Let’s talk about Sara. Sara was going along, doing okay, sleeping okay, maintaining a healthy weight, appreciating her body, learning to care for herself, to say no, and set important boundaries. Then out of nowhere, life threw Sara not one but several curve balls. Now, she is overwhelmed, burnt out, and cannot sleep.
Maybe you can relate to this scenario? You are dog-tired, can’t sleep through the night, are experiencing night sweats, intense carbohydrate cravings, and your once happy demeanour has been replaced with low-grade irritability. If you’re in your late 40s or early 50s, chances are you’re beginning to feel the squeeze of caring for aging parents, holding down a full-time job, and often providing guidance to your young adult children. You may be the one who is responsible for those emergency calls—visits to the hospital, multiple doctors’ visits, and caring for a grieving parent. You may even be grieving yourself. It’s all too much. And to put the icing on the cake—you enter peri-menopause or menopause.
Let’s get back to Sara. She is now running on fumes and down on herself because she can’t seem to “get it together”. She begins to drink more alcohol, eat more sugar, and is having increasing difficulty with sleep. She may even be using Gravol or Nyquil to get sleep. Her body isn’t responding well to this stress and she just wishes she could whip herself into shape—work out more—eat healthier. She looks for anything to fix herself. The truth is there is nothing wrong with Sara. She is simply burnt out and her hormones are freaking out. Whipping herself into shape is the last thing Sara needs to do! In fact, another To-do list isn’t what she needs at all.
If you can relate to any of this, I want you to know you are not alone. I believe by the end of this article you will have some hope. I am going to offer some suggestions that you can add gradually to your life that in time will save you time, increase your energy, and help you gently move to a lesser state of stress. Don’t worry it’s not another hardcore To-do list. Just some TLC you can give yourself when you are stressed and your body is crying out for help.
Gentle TLC When You are Burnt Out
Okay—here is what I teach my clients. Self-care means putting into place a few things that will nurture your body. It doesn’t mean setting crazy unrealistic goals that involve following a diet which requires 10 hours in the kitchen; or working-out in the gym 5 days a week. Nor does it involve making lists every day. You need some down time. And down time isn’t the time to make lists. It’s the time to carve out a break for yourself. Here are 10 things that involve little effort but will make a huge difference to how you feel on a daily basis. If you are overwhelmed, just choose one thing from the list and stick to it. This is not a time to judge yourself. It’s time to be as gentle with yourself as possible.
Choose one thing that when you do it will have the biggest impact on your week.
1. If healthy eating is one of your goals, then choose one recipe that you can bulk-cook on the weekend and then prepare and serve yourself in 20 min or less throughout the week.
2. If moving your body is a goal, then leave your desk at lunchtime and walk for 10 minutes, 3 times during the week. Keep it simple and doable. This isn’t the time to take a spin class.
3. Add one protein shake to your day at 3 pm. You can purchase it or make your own, whatever works for you. Having a protein shake mid-afternoon will give you a healthy energy boost at the end of the day. It will help your adrenal glands and reduce any end of day sugar cravings.
4. Shut down screens at 10 pm and read a book—not a story that will increase your adrenaline—but an interesting book that has a calming effect.
5. Add Magnesium Glycinate to your dinner. 350 mg is the upper limit for magnesium but a healthcare provider may recommend more. Magnesium can help calm you down at the end of the day. Small sidebar here—a few women have a nervous reaction to magnesium so add it slowly—it’s not for everyone and dosage matters.
6. Talk to a healthcare practitioner about taking supplements like a good B-complex, fish oil, ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, schisandra and holy basil. Again, there are many different supplements out there and some of them have contraindications to medications—it’s very important to ask your doc or pharmacist if supplements are right for you.
7. Add some Himalayan salt to your meals (unless you’ve been told by your doctor to avoid salt for high blood pressure).
8. Join a support group or make a concerted effort to meet with friends once a week. I don’t mean all your friends but meet with someone at least once a week. This is hugely important and will help your serotonin levels. Again, do not meet with someone who sucks the life out of you. You are looking for someone gentle and compassionate and it doesn’t hurt if they have an awesome sense of humour. Laughter is incredible medicine.
9. Stretch your body before bed. You can do it while watching your favourite show. Just gently stretch those very tight muscles. Many beginner videos online can help with this. Yes—Google it 🙂
10. If you have insomnia please get help. I didn’t sleep for 2 years when I was burnt out. You can read my story here. Plenty of practitioners can help. Bio-identical hormones work for some women, and mindfulness mediation for others. Find out what works for you. Talk to a practitioner who understands life-style changes that help with burnout. If you want to talk to someone who has lived through burnout, and who can help you get off the hamster wheel, please don’t hesitate to Book a Free Discovery Call here.
To take a healing journey, which focuses on gentle changes that won’t stress you out, I recommend checking out my FREE eBook 5 Hormone Fixes for Successful Weight loss. It’s more than just an eBook. I will follow up with you suggesting you make 1-2 changes a week to balance your hormones that may ultimately help you lose hormone weight if that’s one of your goals. You will learn how to balance the 5 major hormones that cause the most trouble for women over 40. The information is designed for tired, burnt out women with busy lives.
Remember, it’s okay to feel not okay. You are human and you deserve to give yourself a break.
My Best, Kelly aka Nutrigal