Books That Helped Me Recover From Burnout

Books That Helped Me Recover From Burnout

I’ve been on quite a journey of recovery, growth and transformation. These books that helped me learn, grow, let things go and turn my life around to recover from burnout.

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.

I’ve recently moved home for the fourth time in two years. And this move is temporary, I’m moving again very soon. So I had to make the (for me) painful decision to downsize my personal ‘library’ of books. These survived the cull and are with me to stay books

* This page has affiliate links which could earn me a small commission but doesn’t cost you any extra. And of course, I will never recommend anything to you that I haven’t tried and liked. Promise. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

 

Self-help & Personal Development 

Spirituality

Psychology

Philosophy

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Yoga

How Working With A Coach Can Help You

How Working With A Coach Can Help You

Have you ever thought about working with a coach?

 

If you’re serious about achieving your biggest goals, you should consider it. In fact, if you need to start by defining what those goals actually are, then you should seriously consider it.

Working with a coach is a great way to boost your results in almost any area of life.

Having someone support and guide you through challenging times, help you develop new skills, or build more accountability into your life, is a wonderful way to ensure you achieve more. If you are wondering if working with a coach could help you, please consider these nine benefits.

 

9 benefits of working with a coach

 

  1. Helps You Define Your Goals

Many of us have goals, but often they are loosely (or not at all) defined. A coach can help take the hopes and dreams out of your head to create concrete goals. Instead of just wanting something, you start taking real steps towards it.

 

  1. Adds More Accountability to Your Life

It’s funny, but we have a much easier time letting ourselves down than we do letting others down. Having a coach means one more person in your life you don’t want to let down. You will feel more accountable and be more likely to achieve your goals when you know someone will ask you about your progress.

 

  1. Encourages You to Define Your Values

Do you know what you stand for? Maybe a better question is, do you know your core values? Regardless of the question, if you struggle with the answer, then a coach can help you. A coach can’t tell you your values, but they can ask you questions that will help you define them yourself.

 

  1. Helps You See Yourself More Clearly

A good coach will help you become more self-aware. This self-awareness will allow you to be more honest with yourself. You will know what you are good at and what you aren’t so good at doing. Self-awareness allows you to double down on your strengths while figuring out how to deal with your weaknesses.

 

  1. Assists Skill Building and Development

The most obvious benefit of a coach is their ability to help us build specific skills. For example, if you are interested in becoming a better business person, it makes sense to work with a business coach who has been there and done that. You get to learn from both their experiences and their mistakes.

 

  1. Offers a Safe Space to Talk About Sensitive Issues

Whether you find the current world too sensitive or not, it’s a fact that we need to watch the things we say. Having a coach gives you a safe space where you can talk about more sensitive issues. This doesn’t mean you have a place to spout hate, but you can at least vent a bit more freely.

 

  1. Encourages You To Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

The comfort zone got its name from being comfortable. Once you are in it, you don’t want to get out. A good coach will coax and challenge you to step out of it. Stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while will make it easier to create positive change in your life.

 

  1. Offers a Different Viewpoint

When you have a coach, you have someone else to bounce ideas off of. It is so easy to get caught up in your tunnel vision that you might not even consider differing opinions. A coach forces you to consider different viewpoints and opinions. This helps you become a more well-rounded individual.

 

  1. Helps You Make Tough Decisions

Sometimes it feels like life is nothing but a series of difficult decisions. While this isn’t always true, it has a basis in reality. How much would you like to have someone else to talk to about these decisions? A good coach provides that kind of assistance.

 

Fast Action Steps You Can Take Right Now

 

  1. Take some time to think about different areas of your life that could use a boost. Write these down in a list.

 

  1. Carefully consider the list from the last step to figure out if a coach, mentor, or teacher could help you in any of these areas.

 

  1. Choose the area of your life that could most use a coach, and start researching coaching options. If you find a fit right for you, take a chance and reach out.

 

 

More Reading

* Any affiliate links could earn me a small commission but won’t cost you any extra. And of course, I will never recommend anything to you that I haven’t tried and liked. Promise. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

The Art of Coaching Workbook

59 Lessons: Working with the World’s Greatest Coaches

7 Keys To Being A Great Coach

The HeART of Laser-Focused Coaching

Let’s chat!

Book a free coaching call to deal with burnout
I’m not a writer. So why am I doing a 30 day writing challenge?

I’m not a writer. So why am I doing a 30 day writing challenge?

“Everyone has a book in them…” 

Great. Let’s do this!

“…but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

Oh.

I’m not even entirely sure that I want to write a book. Definitely not fiction. I use up enough time and energy managing my own life without creating and guiding multiple characters through theirs.

