Finding Joy: Kinesiologist Antonia Beamish on how to avoid ‘burnout’
-With so many of us suffering from ‘burnout’ and life overwhelm, kinesiology practitioner Antonia Beamish explores the causes and how we can tackle these debilitating emotions
I love writing about boundaries and burnout because I find myself so frequently on the edge of these experiences. Sometimes I catch myself just before I tumble off, and sometimes I don’t. It’s only when I’m freefalling into the abyss that I think ‘oh crap, how did I end up here again?’
I know I’m not alone. So many of us teeter on the edge of burnout, swaying in the winds of responsibilities, jobs and family pressures, not sure which way the wind will toss us and when we might fall and find it hard to get back up.
Burnout has become a bit of a trendy term lately and I actually don’t like it very much. What I’m more interested in is the gentle creeping of overwhelm which sneaks in and takes us all by surprise. Unlike burnout, which tends to happen very quickly and abruptly, overwhelm runs silently, but deadly, in the background, and this is what makes it so dangerous. We have no idea it’s really there at all.
If burnout is the fire, then overwhelm is the fuel that lights that baby up after we’ve pushed ourselves too hard, mentally, emotionally and physically.
This is all due to our cultural conditioning. We live in a ‘work hard and push harder’ society where success is rewarded and rest is seen as weak. We’re also heavily programmed from generational conditioning to see resting as lazy, self-care as indulgent and following your dreams as deeply selfish.
We’ve all become so used to living in a state of overwhelm that we don’t even know that it’s there. The signs of overwhelm, such as an over-active mind, anxiety, scattered thinking, fatigue, finding it hard to focus, inability to sleep deeply, are all just seen as normal parts of being an adult with adult responsibilities.
Yet, these are symptoms, and symptoms are signs that tell us what we need to pay attention to. It’s when we don’t listen to these loving messages that we reach a point of burnout. This is when our body pulls the emergency evacuation lever.
So why do we push ourselves to this state of exhaustion, overwhelm, fatigue and full-body breakdown? A huge part of this comes from our inner drive of not feeling good enough which makes us feel that we have to do more, achieve more and work harder so we can gain the validation, recognition and reward from others that we can’t give ourselves.
This is what it all comes down to. If we truly love and respect ourselves, we would never compromise our wellbeing, yet we jeopardise our emotional, physical and spiritual health over and over again to reach the goals that we perceive will give us the validation that as human beings we so deeply crave.
We all have our core wounds, and unworthiness is one of the greatest. If we are really honest with ourselves, this is why we push ourselves for the companies we work for. It’s why we try to please everyone else but ourselves. It’s why we lack healthy strong boundaries that keep us safe.
Boundaries play a huge part in this too. Overwhelm can often stem from us trying to do too much. We do too much because we want to please everyone. And if we please everyone no one will think badly of us. We fear the judgement of others so deeply because we’ve created a world for ourselves where the thoughts and reflections of others make up the core of our worth.
Yet, we can never tie our worth to anything external, it has to come from within, because then it can never be broken.
I read recently that it’s our job to disappoint people, and I loved it. We cannot go through this life working ourselves to death, burning ourselves out to please others, feeling guilty and ashamed that we’re not giving enough and stretching ourselves to breaking point and burnout.
Deep-seated unworthiness is the driver that is at the core of burnout and until we begin to recognise it for what it is, we can’t ever fully heal. This is how we can gently bring ourselves back from the edge; by simply recognising what’s driving us to this point, so we can lovingly begin the journey back to a place of deep love, respect and compassion for ourselves.
*Antonia is a systematic kinesiology practitioner based in Cambridge. Find out more at antoniabeamish.com
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