Wouldn’t it be amazing If we could all escape to the woods and lose in the beauty of nature? Unwind and breathe in the fresh air. Or sometimes just run away because we want some peace and quiet?
I feel that way too sometimes. It’s mostly because I’ve experienced severe burnout. I experience a total shutdown and can think of nothing else but, sleeping. There’s a stiffness in my neck and shoulders all of a sudden and it takes a minute for me to realize that this is a sign of burnout and exhaustion and that I need to slow down or take a break.
I often hear this when I’m working with my clients too. The need to run away is usually quite high. Of course, there’s no judgment here because it’s quite a natural thing to experience when we take on too much on our plate. We’re also beings who tend to attach very easily to control. We trap ourselves in a time frame and a conditioned frame. This leads to a lot of tunnel vision and soon thereafter we experience a total shutdown.
This can happen even when we’re not actively doing anything per se, but spend a whole lot of our time worrying about a lot of things at once. As someone who tends to worry a lot, I completely understand how natural this becomes for most of us. Especially if you’re a highly sensitive person, worrying can be as easy as breathing. And we reach a stage where we want to drop everything and run away, just to energize and cut the noise that’s now on a high decibel.
As delightful as moving to the woods sounds, we are bound by our day-to-day activities and that can make it extremely impossible to just pack up and go. In this article, I want to give out a few tips that could temporarily help with the noise and chaos.
Acknowledge the need to run away –
As simple as this tip sounds, not all of us are good at acknowledging it. We tend to keep at it and stay in denial for as long as we can push it. There’s always this feeling of guilt that’s usually attached to taking a break or even admitting that you’ve simply exhausted yourself and can no longer find the will to do anything. I’ve often heard clients talk about admitting their exhaustion as a sign of weakness. They bring a lot of “should-ing” when they speak to themselves and eventually there’s no potential energy left. They are just at it and I’ve often heard people complain about headaches, body pains, and emotional outbursts. These, of course, are not healthy signs. There’s only so much your mind and body can take. So, if you find yourself feeling depleted in your energy take a minute to check in with yourself.
Face the worries and fears –
I think we often tend to bury ourselves at work because we haven’t been able to take time out to focus on all the fears that tend to follow us anywhere, we go. Work is a great distraction but too much of it leads to exhaustion and burnout. In a way, running from our fears is one of the major reasons we want to run away, period. Here’s something I’ve experienced with myself and my clients: we often assume that if we keep ourselves distracted, we won’t think too much about our fears. And it’s an open secret that it usually doesn’t work that way. If we do face the fear and admit it to ourselves then it is possible that the intensity of that fear reduces and we do get the necessary answer that tends to calm our nerves.
Reduce the need to complain –
As harsh as it may seem, stop complaining. The more you complain the more you get sucked into the already depleting mood. Sometimes things may not be as big and huge as we make them out to be. We do find the idea of romanticizing our problems very charming and it makes us feel important. That little bit of a tantrum helps us feel good. I’m not here to say that you shouldn’t complain at all. I obviously understand the need to complain and vent. I’m here to simply say that sometimes what feels big in the morning, feels very very tiny by the end of the day. Sometimes, our reactions can sway us into believing that some things are too much for us to handle and we need to react in order to make us feel important. The more you rant and complain about it, the bigger it gets. The more you overthink, the more you feel like running away is the only solution. It's okay to allow things to unfold without your extreme and intense reaction.
Avoid the blame game –
A lot of times burnout happens when we tend to blame our helplessness on someone or something. Maybe it’s that annoying boss or that workload, maybe it’s the fact that you can’t find the money to go for a trip, or that you’re waiting around to be asked by people, etc., these are some of the reasons (read: blame) that my clients have given me often. Even though all of them seem valid and right, oftentimes they aren’t really accepted because there isn’t anything one is doing about it. It’s easy to pass blame because then, instead of an excuse it becomes a reason. It may not be intentional but it slowly becomes a pattern. Sometimes it’s may take time to make it happen. Sometimes it may not be as straightforward as asking for a break but it’s possible if we stop playing the blame game, make things personal and pragmatically find a way to work around what can be managed and the necessary steps that might be required.
You may not agree with all the points I’ve given here and that’s okay. Take your time to process how these points can be affecting your peace and quiet on a regular basis. It’s certainly not wrong to want to run away. It’s normal and natural. However, not all of us have that option. Also, running away may not be the best solution all the time.
In my years of experience working with mostly type A women, the battle between needing to run away and productivity is very high. Whether the pressure is from work or home or both. It’s no longer about what feels easier. As women, whether working women or homemakers we often think the grass is greener on the other side. At the end of the day, it’s more about emotions, thoughts, and feelings than the kind of work that’s responsible for the need to run away.
So be kinder to yourself and allow yourself to take a break from time to time. Your worries can wait. Your work can wait. Don’t wait till you reach a point of saturation. Try to find a balance.