Tag: Health

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout

avoid burnout

One of the more interesting things I’ve spent time doing is working as a Health Coach for college campuses. In this role, I worked directly with employees as a benefit of their health insurance. The programming varies, however there were very few sessions that didn’t eventually mention stress. College campuses are full of people who deeply care about their work, but they have very limited resources including time. This can lead to exhaustion as well as feeling undervalued, disrespected, and even hopelessness if left unchecked.

We Need People Looking Out for Us

In late October there was a video released of an interview with Meghan Markel (wife of Prince Harry, new mom to Archie) discussing adjusting to her new life. Tom Bradby, the interviewer brought up some concerns Harry mentioned in a previous conversation. His concern for the dynamics surrounding his wife and the press are public, but I believe for many this video humanized Meghan in a new way.

Here is part of the transcript:

“It’s obviously an area one has to tiptoe into very gently,” he added, before asking her what the impact had been “on your physical and mental health of all the pressure that you clearly feel under?”

Meghan replied: “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable.

“So that was made really challenging and then when you have a newborn … especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot.

“So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed.”

Asked by Bradby how she was coping, Meghan said: “Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m ok.

“But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Bradby then added: “And the answer is, would it be fair to say, not really ok? That it’s really been a struggle?”

To which Meghan replied: “Yes.”

Vulnerability = Courage

Meghan’s willingness to answer honestly with a simple yes shifted the dynamics in significant ways. And if Princess Meghan Markel can be honest for the world to watch on repeat the dangit why can’t we? When asked questions like are you ok? Do you say yes or do are you still trying to convince yourself asking for help is failing? The strong thing to do is to grin and bear it right? Suck it up Buttercup! NO!!

HERE’S THE THING: No one is perfect. No one is invincible and No one is able to grin and bear life alone.

We are not meant to live life alone and we are not created to walk through hard seasons by ourselves. But if we tell everyone we are fine or stay silent when we are in hard seasons how can we expect others to know how to step up and surround us when we need them?

We Will Burnout Attempting Life Alone

Whether we are trying to muscle through work or personal challenges it’s important to pause and recognize that our choice is unnecessary. There are people surrounding every one of us that would happily help if they only knew how they could be helpful.

As coaches’ wives, ministry wives, and military wives we already carry a heavy load when our husbands are in their busy seasons at work. When football season hits I know that we are all going to have to step up and do a little more each day to just keep the house running at the bare minimum.

It takes longer to complete the workday because there are more interruptions for errands. Cleaning and laundry happen more frequently because we are all attending more events and the clutter piles up quicker. It’s harder to cook because some days we are hungrier and other days a surprise keeps someone away for dinner. In between everything, there are fewer days to rest and reset and this is a recipe for burnout if we ignore things for too long.

One Key Way to Avoid Burnout is to Connect with Your Community

This doesn’t have to require you to ask people to run errands for you or to leave your kids with them. Try going for coffee with a girlfriend to decompress rather than stress eating. Do you have to redecorate a room? Take that stylish friend with you who always looks put together. Her eye will catch things yours won’t and I guarantee she will show you a few new secrets about local sales too!

When you have hit your limit throw up the white flag and wave it until someone comes to relieve you, and when you are not in the middle of the crazy months be sure to look around and do the same for your fellow coaches’ wives, ministry wives and military wives.

Find your tribe and trust them with your hardest moments. Tell them that you need prayer even when you can’t explain why. Your tribe will understand and they will rally.

Above all, when you can, seize opportunities for extended time away where you can allow others to speak over you and life-giving truths. Take advantage of weekend trips with your husband, your girlfriends, and time alone when you can figure that out.

You will serve your family, your job, and your ministry better after some time away to recalibrate. How do I know? Because I do this fairly regularly and it hasn’t failed yet.

Resources

You know I’m not going to leave you without resources!

Midwest coaches’ wives! Check out this upcoming Retreat JUST FOR YOU! Come hear how several coaches’ wives are pursuing their callings and how you can pursue yours as we focus on our theme verse: Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

Early Bird Pricing won’t last forever!

If you aren’t able to make it to our event here are a few other options to consider:

Spiritual Retreats at Catholic and Jesuit Conference centers are available at almost any length and design you can image and pay for including with counseling from a Spiritual Director.

General Retreats are advertised from around the world here.

Hop on Travelocity or Hotels.com and book a hotel or spa!

