) Build in breaks during the day: Plan every 90 minutes a break of 5 minutes where you actively give yourself the opportunity to recharge. Here you can do breathing exercises or have a walk around.
4) Plan periods during your day without being interrupted by people, social media or your phone: When you have less interruptions and you attend one thing at the time, you are much more productive and you do not activate your stress system that much.
5) Have a daily walk outside: Doing mild exercise activates the nervous system that takes care of the recovery activities needed to feel recharged.
6) Spend less time on screens: In the last years we are using much more our smart phone and tablet. Yes, I know, it is so nice to binge the latest series on Netflix, but it is not relaxing for your body. It actually activates it. When you wish to close your day slowly, read a fiction book to end your day.
7) Listen to the signals of your body: We are wired to be in our heads, and our head dictates to do more, to be active. But our body has an infinite wisdom and tells you what it needs. You only need to give it space to talk to you. Sitting still with your eyes closed and paying attention to your breathing for 5 minutes a day can help you get to know yourself just a bit better and give your body what it needs.
In case you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. Especially if you suspect that you are suffering from burn-out symptoms or you are in burn-out. I always start with a stress test to see where you are in the stress spectrum and offer customised 1 on 1 guidance to recover from the burn-out complaints. Click here to contact me!
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Eva Visser Plaza is a holistic coach, helping busy, ambitious, international women to create a life and career with purpose and wellbeing so that they can become natural authentic leaders and contribute positively to our current changing world.
She helps women recover from burn-out and helps to create a vital life and career after the recovery. Click here for more information about what she does.
Eva lives in Amsterdam with her partner and two children and has created a simple, quiet life and when she is not working, she spends her time with her family, loves to run in nature, and write and reads.
Her motto is: Simplify your life to enjoy it!
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