My Burnout Reading list

My Burnout Reading list

I’ve been on quite a journey of transformation myself over the last three years. These are the books that helped me learn, grow, let things go and turn my life around. Some were new reads and others are books I’ve read over time and time again or dip into when I need a reminder or a burst of inspiration.

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Self-help & Personal Development

Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky

Lifeshocks: and how to love them, Sophie Sabbage

Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man and life’s greatest lesson, Mitch Albom

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brené Brown

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Rising Strong, Brené Brown

The Rules Of Life: A personal code for living a better, happier, more successful kind of life, Richard Templar 

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, Shel Silverstein

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, Sarah Knight

Spirituality

The Power Of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle

The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

The Universe Has Your Back: How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What, Gabrielle Bernstein

Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

Daily Meditations For Practicing The Course, Karen Casey

You Can Heal Your Life, Louise L. Hay

Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, Bill Plotkin

Embracing Our Selves: The Voice Dialogue Manual, Hal Stone, Ph.D. and Sidra L. Stone, Ph.D.

Psychology

Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind, Joe Dispenza, D.C.

Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust, Viktor E. Frankl

Sane New World: Taming the Mind, Ruby Wax

The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine, M.D.

Personal Effectiveness

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Simon Sinek

Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done Today, Brian Tracy

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey

Manage Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide, Gillian Butler and Tony Hope

Philosophy

Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting The Power Of The Wild Woman, Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, Gabor Maté

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.

Yoga

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Saraswati Satyananda Swami

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, William J. Broad

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: An Manual for Students, Teachers and Practitioners, H. David Coulter

Bhagavad Gita – Text and Commentary, Sivananda Swami

Rising Ritual: The Importance of a Spiritual Morning Routine

Rising Ritual: The Importance of a Spiritual Morning Routine

Good morning sunshine! 🌞

 

Whatever we do first thing in the morning sets the tone for our entire day. So it’s important to start off in a positive way.

Not only that but establishing good morning habits means you’re more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day.

Win the morning, win the day,” Tim Ferris

If having a morning routine is an essential for the most successful 1% of people in the planet then why not give it a try?

Imagine this. You get up in the morning knowing that you’re going to step straight into your morning routine. That means you don’t need to make a single decision first thing. Not only does that help ease you into the day, but you can save that brain power for when you need it later in the day.

Each day we only have a certain amount of willpower. That willpower is strongest when we waken and lessens as the day goes on. Ah… so that’s why I’m more inclined to demolish the family size chocolate bar at night-time. It’s because my willpower reserves are depleted! 🍫😋

When I follow my full routine, it takes less than an hour. Under an hour and I feel more grounded, focused, centred and it clears my mind for the day ahead.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always do all of it. But I always do some of it. When I first waken, I list three things I’m grateful for before I get out of bed. Even if one of those is just being thankful for my warm, comfy bed.

The most important thing is that you choose to introduce what will suit you. That way you’re more likely to stick to practice long term and reap the benefits. So here are some of the options you might choose from to start your day as you mean to continue.

 

 Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash


Rising Ritual Daily Practice Options

🙏🏼 Silence

Silence allows your body to wake up slowly and naturally, easing you into the day. It helps you to centre emotionally and brings you a sense of calm. You don’t have to sit and do absolutely nothing while you’re silent. Sometimes my silent time is my walking time. I try to avoid thinking about the day ahead while I’m walking each morning. In fact, I try to avoid thinking too much at all. I allow myself to be fully present and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Sometimes I’ll have my moments of silence back on the balcony with my coffee.

🙏🏼Meditation

Meditation helps focus, concentration, mental health.

Sitting in meditation has never been very achievable or enjoyable for me. I’m a chronic overthinker, my mind is always racing. I spend most of the time wondering when it will be over or making lists and plans for the day ahead!

For me, daily pranayama (breathing exercises) and yoga practice are my best forms of meditation. And walking meditation is the best! I practice being fully present on my morning walks.

