How close are you to Burn Out?
One of my friends says tooth-pick, chop stick and then 5 foot plank. Why? Well what she is referring to is the signs and subtle messages that give us a clue that something is going on in our bodies. The tooth-pick is ‘a bit of a niggle’ - you notice something but you choose to ignore it because you are soooo busy. In fact, what you might do is ignore any signs until later. That is when the chop-stick makes the signs more obvious, yet still you might just keep trudging on. It might be a pain, a headache or a whole host of tension and that is when the plank smacks you in the face and forces you to stop! Flu? A Migraine? Worse?
I am sure that you have noticed that life is getting busier and there is more information to process in all directions. We have emails, calls, texts and deadlines blasting us from all directions and we are always expected to be available. Why is that? Why have we accepted such a precedent? So how long can a nervous system and brain maintain such intense activity without bursting into flames? The answer is different for the individual. Some people are more resilient while others simply drop to the ground when a phone rings. The point that I am trying to make is how one needs to constantly pay attention to the body and how you are feeling. You may simply numb yourself and continue like a martyr. The problem with that is you build up fatigue and that fatigue resides in your body. No matter what you do your energy levels get lower and lower until that dreaded plank hits you with an illness that will stop you leaving your bed.
So…. I am all about solutions and finding easy ways to fit wellbeing into life. So this week I went on a Transcendental meditation course with the meditation trust. I will make this clear, I am not a wafty lettuce sniffing type who wears floaty scarves and belly-dances down the street with my underwear on my head. Although that does sound fun. I might try it sometime and see how the world responds to my new found knicker-head-wear and general jiggling. Anyway, I digress, so I went on this course because my brother recommended it. My brother is a university lecturer, academic and complete rationalist. So when I saw the drop in his shoulders, the general air of relaxation and the decrease in his anxiety then I knew that type of meditation was a good thing.
Before I go any further, I have to mention I do meditate. However, I often wander off into a self- amused plane for 20 minutes and then realise I ended up being lulled into thought by giggling at my own jokes. What I needed was a way to stop the inner distraction and TM solved this for me by providing a specific mantra that I could use. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I often get bored during meditation, woops – it is the truth. There are far more interesting things I could be doing. The mantra combined with the cyclic rhythm enabled me to enter into a very relaxed state. The thing is it was while in this relaxed state that I realised how fatigued I was. After each meditation I would literally pass out and sleep! I did this continually over 3 days. I also had rapid dreams which could be compared to mental Tsunamis or a mental wildebeest stampede. I was astounded. When I talked to the instructor about it he said it was quite usual for people in high powered jobs to respond that way. It was then that I realised that I had probably been close to burn out. My tooth-pick signs were general grumpiness, feelings of general negativity (I am not a negative person) and tiredness, even though I had an excellent diet, sleep well and exercise regularly. The chop-stick signs were – a sty on the eye, a tooth abscess and tension in my shoulders. Luckily I got on this course before the plank came in and smacked me one! Now I am not saying that Transcendental meditation is for everyone; however, it is a great tool to have for life. It enables you to enter deep relaxation and cope with the external stresses of the world and personally found that my energy levels have improved. I will be honest I did not go to the main Transcendental Meditation group instead I went for the Meditation Trust who are cheaper and very grounded. The point that I am trying to make here is that one needs to pay attention to the signs their body is sending them because I honestly had no clue that I was as fatigued as I was. The thing is I was fatigued to the core and there was no escaping it. It then made me think that if I am like this and I do yoga, eat well and exercise then what are other people like? If anything, I hope this article will remind you to notice the signs and find ways to truly relax until to you are forced to rest by a large piece of metaphorical wood colliding with your face.J
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A Short Course in Creative Writing
by Ms Ruby Allure
by Ms Ruby Allure