Does it take you hours to fall asleep? Do you need a drink to relax in the evening? Do you no longer feel like waking up in the morning? Those might be the signs you are burning out or need a life change. Here is how you can re-connect with yourself and restore balance.
We often wait until it’s too late to admit we are not ok. We wait until we gain 20 kg, have a stroke, have a spouse leave us or loose sleep.
This happens because we lose the connection with ourselves. We try and please everyone around – make our boss happy, please our partner, meet the expectations of our parents and friends. In a race to have a successful career, be a good partner, parent, child and reliable friend, we forget about ourselves.
Learn to check in with yourself and audit your needs
To avoid depression, anxiety and burnout - learn how to check in with yourself regularly. The best way to do that is to learn how to meditate. While you don't have to lock yourself away in silence for 10 days, like I did, you can learn to develop the awareness of your thoughts, feelings and your body by regularly re-connecting with your breath.
Yoga is another great example. Once you learn how to stay in touch with yourself, check in regularly if you are ok.
When was the last time you laughed? Do you have a sense of purpose? Do you feel loved?
What if you hit rock bottom?
If you are in crisis already, it might feel big and scary. You might not even know where to start. Break it down to the level of basic needs.
I love Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a simple framework to aid that. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Where is the biggest gap for you? Do you have a few?
Once you pin down which needs you are failing to fulfil, take some time to admit to yourself what are the implications if you continue the way you do.
If what you see is bigger and scarier than the change you need to make to your life, that means it’s time for a new chapter.
Designing a new chapter is a whole other story. You can read about it in this post. Realising you need a change might not be the hardest thing in fixing you not being ok. Resisting all others telling you are ok, when you are not, is.
"Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change." Tony Robbins
Why do others keep insisting that you are ok?
They say you are ok because they need you. Your boss and your colleagues might tell you that you need to take a break or manage your boundaries better. They might suggest moving teams, taking up more responsibility, exciting new project or a pay rise.
As enticing as it may sound it is a temporary fix that won’t last long. Just like putting a cheap plaster on a deep wound that needs a bondage.
Your boss will try and talk you out whatever you are thinking if pursuing not because you are indispensable. Unless you are Einstein of course. No matter how awesome you are, there is someone else who is as good or even better.
The reason your boss will try and stop you from quitting your job to pursue what you love is they want to avoid the inconvenience that might cause.
The inconvenience of telling the team you are leaving, the inconvenience of finding someone in your place. The inconvenience of getting used to working with the new person.
Your family or your partner likely need you as well. For different reasons. Whatever you have in your mind that you think might make you a happier person means change. Not just for yourself, but for everyone else around you. Your spouse, partner, even friends.
Truth is, everyone thinks about themselves first. And if you are planning to change your life, those around you will not be happy with that.
Even if they know that change is exactly what you need.
You know you are not ok, now what?
Trust your gut and take a leap of faith. There are no guarantees in life regardless of which path you chose. You might choose the safest path and have a brick fall onto your head to kill you.
You might as well take the risk and live the life you want.
Bosses, parents, friends, a partner can of course be helpful. But sometimes it’s important to take some time and space away to really reconnect with your voice and cut through all the noise of everyone else’s expectations.
You know exactly what’s right for you. It might be buried deep inside, or you might refuse to listen because it might not be the easiest way. But you know.
And once you face it, regardless of how hard or scary the step you need to make to move closer to being happy, you need to collect all that energy and courage to trust yourself and leap.
It will be ok. Your first step to being happy again.
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