🙏🏼Gratitude

Gratitude and appreciation is the key to happiness.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more. ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast

Many people are on a lifelong search for happiness.

When I get this, have that, reach that destination or key moment in my life, I will be happy. But when you get there, you will start searching for the next thing. I believe that happiness is now, that there is happiness to be found in small moments. Gratitude is a choice to start the day with a positive mindset and recognition of the good things that are already in our lives. Practicing gratitude helps you replace negative thoughts with good thoughts and stops you living in a place of ‘lack’ and move into a zone of abundance.

Gratitude is a choice. We can choose to be grateful or we can allow ourselves to be ungrateful. It’s choosing to recognise the value that’s already in your life.

🙏🏼Affirmations

Positive affirmations are statements that help you overcome or steer away from negative thoughts. Positive Psychology explains the psychological theory and neuroscience behind this powerful practice. 🙏🏼Visualisation Visualisation is a technique to manifest your goals and desired outcomes.

If it’s a new concept to you, I know it sounds wacky but it’s widely practiced by super successful people. Jack Canfield explains it brilliantly here.

🙏🏼Intentions

Take a moment to set an intention for the day ahead. Intentions can be whatever you want them to be. Think of them as a roadmap for your day. Try to focus on the positive and make it uplifting. For example, if you’ve been feeling stressed, rather than setting an intention of “I will overcome this stress today”, instead use “Today I will find peace and calm”. Using the negative word will have the opposite of the desired effect, reminding you throughout the day that you’re stressed. Once you’re practiced at this, it’s good to stop at several points during the day to remind yourself of the daily intention.

🙏🏼Pranayama

Pranayama is a yoga practice of focussing on your breath, essentially some breathing exercises. The goal is to connect your body and mind, boosting physical and mental wellness.

I light a scented candle or burn oils and warm a few drops of essential oils in my palms to inhale while breathing. Gorgeous start to the day.

🙏🏼Reading

Spiritual reading was recommended to me by my ayurvedic therapist as part of my daily practice.

Reading just a page or a chapter each day helps me pick up a ‘thought for the day’, giving me something new to consider and lots to learn. Sometimes I open a book randomly and see where it opens, believing it will guide me to what I need to know that day.

🙏🏼Journaling

My journaling encompasses almost all of these practices. It’s a daily checklist that guides me through each step.

I also practice free writing, letting the pen flow wherever it takes me. If something is troubling me, I write through it. If good things are happening, I like to capture those too.

Journaling helps clear my mind, organise my thoughts, capture ideas, reflect, make decisions, prioritise, plan and gain new perspectives.

🙏🏼Yoga

Yoga gently wakens up your body and muscles. It’s good to relax your mind and nervous system, prepare your body for digestion and gently rouse your circulation immune system for the day ahead.

🙏🏼A walk in nature

If I only did one thing each day this would be it. I can have my silence, be grateful for everything around me and be inspired by nature. It’s good exercise, great to breathe fresh air and I find nature grounding.

🙏🏼Keeping it a tech free / email free zone until a certain time

We spend so much time on our screens. As soon as you check the news, or messages or emails, your mind is racing into the day ahead. Give yourself some time before entering the busyness of the day. It’s good to have a set cut-off time to switch these off at night too.

🙏🏼Mindful coffee / tea / juice / smoothie / lemon water

Sometimes this is when I sit in silence. Sometimes I have a coffee when I journal. But I do it mindfully. Taste it. Smell it. Be present. I literally do wake up and smell the coffee ☕

🐶 Cuddles with the dog

Or is that just me?

 

MY DAILY PRACTICE ESSENTIALS


Journal 

I always journal in a LEUCHTTURM1917 and I’ve been using these notebooks for years. 

I like the size and it has a hard cover which helps it keep its shape. I carry my journal everywhere and the cover stops the corners of the pages getting dogeared and battered while the notebook is being bounced around in my  handbag. It has an elastic fastener, numbered pages and a blank table of contents to help you organise whatever way you like.

