Do any of these sound like you?
- Work is so busy right now, I just do not have time for anything else, how am I supposed to fit it all in?
- The kids need me all day, I just don’t get a break, how am I ever supposed to build my career/business if I can’t even go to the loo alone?
- The house is a mess, I am behind at work, I have forgotten the kids PE kit 3 weeks in a row and now my friends want to go on a weekend away… not going to happen!
- I just need a break. I just want to sit inside for a weekend and sleep but everyone will just think I’m lazy, I can’t just do nothing. I will just push through, it will be Ok.
It is no secret that adulting is hard. I remember as a child looking up to adults wanting to be just like them, where they can do anything they want, seemingly had money for everything they needed and generally just had their sh… life together. Now I am in my thirties, I still look to those older than me and wonder when I will become a real adult! Can anyone relate?
I now have children of my own and am often met with the questions about why I have to work, why do they have to go to bed, how unfair it is that they have to (insert literally any activity here) and find myself repeating the words of my own mum; “You don’t realise how lucky you are. Enjoy life now while you are young and your biggest problem is having to (insert all end of world activities here such as cleaning your teeth)”
But when does that change? When does life get hard? I look back and I really can’t pinpoint it. I think in all honesty, life doesn’t necessarily get harder, we just choose to take on more responsibility and inevitably listen to what society tells us we should be doing and then feel guilt if we are either not conforming or not seen to be coping with all the pressures that come with living the life we “should” be.
Social media has only added to the problem and although I cannot be happier about all the recent movements across all platforms to show a more “honest” reality whether that is body image or what everyone gets up to on a day to day basis, this has only scratched the surface and a lot more needs to be done in this area to remind everyone that social media is a show reel of only the best bits and we all struggle with something. We don’t all do it all, and much like the filters that make our physical selves look flawless, our mental filtering out the worst bits and choosing to only share the best makes our lives look flawless.
Even if you are aware and social media doesn’t affect you in this way, you only have to look at the rest of the world to see the same message is being sent to us. It is impossible to stay away from completely.
The good news is that you are not alone. Far from it. No one has everything together, no one has it all figured out, everyone struggles with something and those that are fortunate enough, receive support and can outsource commitments no one shares that right? Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen though.
The most common reasons for becoming overwhelmed in your life in general are the following:
- One area of your life is taking up all your time in the day leaving little to no room to fit in all your other current commitments in the day. Therefore, your rest and self-care time are often sacrificed first to squeeze in what you can. This area has likely built up over time so you didn’t notice until all of a sudden you have reached breaking point and feel completely overwhelmed.
- You are trying to take on too much. Telling yourself you have to do everything yourself, there is no one to help, there is nothing that can be compromised and everyone else seems to be able to do it so you can too. You are a mum/boss/carer etc so self-care is a luxury you don’t get to enjoy.
- An unexpected event has left more responsibility lying with you that is completely out of your control. Instead of finding a way to adjust your existing commitments, you have just let this be added on top. This could be caring for a relative, home-schooling (which I don’t think would ever have made it to the list until 2020 but now a very real reality for many) or perhaps you run a small business and a member of staff leaving has meant you absorbing their role.
Do any of these resonate with you? This list is certainly not exhaustive though and there are many, many reasons becoming overwhelmed and/ or burnout can occur.
If you are currently in this position, I can completely relate to the feeling of exhaustion, of defeat and of despair wondering how things will ever change.
In summer 2020 I experienced true burnout for the first time. If you have never gone through this yourself, I can honestly tell you, I would not wish this on anyone. This is why it is so important to spot the signs early and take steps to prevent it as soon as possible. If you are currently feeling overwhelmed in life, you must take steps now before things become worse and your mental health is more severely affected.If you have followed my story, you will know that being organised has just been part of me since I was a child. I didn’t think overwhelm and burnout could apply to me. I can add and add and add to my bucket and because I knew how to prioritise, plan in a crisis, I would be fine. Well, I was wrong. So, if you are reading this thinking that you can add and add and you will be fine, no one else can help, you are the only one who can do everything, please be careful. You are one person, and you will be no use to anyone if you burnout completely.
As a mum to two young children, I have always felt the pressure of being everything to everyone. A good wife, a good friend, a good mum, a good employee, a good manager etc and then life as we know it was thrown completely out the window.