But I read so much and learn so much. I enjoy sharing that with my coaching clients so I’d love to be able to capture and share it further with anyone it might help. Life lessons with meaningful anecdotes from my own life. Maybe that’s it. But not just yet. 

In the meantime, I have a course to write, an eBook to finish and a blog that I should be posting on more regularly


Why do it?

We’ve already established that I’m not a writer and I’m not even sure that I want to be. So why put myself through this?

Find my writing style

I worked in Human Resources for 20 years. Everything I wrote was ‘professional’, often legal, in strategy and report formats to global boards and directors. Dry.

Writing that way is all I know. So when I try to write now, I immediately disappear back up my own corporate backside. I bore myself! 

Although I did once rebrand an employee handbook with a new tone of voice by recording content exactly as I would speak. So do I have to ‘be more me’?

The advice on finding your tone of voice is to write like you’re talking to your best friend. I can tell you now, she would NOT enjoy being bombarded with my musings and doubts for 30 days. But maybe I can secretly write to her and never share. 


I love reading 

Imagine if someone, anyone, might enjoy reading something I’ve written. I know that’s going to take more than a month, but I have to start somewhere. And why not try. Have no regrets.


Learning and improving

Now that I’ve decided to do this, I’ve been reading tips from other writers. I’m enjoying that. I’d like to put tips immediately into practice and that means writing every day.

And on my quest to learn and improve, maybe this will help. But what’s an expository style? Be original. Efficient syntax? Oh heck. Maybe I should study all these tips today and start again tomorrow…. *see procrastination

 

Earn money

I’ve got to be honest here. My work depends on it. I’m self employed, always on the lookout for new clients and I need to be active and visible online. No matter what platform or format that takes, I’ll need written content.  

 

Why not?

Oh, this part is easy! I have lots of reasons not to write. That’s why I’ve shared so little on my website so far. And why I procrastinate like feck.


Writing should be fun

It’s not. 


I am the Queen of Procrastination

I only enjoy writing when I should be doing something else. When I should be writing, I can find about a million other things to do instead.


Write about something you love

Lots of experts recommend that you write about something you love. I worry that if I force myself to write about something I love, I’ll very quickly lose the love. 


It’s not starting, it’s finishing

Au contraire. I’m great with a blank page! Give me a blank page and I’ll fill it with ideas and ask for another page. But once I’ve done that brain-dump, I find it almost impossible to put those scattered thoughts into order. In fact, I struggle to go back and look at it again, nevermind start reworking it. So writing takes me FOREVER.  


Too many ideas

Can’t think of anything to write about? Not me! I’ve so many ideas I can’t choose. And when I do make a choice, I’ll change my mind halfway through writing then decide to start another topic and finish the first another day. I’ve lost count of how many blog posts I’ve started and abandoned. Maybe the challenge could be to finish 30 of those started-but-abandoned-posts?


Confidence

Of course, what I mean here is lack of confidence. Enough said.


Visibility

This is my biggest challenge. I’m very private. I don’t like social media. I worry what other people will think. And I’m sensitive to criticism. But all of that has held me back for over 3 years now. That’s how long I haven’t actively promoted and shared my business. Time to put on my big girl pants and do it!

 

 

How?

Now that I’ve publicly committed to this, how do I make it happen?

 

Be organised

I’ll have a set time to write each day. First thing in the morning. With a nice coffee. Just don’t want it to ruin a good cup of coffee. And it’s already 11:43am today. Need to get more organised.


Habit is better than discipline

Habit is something you do daily without thinking. You just do it. Or build it into each day until you eventually get to the point where it’s a habit. That’s going to need a whole lot of discipline for me.


Write for yourself

Nope. That one isn’t working for me. I have a laptop full to bursting with half-written posts. I need the commitment and accountability of writing for other people. Even if that’s just the public accountability of committing to do this.


Take baby steps

Hhhmmmm… I’m not sure a 30 day public challenge ticks this box. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. That might be a better approach.


Just
do it

This is my year of growth. Maybe I will learn to love the page rather than fear it. 

I’ll be brave enough to start badly and publicly improve my writing. I can share my learnings. Share my failures. Share how life has knocked me down and I picked myself back up again.

So this is my month of doing something badly. Bravely.

Tune in tomorrow for more. Or maybe the next day…

 

I won’t share every daily post here but check out my Medium Stories if you’d like to see how I do in the challenge.

In the post I mentioned that I’m creating courses. Check out Burnout to Balance, it’s launching very soon!

*Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

How To Overcome Overwhelm & Take Back Control

How To Overcome Overwhelm & Take Back Control

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Stressed? Worried? Anxious?

 

There are times in your life when you can feel such intense overwhelm that it seems impossible to quieten your thoughts for long enough to be able to see a way through.

