Childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on an individual's mental and physical health, and it can often manifest in various ways as we navigate through life. One common way that trauma can affect us is through a tendency to experience burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can result from prolonged stress and overwork. It can leave us feeling drained, disconnected, and unfulfilled, seriously affecting our overall health, well-being and mental health.
Growing up, I experienced childhood trauma that left me feeling unsafe and unsupported. My mother was mentally unstable and often got angry and took her anger out on us. So I learned from a young age that I had to appease my mother and make her happy and proud to get her approval. This made me feel like I had to be perfect and work hard to earn acceptance from others, and I developed a tendency to push myself to the limit to meet the expectations of others. This constant drive to succeed and overwork eventually led me to experience burnout, especially during the first year of motherhood.
I was trying to be the "perfect" mother, breastfeeding my firstborn round the clock, cooking organic food for the family, and making sure the house was clean and tidy all the time. I found myself feeling exhausted and drained, both physically and emotionally. I cried easily, had difficulty sleeping, was resentful towards my husband, and constantly ran on empty. I was also disconnected from my passions and interests, like writing, taking photos, and learning new things.
If you've experienced childhood trauma, it's important to be aware of how it may impact your current well-being and to take steps to prevent burnout.
Here are 10 ways to prevent burnout:
Set boundaries: It's important to set boundaries around your time and energy and to say no when necessary. This means learning to prioritize your own needs and well-being and not overextending yourself in an attempt to please others.
Practice self-care: Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This can include exercise, spending time in nature, meditation, hobbies, and time with friends and loved ones.
Seek support: It's okay to reach out for help when you need it. This can include therapy, support groups, or confiding in a trusted friend or loved one.
Find work-life balance: Make sure to carve out time for rest and relaxation in addition to work. This can help prevent burnout and ensure you have the energy and focus you need to be productive.
Seek out meaning and purpose: Find ways to connect with your passions and interests, and make sure that your work aligns with your values and goals. This can help prevent burnout and ensure you feel fulfilled and satisfied in your work.
Take mini-breaks: Make sure to rest and recharge throughout the day. It could mean working for 50 mins straight and taking a 10 mins break. This can help prevent fatigue and burnout.
Practice stress management techniques: Many techniques can help you manage stress, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation. Finding what works for you can help you cope with stress and prevent burnout.
Set realistic goals: It's important to set goals that are achievable and realistic rather than trying to do too much. This can help prevent feelings of overwhelm and burnout.
Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Make sure you get enough sleep each night to help prevent burnout.
Learn to delegate: It's okay to ask for help or delegate tasks to others. This can help distribute workload and prevent burnout.
Remember that healing from trauma takes time and effort, and you must be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate this process. By prioritising your health and well-being, you can build a sense of resilience and strength that will serve you well in the long run, preventing you from burning out.
If you find it difficult to rest or do less, you can use Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques to ground yourself and slow down.
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