Taking a break before you need to is so important if you want to avoid burn-out, as I learned first-hand.
“Kelly, there are similarities between some of the people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They can be high achievers and have a desire to constantly push themselves, more often than not beyond their own limits. This can often leave them feeling fatigued, burned out and frustrated.'”
Isn’t it funny when you hear somebody else saying the words that you already knew deep within, but hadn’t wanted to admit it to yourself? These were the words that my Chronic Fatigue Consultant uttered a few years ago during a hospital appointment. It was the first time I’d really explored chronic fatigue and the effects it can have, and in particular the similarities between some of the people that suffer from it. These sessions opened my eyes to the effects that it can have on both your mind and body, and I was taught how to deal with this condition.
During this time I reflected a lot on how I approached life in general and this was the beginning of my journey of self discovery. I remembered as a child I was brought up to be strong-minded, resilient and hard-working and to never show weakness. I was told to always strive to be the best that I could and this came from a very loving place from both of my parents, especially my Dad. In many ways this stood me in good stead in both my career, studies and life. However, the downside of this was that I never knew when to pause and take a break, so I just kept pushing myself beyond my limits. It was only when I truly burned out that I realised that taking breaks before I needed them would be of benefit to me.
I always had a desire to do more and to achieve more, and I realise that a lot of this ambition came from my childhood. I wanted to be recognised for my efforts and my successes and I’m sure this spurred me on as I grew older. I only recognised this continuous cycle when I took some time off work during a period of illness and I realised that this had to stop. I had to get off this hamster wheel, I had to stop chasing success (whatever that was) and I needed to start listening to my body before it give up on me altogether.
It was about the same time that I discovered meditation and mindfulness and through the support I was getting through my consultant I was able to truly understand the benefit of taking breaks before I needed them. Nowadays, I’m much better at this and I always recognise when my body and energy is feeling depleted as a result of having a busy week or taking too much on. Now I don’t feel guilty at all for taking an afternoon nap and resting when I need to. In fact, after writing this, I’m going to do just that!
In 2016 I made a conscious choice to work part-time and three months later, I made a brave decision to hand in my notice and leave a job I’d done for 17 years (yikes). The change would allow me to work on my own business but also to take break days when I need them. These ‘take a break’ days usually consist of me staying in my pyjamas all day, watching Netflix and just generally hanging out at home. I treasure my own space now more than ever and I need this time to rest, re-energise and recharge my batteries so that I can be the best Mum and wife I can be.
My advice to you would be to listen to your body and mind and rest when you need to and don’t feel guilty one little bit. Resting and recharging is so important and our bodies (and minds) need it – I’ve learnt that first-hand. So don’t wait until your body or mind gives up on you and please don’t wait until you’re burned out or severely fatigued like I did to realise this. Take the time to tune into your body and listen to what it needs right now.
In December, as a gift from me to you, all of my newsletter subscribers will receive a free meditation to help you recharge and relax in the comfort of your own home. So please subscribe, if you haven’t already, and you’ll be the first to hear about new events, course and of course, freebies!
I look forward to sharing more insights with you in the near future.