It’s hard to allow yourself to aside time to sit still when you’re spinning in overwhelm. But please, give yourself 20 minutes to complete this exercise to help you take back control.

It’s short and simple but very effective. It will help you identify what is within your control so that you can let go of what is not.

(Grab a FREE workbook to guide you through these tips.)

 

STEP 1: WHAT’S ON MY MIND?

Make a list of all the things that are contributing to your worries and feelings of overwhelm. Everything.

It could be that you’re worrying about work issues, lack of work or financial worries. You might be worrying about someone you care about, what’s going to happen during Covid, appointments you need to make, feeling tired, feeling unwell, things you think you should be doing, feelings of guilt etc.

ACTION: Take the time to write EVERYTHING down no matter how small, irrational or ridiculous it might seem right now. Emptying this list onto paper is a very effective way of clearing that incessant chatter in your head.

Done? Great. These are your WORRY ITEMS.

 

STEP 2: EXERCISE — CONTROL, INFLUENCE OR CONCERN

In your workbook, on the Circle of Influence image (page 6) you’ll see a larger version of the 3 circles or sections pictured below.

 

We’re going to categorise each WORRY ITEM into one of these three headings.

1. This is within my control (CONTROL)
2. I can influence this (INFLUENCE)
3. Everything else (CONCERN)

ACTION: Now work through the list of WORRY ITEMS you prepared in STEP 1. Which Section do they fit?

1. Circle of Control:

  • Do you have complete CONTROL over the worry item?
  • Can you resolve it on their own without needing anyone else’s help or input?

If so, write the Worry Item down within the first circle labelled “WITHIN MY CONTROL” and move onto the next item.

2. Circle of Influence:

  • Do you have PARTIAL control or can you INFLUENCE the outcome of the worry item?
  • Can you partly resolve the worry item or can you influence the outcome through their actions or behaviour?

If so, write this item within the second circle labelled “I CAN INFLUENCE” and move onto the next worry on your list.

3. Circle of Concern: Everything else…

  • Is the worry item COMPLETELY OUTSIDE of your CONTROL INFLUENCE?
  • Is there nothing you can do or say that could directly impact this worry?

Write this item in the outside circle labelled EVERYTHING ELSE

Work through your list and write each of your WORRY ITEMS in the circle that represents if you can CONTROL it, INFLUENCE it or it’s everything else (CONCERN).

 

STEP 3: TAKING CONTROL

Once you’ve placed all of your ‘Worry Items’ in the circles, take a few moments to review your Circles of Influence.

ACTION:

  • List the worry items you DO have CONTROL over
  • IDENTIFY one ACTION,however small, for each item.

TIP: It’s helpful to action ONE of these today…or even RIGHT NOW. You’ll feel instantly feel better.

STEP 4: PLANNING TO INFLUENCE

Now, let’s review the items you have INFLUENCE / PARTIAL control over:

ACTION:

Write down what steps you will take and exactly when you will do them — today or in the next few days.

 

STEP 5: LETTING GO

Finally…and most importantly…

LET GO of EVERYTHING ELSE!

This is the most difficult part for many of us. But remember, you’ve already assessed that you have no control over these items. So why hold on? Why let them take up time on you list and on your mind?

Let Go.

QUESTION: How does it FEEL to LET GO of things you have no CONTROL over?

TIP: If you’re using the Workbook, after striking out the Everything Else items, you could cut out around the edge of the grey INFLUENCE circle. Then keeping the CONTROL and INFLUENCE circles, scrunch or tear up the rest of the page and put Everything Else in the bin. This is a powerful way to LET GO.

Grab the gorgeous free workbook here.

 

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Books That Helped Me Recover From Burnout

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.

Here is my burnout reading list:

* Please note: this page contains affiliate links which could earn me a small commission but doesn’t cost you any extra. And of course, I will never recommend anything to you that I haven’t tried and liked. Promise. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

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

Top Ten Stress Busting Tips

Stress is “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.” (HSE UK)

The pressures you’re dealing with may come from a number of different sources, and when their combined effect is overwhelming, stress occurs. Stress is an unhealthy state of body or mind or both.

Managing the stress of work and life are essential to your wellbeing.

So how can we manage stress?

Here are ten positive approaches to managing stress (ISMAUK – International Stress Management Association)

1. Learn to manage your time more effectively
We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, do not put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep and rest, our body is then better able to cope with stress, should it occur. If this is not the case, then this may be a warning sign so don’t ignore it. Engaging in some form of physical activity may help you by working off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques, include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies can all help.

3. Know your limitations and do not take on too much
We can cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we do not want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively and be assertive so that you can say ‘No’ without feeling guilty yourself, or upsetting or offending others.

4. Find out what causes you stress
Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour(s) to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, the implications to your health and how to manage, cope and make any necessary changes.

