Are You Addicted To Being A Phoenix?
Do you ever feel like you’re drowning under your workload? Doing everything yourself? Fed up with people watching you struggle?
I have lost count of how many Facebook posts I have seen this week about burnout and overwhelm, so I figured it was high time to write about it for you – and to share some practical solutions.
So here’s the pattern I see running through so many of our lives:
We take on too much. We know it’s too much. But we push on through and get it done, anyway. After all, what does Superwoman know about being a genuine Super Woman? 😉
But there’s a problem – actually, a few:
- That ‘pushing on through’ bit triggers your sympathetic nervous system – the ‘fight or flight’ response, flooding your system with adrenalin and cortisol, draining your adrenals
- That ‘fight or flight’ response only gives you access to the primal part of your brain – the bit that helps you to survive. It can’t handle long-term decision-making. Its job is to get you away from that sabre-toothed tiger, right now.
- Doing too much and exhausting yourself, over time, leads to physical, mental and emotional ‘dis-ease’ and eventually disease
- When you’re stressed and tired, you’re less efficient, so you might have more to do, but you’ll get less done
- Your productivity goes down and you’ll make more mistakes
- Your relationships suffer as you get more irritable
And eventually, if you’re anything like the Facebook posts I have been seeing this week, you’ll hit burnout.
And I was amazed by how many of the women in those posts and comments have done this multiple times.
And they almost seemed proud of it – hitting burnout, having to stop and then rising like a phoenix from the flames.
Doing it once is a massive emergency warning sign.
But doing it multiple times?
Yet so many of us have been there, done it and got the t-shirt. I certainly have.
We’re addicted to being a phoenix.
Like the phoenix, we crash and burn… and then do just enough to allow ourselves to come back to life… before the next cycle begins.
Burnout is like your body, mind and Soul’s way of begging you to slow down.
You missed (or ignored) all of the warning signs, so it has to pull the rug from under you.
I’ve done it myself – more than once. I’ve manifested burnout as ME, I’ve manifested it as a broken ankle, whilst having a business to run and 3 young boys to look after. I’ve manifested it as a total crash of computer systems, to try to force myself to slow down.
And burnout gets us love and attention and care and the
s l o w i n g d o w n
we were craving, but felt guilty about wanting…
We all have our own way of manifesting burnout. We then slow down just enough to build up our reserves and do that phoenix impression again.
But we rarely stop to deal with the root causes.
The two main causes of burnout:
- Suffering from ‘should-itis’ – feeling we ‘have to’ do so much
- Not asking for help & support – thinking we have to do it all ourselves
I talk a lot about should-itis here, so I don’t want to go into that one today.
Instead, I want to talk about the second cause, which I affectionately call “Superhero Syndrome”.
Back at the beginnings of humanity, we understood how vitally important it was to be part of a mutually supportive tribe. Indeed, going off and doing everything on your own was a pretty guaranteed way of finishing life off a bit too early.
But as we have become more connected, in our uber-busy virtual existence, we have also become more isolated – better at doing it all ourselves. Or at least feeling like we ‘ought to’.
And with everyone else in our virtual tribe doing the same, there’s no voice of reason there to tell us we’re marginally crazy to think we can do it all on our own.
There’s no one reminding us that life is what my 3 year old calls a ‘together job’.
As Einstein said: keeping on doing the same thing and expecting different results is a sign of insanity.
So is it time to make some changes?
Had Enough Of Doing It All Yourself Yet?
Let’s start by looking at what suffering from ‘Superhero Syndrome’ is doing for you:
Yes, you read that right. You see, every habit we have, at some level, is serving a need we need to meet. Unless we deal with that underlying need, the habit will just resurface in some other way, at some other time.
So shall we deal with it?
I’ve created a simple worksheet for you (click on it to view it online or right click and choose ‘save as’ or similar, to download it).
I invite you to go through the worksheet, right now, and then we’ll move on to the next stage.
Next, let’s look at what’s stopping you from asking for help.
When you uncover your hidden fears and worries about asking for help, it’s amazing how many of them melt away.
And those that don’t, well, at least you know they’re there – and then there’s something you can do about them!
If you could wave a magic wand…?
If you could wave a magic wand, what help would you most love, today?
There’s a final box on the worksheet for you to help with this one.
Again, fill it in, let me know your answers via the comments, and then we’ll move on to the next phase.
The Hidden Benefits Of Asking For Help (Are You Missing Out On Them?)
Sometimes, when we open our hearts to receiving help, it can help to get out of the situation we’re currently in. If we stay in our current ‘shoes’, then it’s easy to stay blocked.
So for the final part of this exercise, I invite you to zoom forwards to your 80th birthday party to take 3 deep sighing breaths, to allow yourself to stand in those shoes.
Then look back over the years, back to the ‘now’ when you made the decision to accept help and support.
Answer the questions on the worksheet, and let me know the answer to the final question, via the comments.
Pssst! I need to let you in on a secret…
Did you find this process & the worksheets helpful?
I’ve been getting ready for the six week online summer school I’m running this year – Spring Clean Your Life – and this process is part of week 4.
So if you enjoyed it, chances are you’ll LOVE diving in and getting to play with this kind of stuff for six whole weeks!
Want to find out more? And maybe grab your place while they Super Early Bird is still running? Click here now.
For six fabulous summer-holiday-friendly weeks, starting 25th July, we’re going to dive in and give your life a thorough spring clean.
I’ve been waiting to share this with you for the past 3 years and the time finally feels right!
So if you want to finish the summer feeling lighter, happier, having more fun, feeling less stressed and even having more time, make sure you join us today.
There’s a 50% early bird discount (yes, you read that right!) if you join now – though only for a couple more days. Use the coupon code earlybird at the checkout.
It’s time to make a commitment to yourself.
What help are you going to ask for today?
Tell me via the comments! We’re here to support you – and hold you accountable!
I’d love to hear from you. Does this article resonate with you? Can you see yourself falling into these traps? And what might you choose to do differently, in future?
Let me know, via the comments.
With love, Namaste,