These LEUCHTTURM1917 come in every colour under the sun, many different sizes and with plain, ruled, dotted or squared pages. They also have a great range of planners.

I tend to switch between this fancy Metallic Edition Medium (A5) in Silver and I’ve just bought my third A5 Lemon Dotted journal. They may call it lemon but it’s a vibrant yellow which always makes me smile and is never hard to find!

I personally never use journals with ruled pages as my writing is enormous and I find that plain pages allow me to creatively use the pages however I want. Planning, writing, journaling, mind mapping, lists….


Pens

I’ve got very distinctive handwriting, which is impossible for anyone but me to read – maybe a good way to keep my musings private if anyone finds my journal.

I’m hooked on these Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens. I’ve been using them for years, always stock up on a pack of 12 and keep them stashed everywhere!

 

Candles

For me, it’s really important to create the right environment for my Daily Practice of yoga, pranayama (breathing) and journaling.

Before I start, I always light a few tealights and a scented candle.

My absolute favourites are these St Eval Tin Candles. They have a wonderful, lasting fragrance but aren’t overpowering. They have some quirky fragrance combinations and come in tealightspillar candles and diffusers. The diffusers are great, they really seem to last forever.

I love so many of their scents, but if pushed for my Top 3, they would be (in no particular order) SandalwoodTranquility and Sensuality.

I first got one of these candles as a gift.

A gift to the senses! Beautiful fragrance, I light it morning, noon and night. Perfect for inspiring my journaling.

World Suicide Prevention Day: My story, my struggle…

World Suicide Prevention Day: My story, my struggle…

World Suicide Prevention Day

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay #SuicidePrevention #WSPD2019

 

*This post may contain affiliate links which could earn me a small commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

 

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

And if I don’t share my real story with you today then I never will… I’ve been absent from social media for quite some time. Late last year, for the first time, I began to experience suicidal thoughts daily. This lasted for about 5-6 months.

I’m better now and have been for about 6 months. I just had to take some extra time away to make sure it stayed that way by continuing to protect my mental health, wellbeing, time and energy.


My story, my symptoms, my struggle:

Sometimes there may not be a ‘reason’ why you’re feeling this way right now. Mine was probably a combination of multiple triggers.

I left my career as HR Director 15 months ago. For about a year before making the decision to change careers, I was crumbling emotionally and physically, but I kept powering on. It’s only when I finally stopped that I felt the full traumatic effects of corporate burnout and PTSD.

And as if that wasn’t enough to deal with, the menopause hit me…hard. Anxiety, depression, headaches, hot flushes, night sweats, panic attacks, joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, low libido, insomnia & more! I saw a few GPs who repeatedly insisted that I was too young (45 when symptoms started), regardless that my blood test results told a different story. These GPs sent me away each time with prescriptions for anti-depressants. But you know your own body, and I knew mine. I knew anti-depressants might alleviate some symptoms, but not the underlying cause, which I felt certain was perimenopause.

That meant I was going through a number of major life changes while dealing with the simultaneous avalanches of burnout, PTSD and intense perimenopausal symptoms. They share similar symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and insomnia, so together they dealt me a triple whammy.

I’ve experienced periods of depression and anxiety over many years, so I had reasonable confidence that these episodes would pass. The depression and anxiety ‘only’ appeared for a few weeks at a time but it was during those times that I became really concerned that I might not be strong enough to fight the suicidal thoughts.
6 years ago, I lost an ex-boyfriend to suicide. Over recent years, I’ve lost work colleagues and supported other colleagues who had lost close family members. I’ve supported close friends through periods of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. I worked in student accommodation and was responsible for supporting employees who were immediately affected when we tragically lost young residents through suicide.

Around this time, I attended a workshop on Postvention which promotes intervention on the basis that family and friends of the suicide victim may be at risk themselves. Perhaps, having had so many exposures to suicide and bereavement, I was more at risk myself.