5. Avoid unnecessary conflict
Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win – win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.

6. Accept the things you cannot change
Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced.

7. Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries
You will perform more effectively during work if you regularly take a short 10 / 15 minute break, easily making up the time you used relaxing. Alongside this, at least one annual break of at least 10-14 continuous days is recommended.

8. Find time to meet friends
Friends can ease work troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress.

9. Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style
If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent ill health and / or burnout.

10. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms
Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants – too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response, increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant!

**Download free PDF**
Top-Ten-Stress-Busting-Tips-F2-ISMAUK

Make Working From Home Work For You

Make Working From Home Work For You

WORKING FROM HOME WELLBEING TIPS

It looks like working from home is likely to continue into the New Year for many of us.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, your company allows you to work remotely, or you’ve had no choice but to work from home during lockdown, more and more of us are working from home.


The GOOD

There are lots of positives. No stressful commutes, fewer interruptions, and often, more flexibility with less structured work hours.


The potential downsides

But if there is one potential pitfall of working from home, it is overworking and never truly switching off from thinking about work. There’s just not the same closure of walking out of the office every evening and segueing into your home life.

So how do you keep a balance between work and “you” time?


1. Work regular hours

Set a start time, a finish time and break times and try to stick to those.

  • Allow yourself a little flexibility, things can come up and let’s face it, this is one of the perks of home-working.


2. Schedule in breaks
too, and make sure you take them.


3. Establish a morning routine

This is probably one of the most important, for me anyway. If my morning routine slips, the whole day slips. I walk the dog, come back and shower, do some yoga, make a coffee, sit on the balcony and write my journal, then make another coffee and it’s time to sit down to work.


4. Get dressed for work

I’m not talking dresses, power suits and heels (unless you really want to) but get out of your PJs, get out of your slouchies and get into work appropriate gear. You’ll be glad of this when you get an unexpected Zoom call, you’ll always be camera ready.


5. Productivity – Work out when you’re most productive
so you know when you’ll get most done and plan your more difficult tasks for the time of day when you know you’re in the right headspace for them.


6. Set boundaries
or rules with other people in your home so that they respect your space and time during your working hours.


7. Remove distractions
and try to structure your day with blocks of time where you will be uninterrupted.


8. Write a realistic To-Do list and try to complete it every day.

Try to avoid procrastinating and don’t carry it forward to the next day as that just leads to a daunting start with even more to do.


9. Eat The Frog

If you haven’t heard of this Brian Tracy book, it’s simple yet genius. If you have a row of frogs that you have to eat, then you’re best just eating the biggest, ugliest one first. Then your day can only get better. So do what you’re dreading most. Then enjoy the rest of your day.


10. Pomodoro Technique

If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s difficult to get in the flow or concentration and there are so many things at home you could be doing, should be doing. My house is never cleaner than when I’m procrastinating on work I don’t like doing. I use the
Pomodoro Technique to keep me focussed for short periods.

– Set a 25 minute timer.
– Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break away from your screen or work.
– Repeat this 4 times then take a longer break.


11. Have a dedicated work area

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a spare room we can use as an office. But work in a space that you can assign solely to work and walk away from at the end of the day. If you have to work at your kitchen table or dining table, then clear all the work away at the end of the day so that you’re not looking at it when you should be switching off. 


12. Choose music to match your task and your mood

No fighting over what music to listen to. You get to choose your own music. I enjoy slower vibes for writing, funkier vibes for inspiration and sometimes I really enjoy pure silence.


13. Get fresh air

Whether it’s a walk in the morning, a bit of exercise in your lunch break or a run when you finish for the day, try to get outside, get some natural light, fresh air and breathe.


14. Go work in a local coffee shop

Going somewhere else to work means you get exercise, air and a change of scenery. The background noise can simulate your normal work environment. It also removes the chance of you being distracted by any household chores. My apartment is never cleaner than when I’m procrastinating on a work task! Two hours in a coffee shop can really help get stuff done!


15. Get a proper chair

During lockdown, many people started working from home with little or no notice so didn’t have the chance to get the right furniture and equipment. You need a chair that provides lumbar support, preferably adjustable to fit it to support you. Many employers will provide these. And a proper monitor will save you back ache too so that you’re not crouching down over a little laptop screen.

16. Socialise (whatever way it’s possible)
You’re going to miss the social interaction from the workplace and it can feel isolated and lonely at times. You could use Zoom or Skype to stay connected for meetings. Working from a café occasionally can provide some human interaction, but maybe you could to arrange to meet friends more outside of work hours, exercise together or end your work day with a coffee and a chat. 

17. Find a way to end your day so that you can switch off from work mode to home mode. 

18. Plan your meals
I quite often find myself deciding to make a nice lunch then spend a lot of time prepping, cooking and cleaning up. Prepare your meals the night before, just like you would do if you were going to the office. 