My marriage was over and that came with its own challenges of keeping up the appearance everything was fine and I could still handle it all (even though that was the complete wrong thing to do), the added responsibility of the children and home was tough and trying to do that when all you wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry and scream and shout was a period I thought was hard enough. Lesson 1 was learned, accept help from friends and family who want to. They are there because they love you, not because they are judging you need their help. The people judging aren’t offering the help anyway.
Then, just a few short months later came Covid-19. Well, that was enough to shake anyone up wasn’t it and turn everyone’s lives upside down. My personal experience went something like this:
- School and childcare close – Ok so that is a 5 year old and 1 year old at home with home-schooling, this should be fun. Work have been great and I can do my 5 hour day whenever I can, no pressure as long as the work gets done. Fab, me and the kids will have some fun here and I will just have to put in a couple of hours work of an evening.
- Well home-schooling was not easy and not quite as fun as predicted.
- My 5 hour a day job turned into 16 hour days, 7 days a week overnight with no choice but to do it with the key worker status given to us. I was only looking up when food was bought to me or I was crying.
- Which also meant family having no choice but to step in and help with the children and risk our households
The long days, the stress of the job, the guilt of not being there for my children at this strange time and asking my family to put themselves at risk for me, dealing with a divorce, managing to clean and upkeep a house where we were all there all the time meant I felt like I tipped over the edge into survival mode. Now I know that so many also felt like this but at the time, I remember feeling so alone watching families get to have such great quality time together whilst mine missed out.
Survival mode meant no self care, no downtime, no satisfaction in what I was achieving as even at work it was fire fighting despite the hours I was putting in. It meant everything that could be put to one side was; keeping on top of annual commitments, keeping in touch with friends, tidying up. Just the bare essentials to keep us all alive.
I am sharing these feelings in the hope that they resonate with someone or helps someone know that the sense of failing at everything or complete hopelessness is only temporary. There is a way out but it is slow and steady.
I have taken the steps to change what I could, realign why I make the choices I do and accept support where I could. I still lead a busy life but it no longer feels overwhelming as what I have taken on is manageable for me. I can say no to what serves no purpose to my life and can take time out for what is important to me. You CAN do this too!
So what are the signs of burnout?
Burnout is when you are feeling completely exhausted, overwhelmed and begin to hate what you do. You feel less capable and have lost all motivation or incentive to do a good job.
Typical signs include:
- Feeling numb about your work and the people around you in relation to this.
- Physical and emotional exhaustion – feeling drained, unable to cope and generally lacking in energy and always tired
- Loss of concentration at the task in hand
- Negative feelings towards any activity to do with the main stressor
As you can see burnout is something that can easily lead to more serious mental health issues and therefore if you are feeling overwhelmed or experiencing burnout you should look to change this as soon as possible.
If you are worried about your mental health, please reach out to talk to a medical professional and if you don’t feel comfortable with this just yet, start by talking to someone you trust. Below is a link to a hub of mental health helplines who are there for anyone who needs them.
How can you reverse burnout?
The good news is that if you address your feelings of overwhelm early on, they can be reversed.
Making sure you take a proper break from what is giving you those feelings when practically possible, making sure you make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy, journaling often helps and finally talking. Whether you talk to friends and/or family initially, this is still a weight off your shoulders. Ideally however you should be talking to someone that can have an active part in reducing your feelings of overwhelm. That could be your boss at work, or a partner or perhaps an impartial professional. Whoever you decide to talk to, please make sure you reach out to someone.
How can I help you?
I know that unfortunately in the real world, no one can permanently run away from the pressures of life and sometimes it is just a helping hand you need to make it all a little more manageable. By working and living at maximum efficiency you can feel in control of everything you do rather than living day to day in panic mode.
I can help you delve deeper into your current routines and schedules and make sure they align with your future goals in life. I can help you feel less overwhelmed with the day to day rat race and feel more accomplished and confident that you can do it all (and yes that does include rest and relaxation too!)
When you hear about working efficiently many feel that this means being on the go all day long but you would be wrong. Working efficiently means working more intentionally and with a better purpose to what gives you the life you want and achieve your goals.
If you would like to know more about how I can help, you please contact me today and book in a free consultation call.
If you fancy having a go yourself with some planning, you can also download my FREE planners here
Finally, if you would like to hear more hints, tips and join our amazing TOC family which is full of amazing supportive people you can join our private Facebook group here.
Sending big love to you all – and remember you have absolutely got this!