Monthly Archives: August 2015

How to prevent BURNOUT: 3 top tips.

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Burnout is something we are all at risk from. Whether it be working too much, socialising too much, under stress or a combination of everything,  getting to the point where we are physically and mentally exhausted is something that we should try and prevent if we can.

Here are my 3 top tips for helping you to prevent burnout:

1. Make sleep a priority not a luxury.
Scientific research links sleep derivation not only to low mood but physical pain too, similar to that experienced by people with fibromyalgia. Sleep deprivation also lowers our immune system and also means we are less able to deal with stress. Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. If you need extra hours in the day to complete tasks try not to cut into your sleep time as this will make it harder to cope with things the next day. Sleep is like food and water- we need it to survive.

2. Ask for help.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked reach out to others and ask for help. Many of us are hesitant to do this for fear of looking weak or incompetent, or perhaps worry about burdening others. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to find others are willing to help, they are just waiting to be asked. As for looking incompetent, ask yourself if you would feel the same way about someone asking for your help, in most cases you’d likely not think them weak. Sometimes we need to swallow our pride and admit that we aren’t coping very well with the demands of life. It’s surely better to keep swimming with the help of a float than to say nothing and drown.

3. Learn how to say no effectively.
Are you a people pleaser, do you take on too much because you don’t want to let others down? Saying yes in situations where we don’t have enough physical or emotional resources to help others can leave us feeling under pressure or even at times resentful towards the person we’ve said yes to. Learning how to say no is part of learning how to be assertive. There are some great resources online for learning assertiveness techniques such as this Assert Yourself course from the Centre of Clinical Interventions.

Try and find more balance in life by implementing these tips to prevent the boom and bust cycle that can often be a feature of conditions where chronic fatigue is a prominent symptom.

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Why I think those three little words are so important – “I don’t know”.

I don't know

Those three little words. Depending on who says them or in which context, those words can provoke different responses in us. Sometimes we don’t want to hear those words, sometimes we expect something different. I think those three little words are so important. I am referring to “I don’t know”. I think this simple sentence can say so many things about a person. It’s often not the words we want to hear from our therapist. We go therapy most often seeking answers, wanting to be ‘cured’, to have our problems solved.

However, I think “I don’t know” is one of the most powerful sentences one can hear or say. For me it represents above all one of the most important qualities in a therapist: integrity. I think it speaks volumes about a person who is comfortable enough to admit they do not know something, has the integrity not to lie, to be truthful and honest. To be content enough with their own level of knowledge to admit when they do not know something shows confidence in their current abilities, it says to me that they are enough. I would much rather have somebody tell me they do not know something than try to pull the wool over my eyes or grab at straws trying to come up with an answer that makes them sound competent. Nobody has all the answers and that is ok. The realisation that we do not know something can be the catalyst to discovery of new knowledge or even prompt us to ask new questions, it can put us on new pathways. Nothing new would ever be discovered if nobody admitted they did not know something. I think saying “I don’t know” as well as being honest, can be liberating, it stops us having to try and “fake it” to pretend we know, when we don’t. The response “I don’t know” frees us of that certain type of stressor, the one we often put on ourselves – to always look like we know what we are doing. Human beings are fallible, we make mistakes, we are imperfect and flawed, and so is our knowledge and that’s ok. So next time you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know something but want to give an answer other than “I don’t know” perhaps wonder whether in fact I don’t know is possibly the best answer of all.