19. Keep your weekends free
You need time off to recharge. You may need to work Saturdays and Sundays but try where possible to have 2 consecutive work free days to rest, reset and recharge.

 

Free MASTERCLASS: Love The Life You Live

Free MASTERCLASS: Love The Life You Live

MASTERCLASS: Love The Life You Live – Watch Here


Love The Life You Live: Uncover A Life Of Passion & Purpose


What is Love The Life You Live?

Love The Life You Life is a programme I developed after working with clients and recognising a strong repeating pattern in the processes that helped them.

The Roadmap is a step-by-step guide to assessing your life, finding purpose, making plans and how to take steps to achieve them.

Here’s a video talking you through the  exact process to help you to Love The Life You Live. 

You can also download a FREE copy of the Roadmap, and the Mind:Body:Life:Soul holistic framework (below). 

 I’d love if you could share your comments, particularly about anything you’d like to see more of. Happy to share anything that can help right now…🙏🌈💕

    FREE Downloads

    Mind:Body:Life:Soul – A Holistic Framework

    Mind:Body:Life:Soul Holistic Framework

    Roadmap: Love The Life You Live

    Roadmap: Love The Life You Live
    Symptoms of Burnout

    Symptoms of Burnout

    Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s not always easy to spot. Symptoms tend to build up over a period of time after you’ve had ongoing exposure to stressful situations.  

    Burnout can have mental, emotional and physical symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from or on the edge of burnout, here are a list of some symptoms you might be experiencing.

    Symptoms of Burnout

    • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
    • Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
    • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
    • Change in appetite or sleep habits
    • Sense of failure and self-doubt
    • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
    • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
    • Loss of motivation
    • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
    • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
    • Withdrawing from responsibilities
    • Isolating yourself from others
    • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
    • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
    • Taking out your frustrations on others
    • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
    * from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm

    Please make sure that you get the right support for you if you’re struggling.

     

    My Burnout Symptoms

    In my case my GP told me that I had severe physical symptoms of anxiety.

    I experienced:
    • Tightness in chest
    • A persistent tingling feeling in my right arm. This one really concerned me. I’m not one to worry excessively normally but I knew that with my stress levels, lack of sleep and pace of life, I was a prime example of someone at risk of a stroke. This is what made me seek medical advice and check-ups.
    • Mood swinging between periods of low mood and periods of anxiety
    • Panic attacks
    • No sleeping. I wasn’t overly worried about that as I hadn’t slept properly in years but I knew lack of sleep was exacerbating other symptoms.
    • Mouth ulcers. All the time.
    • Sense of failure and I just couldn’t see a way out
    • Tension headaches
    • Detachment. I felt very alone.
    • No enjoyment in anything
    • Isolating myself
    • Procrastinating. I’m the queen of procrastination anyway but I can see now that during this time I procrastinated on taking action that could have helped me sooner
    • Using food and alcohol to cope

    From Breakdown to Breakthrough tells of the moment when I realised I was completely BURNT OUT and realised that I needed to make serious changes. I share my experiences of overcoming Burnout and finding peace, balance and a lifestyle that brings me health and happiness. 

    Burnout to Breakdown to Breakthrough…

    Burnout to Breakdown to Breakthrough…

    I remember the moment when I realised that I was really stuck and living a life that just wasn’t working for me anymore.

    I was crazy busy on all the wrong things and it was draining me physically and emotionally.

    I was 45 at the time and figured I was already at least halfway through my life. I couldn’t let the other half be the same.

    It can be hard to see that there really is a way to find your way out when:

    * You’re overwhelmed
    * Burnt out
    * Feeling like life is passing you by
    * You want to change, but what and how? 
    * You don’t have time to stop and figure it out. You’ve things to do and bills to pay. 
    * You’re bursting with ideas for changing career or setting up your own business but that means leaving the career you worked so hard to build.
    * Everyone else thinks you’re crazy. Your life looks so good from the outside. 

    I eventually found my way…and my WHY. So I KNOW you can do this, because I’ve been there too.

    My own journey of discovering a way to balance a career I love with a much healthier lifestyle helped me discover a formula that really works.

    That’s when I knew. I have to share this!

    That’s what inspired me to leave my career in HR to start coaching women who also feel they’re stuck. 

    But way before I got to that point, my burn out became a breakdown. TWICE! But I overcame that and you can too.

    Once I realised my life wasn’t working for me, I started to make changes, Even though these changes were positive, my burnout became a full-blown breakdown.
     

    How did I recover?

     

    1. I got off the hamster wheel. I LEFT MY JOB.
    That’s when the breakdown happened. And unlike my idol Brené Brown, this wasn’t a Breakdown / Spiritual Awakening, it was a breakdown. I’d been running on adrenaline for years and once that wasn’t needed to maintain the pace of life I’d been hammering through, it switched off completely and I was left in an exhausted, emotional mess. I felt like my world had imploded. I felt like my mind was imploding.

    2. I decided to take some TIME OUT to get a proper break.
    I know taking time out of work isn’t a luxury that everyone can afford but in my case I sold my house, which gave me the financial freedom to take some time out. I knew I was giving up my financial security/pension but I figured if I didn’t have my health, I didn’t have anything and I chose to prioritise that over money.

    3. I found YOGA
    Eventually. Initially I raced my way even through that, doing high intensity yoga shred workouts. It wasn’t until I almost broke my toe doing burpees – yeah, don’t worry, I get it. Burpees in yoga! – that I realised that what I needed to do was slow the feck down. Epiphany.

    4. I SLOWED DOWN.
    Properly. For first time ever.
    I took breaks away on my own in a friend’s caravan on a remote beach in Wales where I walked, wrote, read and rested. I booked a week away to Turkey in a location where there was absolutely nothing of interest to do or see so that it would force me to sit and lie still.

    5. I set BOUNDARIES
    I learned to say no. I choose how I spend my time. I don’t do things I don’t want to (where possible). And when I waiver, I remember that I made huge changes to my life to protect my mental and physical health and it’s vital that I don’t take backward steps to where I was before. I have difficult conversations. I explain to people how I feel, why I make choices and they’ve all been supportive and accepting. Mostly.

    6. I discovered SPIRITUALITY
    Or I finally opened up to spirituality. I’ve always been spiritually curious, possibly trying to find something I could grasp onto. But nothing connected. Maybe I just wasn’t ready. But an Ayurvedic consultation led me to a daily practice of spiritual reading, yoga, pranayama and journaling. I decided to go to India for yoga teacher training and spent a month in Rishikesh, the spiritual home of yoga. I spent another month in Goa and Karnataka and immersed myself in yoga and spirituality. Those of you who have been through a Spiritual Awakening will understand how I found myself stuck in the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, a dark, empty period of personal growth and transition that made me want to turn the clocks back and make it all stop! That led to breakdown number two. This one really was more of a Breakdown Spiritual Awakening but I didn’t know that at the time. I had five months where I experienced suicidal thoughts. But underlying it all, I knew I wasn’t depressed or suffering from anxiety. But when I had a few weeks of low mood, I was concerned that I couldn’t continue to fend away those thoughts and so I faced right into it and I reached out for medical support and counselling to try to finally uncover my thoughts, habits, behaviours, addictive personality and any other demons that were lurking. Medical support was poor but the counselling was transformative.

    7. READING
    I read and read and read and read and read. I read about spirituality, personal growth, the law of attraction, psychology, how the brain works. I also studied – Nutrition, Mindfulness, Yoga, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Life Purpose – I just couldn’t get enough information.

    8. JOURNALLING
    I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.
    It’s why I’m still such an advocate for journaling. It clears your head, helps prioritise, helps recognise patterns of thought and behaviour. 

    9. I let go of my PERFECTIONISM
    I tried, okay I’m still trying, to let go of perfectionism. I put enormous pressure on myself for things to be ‘just so’ or how I think other people expect them. I’m trying to recognise when the perfectionist takes over and let her go pronto. It’s a work in progress.

    10. I distanced myself from NEGATIVE PEOPLE
    Life is hard. That’s a given. But it’s how we deal with it that matters.
    My way is with optimism and positivity, once I’ve allowed myself to deal with and process the emotions. Personally, I find negative, pessimistic, competitive and angry people exceptionally draining. So once I realise that someone has that impact on me, I limit my time with them, to protect my own energy.

    11. I spent time in NATURE
    I spent a lot of time in nature. I walked along a local river, drove to the mountains, stayed by the sea. Nature is grounding and I found stillness and balance when I inhaled fresh air.

    12. I dealt with an unhealthy relationship with ALCOHOL
    Even my counsellor commented that I didn’t drink that much. But it wasn’t the amount that I was drinking, I recognised that it was the ‘why’ I drank that was the problem. I was trying to numb things or take the edge off, escape from life or sometimes escape from me.

    13. I RELOCATED to a Mediterranean island
    I’ve always had a very clear vision of how I imagined my life someday. I imagined living by the sea, living simply, buying fresh food from the local market and spending lots of time outdoors. I always believed that vision would be achieved when I reached retirement, but suddenly I realised, why wait until retirement? Why not live that vision now when I’m young enough (ish), fit enough (ish) and strong enough to deal with a big move?

    So this February I did just that. I moved to Mallorca, to a gorgeous, light, bright, airy, spacious top floor apartment in Palma.

    It’s too big for me but I wanted space for friends and family to visit, to feel like they have a home here.

    I can walk to the sea in 15 minutes, I shop at the local market, I get out into the mountains, countryside and beaches regularly. I don’t have a car. I don’t buy much stuff (I already have too much stuff and I don’t want to clutter my lovely space) and I’ve adopted a little dog. I work from home and I get out into co-working spaces or cafes when I know I need company.

    My favourite social events are coffees and brunches. Okay, okay, I also love a glass of Verdejo in the sunshine but I’ve no interest in nights out, or even fancy dinners. I became vegetarian during my time in India so even my food choices are more simple now. Every morning I enjoy coffee, writing and reading on the balcony and pottering about with a few plants.

    I’m living the lifestyle I dreamed of. And I get to help other people find the lifestyle they dream of too. So really I guess I’m a lifestyle coach. Because I believe in a holistic approach to Mind, Body, Life and Soul. If anything is out of balance, everything is out of balance. 

    How long did it take? 

    At the risk of sounding like an absolute cop out I really don’t know.

    The perimenopause hit me at the same time as the burnout. And perimenopause is the gift that just keeps on giving. It can last for up to 10 years, symptoms fluctuate and come and go and I still have days where I feel low or anxious.

    The major difference is that any changes in mood now usually last only a day or two. And surely that’s to be expected in life?

    The books that got me through this difficult time

    *This page contains 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 have used and trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

    I know I said I read a lot but I read far too much to be able to recommend everything here so here’s a link to my reading list.

    But if I had to select just a few, these are the books that had the most profound impact on me were:

    The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

    Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky

    Lifeshocks: and how to love them, Sophie Sabbage

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

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

    Your True Home, Thich Nhat Hanh

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

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

    How to lose weight & keep it off

    How to lose weight & keep it off

    Hands up who’s put on weight during the pandemic, lockdowns and working from home? 👋🏼

    Some people lose their appetite through stressful times. Not me. My daily exercise was regular trips to the fridge!

    I often found myself standing at the fridge door, looking around blankly, waiting for inspiration and usually settling for more chocolate. Or cheese. Or leftovers. Or whatever was closest to me. I inhaled everything I ate then found myself back at the fridge door just minutes later.

     

    So firstly, if you’ve been beating yourself up about the weight. Give yourself a break. There was a global crisis, our routines were upended, our lives full of fear and uncertainty and food was a brief, welcome, comforting respite.

    But enough is enough! Let’s get these stubborn pounds shifted…

    I lost over 40lbs around 15 years ago. And I’ve managed to keep it off, with a few little fluctuations here and there.

    Naturally slim until my 20s, my weight had been creeping up gradually since my student days. Most people have a preference for sweet or savoury. I like both. In quick rotation. In big quantities.

    I tried lots of diets. Slimming World, Atkins, calorie counting, bikini body plans, Blood Type diet, 5:2, 500 calorie days, Low GI, intermittent fasting… You name it, I’ve probably tried it.

    And then finally something clicked. Or rather, quite a few things clicked. And here they are. The food lessons I’ve learned and lived by for almost 15 years.

    1. FIND YOUR WHY

    First, and most importantly, you have to actually want to lose the weight.

    So do you really want to lose weight?

    Yes? Then find your WHY. Why do YOU want to lose weight? Got it?

    Okay. Any time you’re struggling, remind yourself of WHY you want to lose weight.

    It will help you keep focus and motivation.

    2. GET ORGANISED

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad, boring news but there are no short cuts to losing weight.

    Get organised. Plan your meals, buy healthy and prep plenty.

    3. LEARN HOW TO EAT

    Fad or lose weight quick diets might help you kick-start the weight loss, but they’re not sustainable, often not healthy and you don’t break your old habits.

    To maintain your weight long term, you need to learn how to eat.

    Find a way of eating that suits your lifestyle.

    Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

    4. MOVE IT

    Find an exercise you enjoy and get moving. It’s great for endorphins too which will help you feel so much better. But bear in mind, you can’t exercise away a bad diet.

    5. DRINK LOTS OF WATER

    Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. And it’s important to stay hydrated, helps with digestion too. But stick mainly to water, even fruit juices can be packed with sugar.

    6. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT

    It’s sometimes surprising how you’ve eaten so much more than you thought.

    Writing it down helps you keep track. You might also spot patterns of when and what you eat.

    I’m a grazer and snack constantly and eat throughout the day. That all soon adds up.

    7. FOOD IS FUEL

    This one was my lightbulb moment when it came to weight loss. Think of food as fuel for your body.

    Would you put cheap, nasty fuel in your car? Nope.