I’ve been shocked and concerned by how women share that they’ve been having suicidal thoughts or ideations when they join our FB group and tell me about their current challenges. I hoped to reach personally and privately out to each and every one of them but the group grew so quickly, I’m not even close to reaching most of them yet.

I’m normally upfront in talking about mental illness. I’ve been involved with a few amazing mental illness charities and I fronted a campaign for mental health in the workplace where I spoke publicly about my own struggles.

But this time was different. The social isolation, guilt, sleep interruption and nightmares were unfamiliar symptoms.

However, it was the social anxiety that really isolated me. I’ve never been particularly active on social media so believe me, I know how bizarre it is that I set up an online business and Facebook group. I pushed myself too far out of my comfort zone into the world of social media at a time when I wasn’t well enough to handle it.

The social anxiety seemed to grow into a social media anxiety that led to me retreating offline and away from our FB group, which simply served to heighten my social isolation.

During this time I read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Brené Brown’s words affected me deeply.

“Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our shame, the story metastasizes.” I could recognise my shame growing but couldn’t find my voice to share my story.

Shame can’t survive being spoken. But I believed that to host a group and have a voice online, I had to be seen to be strong, to be invincible. I felt that I was expected to have it all sorted. When I didn’t.

It’s easy to look back now and recognise just how much I was going through…significant life changes, PTSD, spiritual awakening, menopause, setting up a new business on my own.

I felt I didn’t know enough about my own challenges to advise, especially when I was still finding my own way through. But what I’ve realised is that I’m going to be on this journey for life and sometimes I’ll lose my way. But I’ll always find my way back, or find my way onto another path.

Ironically, I realised much later that I went into hiding from the very group where I could have got invaluable support. And in doing so, I kept my story from those who may have gained strength or understanding from it.

So I kept quiet, then didn’t know how to find my voice again on the way out.

 

My road to recovery

Thanks to all the spiritual and soul work I’ve practiced over the past year, while battling these thoughts, I just gave myself permission to prioritise myself and prioritise my own health.

There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. So on a few of those days, I gave myself permission to just stay in bed. Permission to keep myself safe and allow myself that time to get well. Strangely, most times I gave myself that permission, I felt well enough to get up.

Alcohol: I had stopped exercising, wasn’t eating as healthily as normal, and found myself drinking in an unhealthy way. I wasn’t drinking huge amounts but I recognised that I was self-medicating with alcohol to escape from my own perpetual thoughts, and that’s when I sought CBT.

I self-referred myself for CBT. The programme I signed up to wasn’t right for me, but the counsellor was. I give gratitude every single day that he was brought into my life. So much so, that I’m now studying a Mindfulness based CBT diploma so that I can share some of these powerful techniques with others.

Avoidance: I tried not to allow myself to really consider how I might take action if it ever got to that stage. I also threw out almost every medication that I had in the house.

Perimenopause: I (literally) begged my medical practice for an appointment with a women’s health expert and started HRT (in my case Oestrogel & the Mirena coil for Progesterone). HRT very quickly worked miracles for me, my energy and my sanity and I will definitely write more about that later.

Exercise: Almost as soon as I’d started the HRT, I refound my energy for exercise. I now walk 4-5 miles in green spaces at least 5 times a week. Even in the rain. I get fresh air, exercise and the grounding benefits of nature.

Yoga: After my Yoga Teacher Training I’d stopped practicing properly for months. I think I was partly afraid of another injury after tearing my hamstring. Ironically it was another injury that made me determined to get back into shape and improve my strength and flexibility. And now I’ve rediscovered so many benefits of my daily yoga practice.

Clients: I also knew that I had a responsibility to prioritise my time and save my energy for my paying clients who had trusted me to guide them through their own challenges. It’s an honour every single day to be invited to share in someone’s journey and I wanted to be able to show up fully to serve them. Which brought me purpose, so important when you’ve feel you’ve lost your way.

