The last couple of years have been daunting. They have pushed you to your limits time and time again, leaving you feeling burnt-out and overwhelmed. Many of you are stuck in a threat state that leaves you feeling powerless and helpless to change your circumstances and turning to temporary relief tactics to numb the pain.
But relief isn't all there is. As the chaos of our world continues, we're faced with the choice to rise above it or continue to succumb to it. As a caregiver, you want to rise above it, to get back to a place where you feel like you are making a difference and helping the people who need you.
To do this, you need to move past relief and take the time to recover your mind and body. Once you have healed, you will be ready to renew.
Relief - Temporary
When you get to a place where you are overwhelmed and burnout by circumstances that are beyond your control, it is easy to turn to relief as the primary way to cope.
Relief is often found in the habits that temporarily numb your pain and dull the hopelessness you feel - think a glass of wine or binge eating M&M's while you doom-scroll through your social media accounts.
Relief habits might serve you at the moment, giving you the ability to check out and forget about the challenges of the day. Still, over the long-term, they are not helping you to pull yourself out of burnout, and in fact, the habits themselves may be furthering your spiral into overwhelm.
At some point, all of your relief habits will come to a head, and you will realize that you can't live like this. You can't go on being exhausted, foggy and unable to make decisions. Your work is suffering, your personal life is suffering, and you have reached a breaking point where you have no choice but to figure out a way to recover from the mental strain you've been under.
Think of the last time that you were getting over a physical illness. Although the illness itself had subsided, you were likely left feeling pretty weak and run-down. You needed time to rest and get your health back.
This is the same as when you are moving out of a state of long-term burnout and overwhelm. You are constantly feeling foggy, depressed and unable to concentrate. Maybe you haven't slept in days, or perhaps you haven't taken a moment to yourself over the last two years.
In this state, you need to recover from your mental overwhelm the same way you would from a physical illness. You need to rest and heal.
You could sleep for days, or you book a two-week vacation in Mexico with no digital devices allowed. Whatever you need to do, the recovery stage is all about bringing your mind and body back to a neutral place so that you feel refreshed, motivated and ready to move into renewal.
In the renewal state, you feel refreshed and motivated to move forward, ready to do what it takes to keep yourself from descending back into burnout. You have the energy to start building positive practices that will become new habits that support your mental and physical health and give you stability and control over yourself, even as your external circumstances change.
To help with renewal, we have put together an AM/PM routine worksheet that you can use daily to positively focus your energy and build healthy habits.