We are all plugged into some form of stress that can drain our energy and destroy our sleep. Whether it is good stress (marriage, birth of a child) or bad stress (relationship ending, work demands), stress is a powerful force in life. As inevitable as it is in your everyday encounters with self and others, it is always important to find ways to quiet its influence. This post was published three years ago but is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was then. The work world continues to escalate its stressful ways and reminders about how to cope are always important to remember.
In addition, I recommend that you check out this article (https://www.healthambition.com/how-to-deal-with-stress-at-work/) on stress in the workplace. It comes from Helen Sanders, Chief Editor at http://www.healthambition.com. Her advice on health and well-being can also provide support in dealing with stressors.
Here is my Stress Article revisited:
Are you the poster child for ‘Burnout’?
You are eternally tired and exhausted. When you sleep, the incessant mental activity running through your consciousness prevents deep rest. The omnipresent items on your To Do list dog you like your shadow. Most mornings, getting out of bed takes Herculean effort and sheer grit even when you know you will be late for work again because you know what the day will look like. As you drag yourself into the shower, you imagine how amazing it would be to be headed for a beach on some tropical getaway.
“The only heat I’m gonna feel today is from the shower water and my boss.” You grumble to yourself.
You get dressed and run out the door – coffee in hand, empty belly, one arm in your coat sleeve and the rest of it flying behind you propelled by the pace of feet that can never keep up with all the racing thoughts in your head.
As you settle into your car, you are forced to acknowledge that every day, the cycle is becoming more entrenched: you push yourself with all the energy you can muster but the flow, productivity and efficiency you once enjoyed just isn’t there.
You used to be on top of it all – your home life, your work life and your social life. Not any more – now, your existence seems to sadly resemble the train wreck of clutter in your garage: crammed to the rafters with stuff that needs attention and cleaning out with no time or motivation to pay attention to it or clean it out. The overwhelm of all the demands left unfulfilled cascades over you and fills you with self-doubt and a deep sense of failure.
Lately, you have no restraint against giving in to anger. You have been painfully aware of your short fuse and that your frustration levels are amped up to the point that even your friends and co-workers are duly noting your bad behaviour.
No matter where you look, it is hard to find solace or escape. You feel completely disempowered and unhinged by the spectacle of the daily horror show that is the world news. Nothing feels safe. As a hapless bystander, you are adrift in a sea of unknowns and fear that are the daily offering on the planet these days. You are worn out trying to survive and thrive under circumstances that you find so impossible and oppressive.
The tipping point between stress and burnout is all about being on ‘empty’
When you reach a point in your life where you are out of gas, where you simply cannot put one foot in front of the other, where the demands on you far exceed your capability to fulfill them, it is a pretty sure bet that you are experiencing the early signs of burnout.
What is Burnout? – Chronic Stress
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/preventing-burnout.htm defines it very succinctly as “ a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”
How Did You Get Here?
Your life experiences and the cacophony of voices in your head from parents, teachers, employers, and society have conspired to supply an endless array of directives that block the flow of your own inner wisdom. Even though you expend immense amounts of effort, there is no pleasing everyone or ever meeting all the expectations that bombard you. Eventually, it all implodes into stress, chronic stress and ultimately – burnout.
Not only that, but the stress activates the instinctual part of your brain which is more primitive and survival-oriented. You become less able to hold perspective, to reason or achieve calm. You tend to be driven by the fear-based urges in your mind that cause you to react rather than to respond. When this happens, there is an upset of balance in the brain chemistry which, left long enough, can literally re-wire your behaviours in the stress mode.
So…..What Can You Do?
How do you wake up a sense of well-being that has been shut down by your stress responses? How do you reclaim the passion and enthusiasm that you once had and find ways to slow down the race you are running and losing against the world?
There have been volumes written and avalanches of advice given on the epidemic of stress issues we face today and most of the ideas are solid. Get exercise, slow down, meditate, delegate some responsibility, take time for more self care, change your diet, spend more time in nature…every one of these and thousands more are a powerful path to recovering your sanity…
The Healing Gift of the Breath
and… the most immediate and simple tool you can use is your very own breath:
“Clinical studies including thousands of participants spanning a 30-year period offer persuasive evidence that the most significant factor in health and longevity is how well you breathe.” http://stop-anxiety-attack-symptoms.com/clinical.html
First Aid with Your Breath:
Here are two quick ‘fixes’ you can use:
For Agitation – try Sitali Breath or Cooling Breath. Simply lightly clench your teeth and take a few breaths in and out through your mouth. You will feel the cool breath as you inhale and it is guaranteed to put out the fire. Do this for one minute and notice the effect on your ire.
For Invigoration – try Breath of Fire. This breathing technique requires that you take a series of rapid inhales and exhales that you control through pumping your diaphragm in and out. If you need a pick-me-up – do this for one minute.
To Shift the Running Commentary in Your Head:
For optimum healing and long-term resolution to stress and burnout…book a Breathwork session with a trained Breathworker
This will allow you to be supported in a safe and comfortable setting and will ultimately release the blocks that keep you trapped in an overactive state of tension and anxiety. Through the process of conscious connected breathing (inhale deeply through your nose and, without pausing, exhale through your mouth), your time with a Breathwork facilitator affords you the ability to restore your inner equilibrium.
Breath is Life and Breathwork is an inner journey that is the thread joining our physical, mental and emotional being to a sense of unity and harmony with everything. It is In a Breathwork session, very often at the end, that there is an experience of a complete blending with the Divine and a complete understanding of the vastness of who you truly are. In that experience, there is a sense of belonging to everything that inspires nothing short of peace and awe for the experience of our lives.
In that redirected perspective resides the possibility of calm and your ability to be bigger than your life demands. It hands back control to your higher brain and shows you the love-filled, God-being that you truly are. From there – life transforms!
This Article also appears in JustBreathe online