Looking for another event with a Spiritual component? I’m headed to St. Louis April 4th for Biblical Theology Workshop for Women with Nancie Guthrie

Hypothyroidism…blood test results

Hypothyroidism…blood test results

living with hypothroidism

Earlier this month I had a semi routine blood drawn done.  I hadn’t been feeling great and my doctor decided to check to see if my thyroid was balanced.  I think we were both to get the results.  My thyroid was balanced (and I’ve been feeling fine so it must of just been some exhaustion to fight) and for the first time since February 2014 at least my A1C was completely in the NORMAL RANGE!!

I did not have my A1C checked prior to 2014, although while pregnant in 2006 it was fine.  Sometime between 2006 and 2014 my A1C bumped into the insulin resistant/pre-diabetic range.  I have a sweet tooth and I’ve tried to avoid artificial sweeteners because there really isn’t much positive to read about them.  As I’ve tried to curb the sweets reserving treats for celebrations and certain times of the month I’ve seen the weight drop and my cravings drop, but the numbers remained the same.

I can only explain my new found blood ranges as a result of prayer, sticking with eating less sweets and a lot of exercise.  My doctor even seemed surprised.

The results of this latest blood draw has given me a new perspective.

  1. For the first time in a very very long time I have stopped waiting for quality of life to become even more compromised and instead have become even more focused on keeping my A1C in range.  Less and less sugar, increased workouts including heavier weights.
  2. I’ve begun thinking about the future more.  What will life be like in 10 or more years?  I’m no longer assuming needles, insulin and full blown diabetes is a given for me.

If you are also fighting hypothyroidism I CAN.NOT stress enough how vital quality health care is to your sustained health.

Further reading: The two BIG Problems with typical thyroid treatment Part 1 and Part 2

Balance Beams, Spoons, and permission to say no

Balance Beams, Spoons, and permission to say no

 

Have you read the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino?  I stumbled across it the other day and although she is writing about lupus I couldn’t help but nod along feeling as if words for my recent life had just been gifted to me.

The spoon theory, very quickly, is a visual explanation of how the thousands of people in the world balance daily life with chronic illness.  For me, this has played out several ways, with the same results.

For many years I would move through my list of tasks as quickly as I could each day.  I often found that my energy would be zapped when it came to finally giving energy to my kids each afternoon.  This would start the cycle of guilt and frustration.  I’d over compensate the next time I had energy and would neglect cleaning which would then leave me feeling guilty and overwhelmed with tasks.   It took me a long time to figure out that pushing myself to exhaustion was not the best way to go about things.  The spoon analogy would have been helpful back then!

For me, hypothyroidism is something I can ignore one day and be consumed by the next.  When my medicine is at the correct dose and I have gotten enough sleep I can handle a busy day without much concern about napping.  When my dose is off, I’ve not slept or I’ve had several crazy days in a row I have learned the hard way that I need to extend myself the grace to take a day off.

Now that my boys are in school full days and can independently entertain themselves for a few hours life has gotten easier, but the reality is that the laundry never ends and everyone needs to be fed every day.  Priorities need to be shuffled around at times when my exhaustion is at it’s highest with a triage type attitude. When I don’t rest I will find myself with headaches, brain fog and getting ill.

In her book For The Love Jen Hatmaker talks about tasks sitting on a balance beam.  She encourages women to take things off the beam that really don’t need to be there.  For me, things like PTA meetings at 7pm, volunteering to help people who add stress to my life and even certain jobs have been things I’ve had to say no to or “take off my beam”.

When it comes to organizing my daily “spoons” I’ve found Corie Clark’s Purposeful Planner to be the best resource for keeping me going one week at a time. The lay out of each hour for the day being assigned a task even if it’s “rest” gives me the freedom to say no when extra commitments pop up.   This isn’t to say I’ve got giant gaps of time in my days.  Between balancing work, online classes, ministry, devotions, cooking, cleaning, exercise, shopping, being a mom and wife and the occasional fun thing like reading I’ve found that scheduling my days out ensures I actually get everything done.

My goal has always been to never have to say “I’m to tired to help, or be present”. Being too sick to go someplace, help or be present has in past years been reserved for my family. Today, it is reserved for times when I am forced to say it.  My priorities now start with family and health. This means my “spoons” for other people are severely limited.  Unfortunately, saying no is the only way to keep my priorities balanced and my health intact.

I used to think having to say no made me a bad friend.  I used to think that if others were told no that I didn’t have the right to ask for help myself.   I’ve come to realize that we all live our lives with a fist full of spoons, it’s just that for some that pile is smaller than for others.  On the days I have more spoons I can do more, and on the days I have less spoons I trust my friends and family will extend me the grace to rest up for another day.

What I realize today is that having to learn to balance my priorities actually makes me a better friend, employee, wife and mother because I reserve energy to be present with each encounter regardless of how infrequently they occur.