Star Wars, Sci-fi, neuroscience, theory, data, empathy, and connection. What on earth is this crazy list of yours, Carolon? Well, actually, it’s a bit of a summation of me and I suspect some parts of it describe many of you. I call the Star Wars, the research part of me, my body-less brain. I know... Don’t judge me… But seriously, I love that part of me, and I suspect that I am not alone. You, like me, love that intellectual part of ourselves, it is what makes us high achievers and what makes us good at what we do. But what if, this focus on our intellect left us disconnected from what was happening in our bodies and thus made us less able to see the brain-body connection between our stress and burnout? We often discount how what happens in our brains translates to our emotions and ultimately to our bodies. Remember that latest unexplained stomach rumbling? It seemed to come out of nowhere, but did it? What were you thinking about in the moments before the knots forming in your stomach? Often when there is a big meeting or presentation, we anticipate this sensation. But what if it’s happening in the middle of the night… Say at 3:00am? What if, it comes on suddenly while in conversation about something trivial. Chances are, your brain is processing something hard and your body is processing it too. Our brain, body, emotions, and gut are connected for better or worse. It is no wonder Mayo Clinic cited that unaddressed burnout leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and vulnerability to illnesses. But what if the long road to preventing these things started with paying attention to and using our body signals to help us begin to combat this.
In the book Burnout by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., Amelia Nagoski, DMA. They describe a few techniques for stopping the stress cycle and you guessed it, it begins with tapping into our bodies to help our brains process the stress, or in the case of burnout the excessive and unrelenting stress. According to the book, the best way to do this is through 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise that gets your heart pumping. Consider going for a run, dancing, taking a brisk walk, Squats, or doing some reps of lifting a gallon jug filled with water.
Yes, yes, I know Carolon, exercise would make me feel better. Insert deep breath, side-eye, and a sigh… I know that for many of you the thought of exercise makes you exhausted. Not because of anything other than you are already exhausted. Dragging yourself though each day, trying to do your best to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know what you are saying, “adding exercise to the mix sounds like a good idea but in practice, it just does not happen”. Well, lucky for you the book mentions a few things that might help. Did you know that 20 seconds of hugging someone you love also helps stop the stress cycle? I know that these pandemic times make that difficult so also consider tensing up all your muscles for 10 slow counts and then relaxing them. Creative expressions like painting, sewing, singing, playing an instrument, or sculpting also help stop the stress cycle. So, what will choose? Knowledge is good but the real power comes in doing what you know.
If you are tired of living overwhelmed, burned out, and stressed and you are ready to get off the burnout treadmill, schedule a 30-minute chat with me. I would love to be a part of helping you become burnout resistant.