If you have ‘pandemic burnout’ you are not alone
Pandemic burnout is on the rise.
It’s been a long year.
If you are feeling a little low energy and not like your usual self, you are definitely not alone.
Most people I’ve spoken to in the last few weeks are feeling that way too.
Pandemic burnout is something we all need to understand.
Why we’re burnt out now
Burnout is a medical and psychological term for what happens when you’ve reached your limits, mentally, emotionally and physically.
We’ve all needed to do a lot of adapting in the last 12 months.
Keeping on top of what is happening during the pandemic can feel like another ‘job’ on top of whatever else we need to do each day.
We’ve been absorbing and processing a lot of bad news for a long period of time.
Even if you can count yourself lucky in a lot of ways, that doesn’t mean that everything’s fine.
Managing change and emotions like shock, fear, sadness and guilt takes a lot of energy.
Supporting family, friends and colleagues who are having a hard time is ’emotional labour’ and it’s draining.
Mental, emotional and physical signs
- You don’t want to get out of bed
- It’s hard to concentrate
- You’ve lost motivation
- You feel achy and tired
- Your stomach is bloated
- You’re having trouble sleeping
- You’re turning to food, alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better
What are you dependent on?
When you’re burnt out you need something to get yourself through the day.
I’m going to be honest here and say that I rarely have a day when I don’t have coffee or chocolate.
I have a filter coffee most mornings, and one or two days a week I treat myself to a Flat White from my favourite coffee shop which is still open, thankfully.
I drink alcohol sometimes. I really enjoy a glass of wine or a gin and tonic, though I often just have tonic water with lots of ice as a pick-me-up. I find alcohol affects my sleep so I have to keep it to a minimum.
I’ve watched more TV in the last year than I have in the last ten years. (Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience and Queer Eye have kept me positive and sane.)
Carbs are one of the joys in my life, but I realise that if I find myself reaching for them throughout the day, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong.
If I’m not taking care of myself, I will reach for the things on that list more often.
I’m sharing because I want you to know that I’m not judging you and you are definitely not alone. 🙂
But maybe, like me, you can use them as a signpost.
If you find that you’re becoming dependent on them, or if you feel they are a prop that’s not really working, it could be time to try something different.
Blood tests can be useful
If you are experiencing fatigue, it is worth asking your GP for blood tests to check and ‘rule out’ the following:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- B12 deficiency
- Iron deficiency
- Low thyroid
Private blood tests can also be useful as wider indicators of your overall health. [Related post: Blood tests can tell you a lot]
Tip: Pick ONE thing
If you’re ready to take some action to help yourself recover from burnout, start small.
Don’t try and change all your habits at once.
Pick one issue to focus on and write a list of all the things you could do to support yourself.
Lists are a great tool, especially if you incorporate them into a weekly and monthly plan and review cycle. [Related post: A helpful list for your new month]
Then decide one or two small things you can do today.
Feeling sluggish? Go for a walk in the morning and again in the afternoon.
Hard to concentrate? Turn off your phone for a few hours, or even longer.
Low mood? Stop reading the news completely. Watch something that makes you laugh.
Achy and tired? Have a bath and an early night.
Feeling bloated? Eat a carrot. Or grate it and add olive oil and lemon.
Trouble sleeping? Drink chamomile tea and put lavender on your pillow before bed.
Make it easy to do
When you’ve decided on the change you want to make, do everything you can to make it nicer and easier to do.
Write it down, add it to your calendar, stick up a post-it note, tell someone to remind you or nag you. 🙂
Try to make it into a new habit if you can. [Related post: How to create a calming self-care routine]
Reward yourself when you do it.
Rewarding yourself could be as simple as:
- Telling someone
- Writing it in your journal
- Ticking it off on a list or chart
- Making a note on your calendar
A few more ways to be kind to yourself
This is not an original list, but maybe there’s something here that speaks to you.
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Spray your room with essential oils, or burn them in a diffuser
- Light candles and tea lights in the morning to start your day
- Buy a mister and plant food for your plants and watch them flourish
- Start a journal and write a few notes in it each day
- Use a daily self-care app (Shine is my favourite app for this)
- Cut up magazines and make a vision board
- Buy a colouring book and pens or draw
- Declutter your photos and make albums with happy memories
- Book a time for a catch-up call with a close friend
- Write postcards to people you care about and post them
- Take a long bath and apply body lotion afterwards
- Take supplements daily (put them somewhere you won’t forget)
- Make a nourishing meal plan (Veg Every Day is my favourite recipe book of all time)
- Listen to uplifting music or comedy on headphones while you cook
- Clean and declutter one area of your home that’s bugging you
- Pick a yoga video and do it daily until you are ready for a new one
None of these things will make the pandemic go away, but I hope they may help just a little.
Help for skin, hair, hormones and sleep
Physical health problems I’ve been seeing alongside burnout include:
- Skin breakouts
- Hair loss
- Irregular periods
- Hot flushes
Stress affects the adrenals and this affects your skin, hair and hormones in all kinds of ways. [Related post: Hormones are not to blame for your period problems]
If you’ve been experiencing problems with your skin, hair, hormones or sleep, this is likely why.
If you also have a history of antibiotics, birth control or other medication, this will have affected your gut which means the impact is far greater.
This is not something you can easily fix with self-help.
Your GP may suggest birth control, antibiotics, steroids, anti-depressants, hormone replacement treatment or other medication such as roaccutane.
A different approach
A homeopathy consultation is not like a visit to a doctor or consultant.
First consultations are 90 minutes long and we focus entirely on you.
It’s a calm, warm, confidential space for us to talk about your physical, mental and emotional symptoms.
Homeopathy and homeobotanicals are prescribed for you as an individual.
When I evaluate your current symptoms I look for underlying causes that include:
- The impact of shock and trauma
- Side effects of past medication
- Nutrition and gut health
I create a personal treatment plan that includes:
- Homeopathic medicines – sourced from Helios Pharmacy
- Homebotanicals – organic herbs that I custom blend for you
- Nutritional advice – dietary changes and selected supplements
- Support and information – you are understood and empowered
Steady and lasting change
Homeopathy works best as a course of monthly sessions.
The first couple of follow up sessions will need to be an hour, but then we can usually move to shorter sessions.
I expect to see steady improvement from the beginning.
Your course of treatment will depend on how long you have been unwell, so it’s hard to predict.
Many people see significant improvement within six months, but a year is also common.
This is not because homeopathy is slow, but rather because the body needs time to heal itself.
Recovery is a journey
The first step is to acknowledge your burnout and that you are in need of extra kindness and care.
Recognise how you are feeling is normal and you are not alone.
- What do I want to stop doing?
- What do I want to start doing?
- What do I need to adjust?
Then take it from there.
Recovery from burnout is a journey, and it starts with a small step.
What will yours be?