    Let’s treat ourselves carefully by trying to eat more fresh, nutritious, unprocessed ‘fuel’.

    Read the labels, avoid high saturated fats, hidden sugars, high salts, E numbers and names of ingredients you can’t even pronounce.

    8. DON’T CALL IT A DIET

    It’s a way of eating that will enable you to lose weight and a new way of eating that will make sure you stay at a healthy weight you’re happy with.

    My diet is how I eat, I’m not on a diet.

    Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

    9. LEARN TO LOVE (AND TRUST) FOOD

    Your body needs carbs, your body needs fats. No food is bad, in small amounts (unless it aggravates a medical condition).

    Chocolate is good for the soul. Just not in the vast quantities that saw me through lockdown!

    10. TRY SMALLER PLATES & PORTIONS

    I don’t know about you but I was brought up to clear my plate. Whatever the size!

    So maybe fill a smaller plate at first. Eat slowly, eat mindfully and stop when you’re full.

    11. NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS

    That’s bulls*t. And whoever said that had clearly never tasted Lindt dark chocolate with sea-salt, or meringue with fresh cream, or cheesecake, or freshly baked bread with butter, or cheese, or… you get my drift.

    HOWEVER, when tempted by your own tasty pleasure, just take a moment to reflect on your WHY.

    Do you want that chunk of cake more than you want to lose weight?

    The answer might be yes. In which case have a little.

    Or CHOOSE to have it, and eat it with unbridled pleasure and savour each mouthful.

    You’ve made a choice. Own it and enjoy it.

    12. ENJOY IT

    When you eat, ENJOY it!

    Stop whatever else you’re doing, sit still and enjoy every last morsel.

    Don’t ruin it by eating it with a huge side-serving of guilt.

    Savour it with intention and satisfaction. Otherwise it wasn’t worth it.

    So if you can’t resist the dessert menu, just have the cake / cheesecake / tart / cream filled pastry and enjoy it. Maybe you’ll share it with someone, maybe you’ll eat the lot.

    But you’ve made a choice to have it, so give yourself permission to accept that decision, lean into that and enjoy it!

    13. DON’T START AGAIN NEXT WEEK

    If you eat the cake, don’t let that de-rail you. Don’t decide you’ll start your ‘diet’ again tomorrow, or the next day or after the weekend or whenever…

    Eat the next meal as you had planned and prepped.

    You’re making mostly ‘healthy’ food choices and sometimes you have treats.

    That’s life.

     

    8 Ways Walking Improves Your Mental Health

    8 Ways Walking Improves Your Mental Health

    It might surprise you to hear that something as simple as walking can actually improve your brainpower.

    It doesn’t even have to be full-on power walking! Even a twenty or thirty minute walk during your lunch break can have a positive impact on your brain.

    Here are eight ways science has proven that walking is excellent for your brain: 

    1. Walking helps lower your risk of depression
    Walking is an excellent way to improve your mental health. A 2018 study showed that any kind of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking can boost your brain health and lower your risk of developing depression by a third.

    2. Walking improves your cognitive function
    A number of studies have shown that the magic amount of twenty to thirty minutes of daily aerobic exercise, such as walking, improves cognitive function and memory.

    3. Walking stimulates endorphins  
    Just ten minutes of walking is enough to start your brain releasing endorphins, the brain chemicals that lower stress, boost your mental health, and make you feel good. You’ve heard of the runner’s high? Well, you can get a similar positive rush from a brisk walk!

    4. Walking releases the brain’s Magic Protein    
    Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) has been dubbed the brain’s ‘magic protein’ as it helps to rewire and build new neural pathways. Scientists believe it can even help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. And cardiovascular exercise is an easy way to stimulate the production of BDNF and keep your brain in peak condition.

    5. Walking lowers physical and mental fatigue
    A 2008 study by the University of Georgia found that just three sessions a week of a low-intensity exercise like walking can reduce fatigue levels by as much as 65 percent.

    6. Walking builds hippocampus strength
    Your hippocampus is the key part of the brain for forming and storing memories. Research has shown that even brief walks can actually increase the size and efficiency of your hippocampus.

    7. Walking Improves Creativity
    Artists, writers, and philosophers have long known the importance of walking for clearing blocked creativity and getting inspiration flowing again. Science can now back this up with a 2014 study by Stanford University showing that walking increases your creative output by up to sixty percent.

    8. Walking increases blood flow to the brain
    Blood is vital for every organ in your body, not least of all, your brain. That magic twenty minutes is all it takes to increase the blood flow to your brain to keep it active and healthy.

    What do you think? Not bad for 20 minutes exercise!

    I’ve long been a fan of walking and hiking and that’s before I realised it had just so many key benefits. Not to mention the added grounding and healing benefits of walking in nature. 

    Right, I’m off for a walk…

     

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