If you’re coming out of a stressful or traumatic experience, please seek help to support you through the impact it can have on your emotional, physical and mental health.

In my case, I recovered through rest, CBT, HRT, a healthy, more active lifestyle, prioritising myself, my health and my clients.

 

What next?

So it turned out that I needed to follow my own advice and slow down, do the inner work (again) and do some heavy lifting in my personal life. This work is challenging but so important to do if you want to live a fulfilled and happy life and, now I’m out the other side, I can see how very necessary the process was, and I’m so grateful that I had all of the tools I needed at my fingertips.

That gave me the time to rethink my business model too. I’ve refined my niche and want to specialise in working with successful women who are suffering from corporate burnout or overwhelm and want to regain balance in their lives. I’ve been lucky that my new business has taken off so well but that’s given me the chance to realise that I’d prefer to work with even fewer people at any one time so that I can devote more time to holding out a metaphorical hand whenever it’s needed.

I had originally planned to work with a small number of 1:2:1 clients and deliver group programmes online but for now I’ve decided against the group programmes as I personally don’t want people ‘disappearing’ within a large group. I prefer to get to know them and their stories so I can be of service however they truly need be. And every person is different, I want to be able to intuitively adapt to that.

Now that I’ve stripped back my lifestyle so much, I’ve been lucky to realise that the most precious thing to me is time. Time for my daily practices and especially time I can spend over a coffee or glass of wine with close friends and family. I’ve been working about 5 or 6 hours a day and I’d like to keep working fewer hours, while making these coaching and personal growth tools and programmes accessible to many more people.

So I’m going to be giving away lots of resources and tools for free on my website and within this group, then I’ll be bundling some of them up into affordable digital courses.

“Life is difficult.”

That’s the opening line in The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (Classic Edition) by M. Scott Peck.

“Once we truly see this truth…once we truly understand it and accept it – then life is no longer difficult”. “Life is a series of problems… and it is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning…It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.”

This year I have taken the time to reconnect with myself – mind, body and soul. I’ve really tuned in and learned to trust myself and I’ve grown mentally and spiritually. “Life is difficult”. But we don’t have to face it alone…

I’ve been away from actively participating in our FB group for such a long time but I have been checking in behind the scenes while I was getting myself back to full health. Thanks to all of the incredible ladies who have kept this group alive with your inspirational posts and quotes. I’ve lost count of the number of times I checked in and was brought exactly the message I needed, precisely when I needed them most. And thanks to those who have messaged me personally. You know who you are. I feel truly blessed to have such generosity of knowledge, spirit and energy brought into my life.

Yet, in choosing not to reveal my struggles, I missed out on the chance to get the support from this amazing, supportive movement of women and also to share my story with those who might recognise themselves in it.

I thought I had to be more. More spiritual, more learned, more educated, more experienced, more balanced, more successful, more visible, more everything! I was exhausted trying to be who I thought I should be, who I thought people wanted me to be. When my work is to enable women to find themselves and be themselves.

To “Be More You”.

So this is me. Authentic. Flawed. Vulnerable. Imperfect. Content. Exposed. Alive. And finally very much at peace with myself and my life…


J xx

 


How to help yourself if you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts:

  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Help and support is available.
  • Phone a helpline.
  • Seek medical advice.
  • Don’t make a decision today. You don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. If you’ve had these thoughts before, you’ll know that you might be better able to cope in a few days.
  • If you have a crisis plan or care plan in place, follow this. If you don’t have a crisis plan, you could make one.
  • Avoid any triggers, whatever makes you feel worse.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Get yourself to a safe place or be around other people.
  • Give yourself permission to stop. Just get through today, try not to think about the future.
  • Do something you enjoy, like spending time with a pet or getting out in nature.
  • Do something that will help take your mind off how you are feeling.
  • Longer term, consider counselling or CBT if it’s available to you
  • Get moving – unfortunately it’s when you feel least like exercising that you could benefit from it most. Try it is you can to release some ‘feel good’ hormones.

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