Burnout and Saying No

yes no confusion
Are you confused about what is an obligation, what’s a necessity,  and how to up your self care mode?
You’re not alone!  I’ve received questions from clients who are sincerely working on self care and clearing their lives of extraneous obligations in order to heal burnout. Some are single moms who can’t afford to take a month and go to a resort for recovery.
I’m writing this for those of you who have trouble figuring out what to say no to, in order to come back to yourself and ground into your truth and health again.
Let’s do this with lists, because it helps to organize your boundaries on paper where you can clearly see what you’re saying yes to, what’s a no, and where that line really is.  When it comes to self care, I think the first step is in making a list of absolute priorities. Income to eat and pay the bills is a number one priority, because without that we starve and are homeless.  So that goes on the list.
Next, look at what else must happen for your survival and add those items.   When we have a hard time drawing boundaries around what we say yes to, we can sometimes get fuzzy in our thinking about what’s a priority.  I know I have had to work at discerning priorities from other things.  In the world of obligations, survival is the one and only measure of  what you’ll be putting on this list.
Once you get really clear on what you must do,  make another list of what you “should” do…like maybe you feel you should do all the dishes at home or no one else will do them. Or you should fold everyone’s laundry because you can’t stand it when theirs isn’t folded.
Stuff like that is not survival stuff.   It’s more a matter of not setting a boundary around where you deserve the respect and honoring of your time, or where you create more work for yourself because you’re feeling out of control if others aren’t doing things the way you want them done.  In this list, you’ll be using your calm, loving indoor voice with clear  and simple directions for those around you, according to their age and abilities.
For example, folding someone else’s laundry eats into your rest and rejuvenation time. Looking at their messy piles might also stress you out. What you need is to brainstorm solutions.
An example of a solution would be to tell them you need more time for rest, and will not be folding their laundry. You also know that you do not want piles where you can see them.  Tell them this is important for your serenity, and that they can stuff the clothes under their bed for all you care, but your boundary is that clean laundry is put where you do not have to look at it while you’re healing from burnout.
When my son was little, a solution would have been to stop folding altogether and get him a dirty basket and a clean basket.  It’s really okay to let laundry sit unfolded if your health and sanity need attention.
I know this is a simple example, but if you can apply that to the list of things you are doing that can be delegated, you can take those “to do’s” off your plate. There are a million things we, as women, think we should be doing that aren’t necessary to survival.
Basically, it’s more a matter of taking anything off of your own plate that you’ve been doing that eats into time you could be resting or enjoying yourself.  Either decide it can wait a month, or that someone else can do it, and then brainstorm how.
Take an hour or two and really do this whole list making exercise, because that investment of time up front will be the steel floor on which you build your self care.
For me, grocery shopping became a big time suck out of my down time from my business. So I explained to my husband that I needed support around not having to do that for a while, possibly from now on. He had some great suggestions, goddess bless him! Now, I text him a list and he picks stuff up on his way home from work. For bulk items, I found out that there are online subscription sites where you can choose items you want shipped automatically, and can even specify how often. I also changed the day that I do the major grocery shopping to the weekend so that my husband and son bring everything in and help me put it away. I have less stress all around. I still get basic groceries, but am not doing it all myself and it’s a much easier haul.
Another simple solution was hampers in every bedroom.   I told my family I’d put loads into the washer and dryer, but folding and putting away was their job. The new order was that if the clothes were not next to the washer, I’d no longer go on the detective mission in their rooms to look for them. I now spend a fraction of the time on laundry.
Also, my particular burnout took the form of thyroid problems. My family members are night owls and I’m a morning person, and I could never get sleep when they were awake.  We sat down and brainstormed solutions together.  Now,  I announce I’m going to bed, they put on their headphones with any media, they keep their voices to a whisper, and they don’t turn lights on in my room.   I bought earplugs and an eye mask. I sleep now and they honor that. I was able to heal my hypothyroid without medication because of my willingness to honor my needs and speak my truth.
Let’s say you’re burned out and it’s truly time to take care of yourself.  You really need to start from the ground up and create a new platform or foundation for your health and well-being.  Here’s a metaphor that might help you create those boundaries…
When you begin to say no to anyone asking you to do things that are above and beyond survival, it’s like taking everything out of your closet except one outfit that’s your basic, great-fitting, comfortable one. From there, you keep saying no to anything that doesn’t fit beautifully, or that isn’t the exactly color you’re loving, or is anything that anyone else thinks you “should” wear that you really don’t love or feel good in.
You’re clearing your closet of life with lists and discernment, feeling in your body what is a yes and what is a no. You’re doing what you need to do to breathe, eat, have a roof, but you’re saying no to anything extra that’s not in your absolute pleasure.
After that, you’ll find you have a set point to go back to, and you’ll begin to have sharper vision for what is a yes in your life, and what is a no.
~Goddess Oceana

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Burnout and Saying No”

  1. Susie Que Says:

    Thank you so much i so needed to read this and it felt like you had been a beautiful fly on the wall in my home thank you my lovely xx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: