The #1 Cause of Overwhelm & Burnout

The #1 Cause of Overwhelm & Burnout

The #1 cause of overwhelm & burnout

The #1 cause of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, is because we don’t give ourselves permission to slow down.

We sooo easily give permission to others to slow down, but rarely do it for ourselves. Myself included.

And this is a hard lesson I’ve had to learn this past fortnight.

I’ve had big tasks that needed to be done and accomplished according to my very tight schedule.

But this fortnight the energy of the universe was not on my side. Whether it was a combination of the full moon, PMS-ing or having a dog who suddenly developed an affinity for being a poohead – I just wasn’t in the right mindset to be productive or motivated or get work done.

Initially, I fought it.

Because I had a tonne of work to do and if I got one day behind, then my entire schedule went ka-poot!

  • So I became increasingly more stressed when I wasn’t able to get my big to-do list ticked off and I was running more and more behind schedule.
  • Then I felt super overwhelmed because I was shoving in more jobs in one day than I could possibly handle and the fact I wasn’t completing them was making me feel like a failure.
  • And then having a huge list of to-do’s that weren’t scheduled made me feel scattered and even more stressed.
  • And then anxious that I was behind…and then snappy…and emotional…and super easily frustrated and irritated.
  • …and super exhausted.

And that’s not the business and life I want.

I didn’t start a business to feel like I’m pushing a boulder up a hill all the time.

I created a business to be free and enjoy my life…and this week has not been that.

So, instead of feeling super stressed trying to now reach unachievable deadlines…

  • I’ve given myself permission to take a break.
  • I’ve given myself permission to listen to my body and it’s needs.
  • I’ve given myself permission to slow down.

I’ve rejigged my calendar and pushed my brand spanking new program back 4 weeks so that I know I can take time off to look after myself and feel calm, organised and in control again.

Because I’m the one in control of my business so there are no hard and fast deadlines I must meet.

I’m the only in control of how I feel and run my business and my life.

  • I won’t sacrifice weekends spent with friends and relaxing to hustle and get jobs done. 
  • I won’t sacrifice feeling calm, and happy and organised just to avoid *letting myself down* with a deadline I set for myself. 
  • And I won’t sacrifice the passion and inspiration and motivation I feel for my business and the work I do, at the expense of working myself into the ground to achieve a goal I had originally set for myself.

You are a human being, so give yourself permission to be a human being.

You’ll have crap days and crap weeks where it’s way more beneficial to curl into a ball and cry or spend the entire Tuesday at the beach, than it is to push yourself to work when your body and mind are screaming out not to.

Give yourself permission to adjust and rejig and create new goals that help you live the life you want now.

It’s more than okay to slow down and you’ll be more productive and motivated if you give yourself a break.

Because if you keep pushing and working hard and against what your body and mind need from you right now, you’ll be on a one way train to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and eventually burnt out.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut and sick of feeling overwhelmed, scattered, irritable and exhausted, then click here to book in a free discovery call with me and let’s get you feeling energised, calm, motivated and in control again.

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System

Your In-Built Anxiety Alarm System:

The Symptoms That Tell You When Your Anxiety Is About To Flare

What if you could have alarm bells that tell you when your anxiety is about to appear? So the instant you hear them, you can quickly stop your anxiety before it even has the chance to show up.

Lucky for you – you do.

You have an inbuilt alarm system of symptoms that show up before your anxiety will – days and months in advance.

Unfortunately, these in built alarm bells don’t help you out with the anxiety you experience before going on a first date, asking your boss for a raise or before sitting an exam.

But these inbuilt alarm bells do help you to know when that random anxiety might show up. Or when you might experience anxiety with your usual every day life.

Your body will give you a bunch of symptoms to scream out at you “SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT”. If you ignore those symptoms, then anxiety will eventually manifest.

If you’re wanting to know what those inbuilt alarm bells are – the symptoms that tell you anxiety might be on the way – then this episode is for you.

Download the podast episode from your fav podcast platform or hit play below.

Want the weekly check-in I use to monitor how my health is going to know if anxiety is lurking in the shadows?

Pop your details in below and it’ll be in your inbox in a jiffy.

Anxiety Weekly Check in

Today’s episode we are talking about your:

In-built anxiety alarm system

Today I want to talk to you about how to listen to your body. How to listen to your symptoms and know which symptoms are an in-built alarm system that tell you when your anxiety is about to flare. And it might not just be anxiety that’s going to flare, it could bring depression along for the ride and that makes for a really crappy party of the 3 of you.

The thing is, your body and all your body systems don’t work in isolation.

  • Your gut influences your brain and mood and your brain and mood influence your gut.
  • Your hormones influence your mood and your mood can influence your hormones.

All your body systems are interconnected, and they all influence one another. There are just certain body systems that will manifest symptoms earlier than others.

When it comes to anxiety,  there are certain symptoms that you should be watchful of.

When these symptoms start to pop up, it’s a big red flag that you’re heading in the wrong direction and if you don’t do something about it, anxiety is gonna pop up in all it’s anger and glory.

I don’t mean just knowing “I’m stressed” or knowing that you’re feeling antsy, on edge, uneasy or any of those anxiety symptoms.

I’m talking about the symptoms before the anxiety symptoms show up.

If I listened to my body and identified these symptoms when they first popped up, I wouldn’t have disregarded them and brushed them off like they’re nothing. I wouldn’t have ignored them, because the anxiety that came out the other side was bad. Like really really bad.

Lying in bed in foetal position just wanting my anxiety to go the hell away. Wishing I could press a button and just feel at peace. It was the first time I ever wanted something that would make me feel numb. And that was a scary thought in itself.

So the biggest lesson I learnt was: Don’t. Ignore. The. Symptoms.

The symptoms that are the signs that something nasty is coming. Right now you’re at an advantage because you can recognise these symptoms and do something about them before the anxiety shows up.

 

alarm bell #1: Energiser-bunny energy

About 3 months before my anxiety arrived I was mildly stressed. I had a lot on my plate and I thought I could handle it all.

It was that motivating kind of stress, the one where I was flooded with adrenaline and turned into the energiser bunny getting everything done.

That was symptom number 1, where small moments of stress turn into ongoing stress. And that ongoing stress, turns into feeling like you’re running on adrenaline. It may seem great in the moment and you’re thankful for all the extra motivating energy, but that adrenaline is not healthy when it’s constantly being released.

The fact you’re relying on adrenaline for energy is bad because that means your own energy stores have run out and you’re using your adrenals to fuel your everyday life. This isn’t good or healthy for your body.

That feeling of running on adrenaline and buzzing around on what feels like ‘feel good stress‘ – is not a feel good stress response and is the first sign I want you to watch out for.

It’s a sign that you need to dial it back and prioritise self care time to recharge your batteries and get rid of your adrenaline. That adrenaline needs to be reigned back in and you need to give your body a chance to slow down. It will feel like you’re going against the grain, but the quicker you reign it in, the easier it is to prevent your anxiety from showing up.

alarm bell #2: headaches 

Symptom number 2 came in the form of headaches.

You may be someone who gets stress headaches and this is a fantastic sign that your body is struggling with your current life load.

Or you may be someone who hasn’t connected those dots before.

Headaches pop up for a number of reasons and a lot of them are the precursor to anxiety.

  • One: stress can cause tightness around your neck and shoulders which causes headaches. That uncontrolled stress will morph into anxiety if it isn’t reigned in.
  • Two: inflammation in the body and dehydration also cause headaches, and both inflammation and dehydration trigger your stress response which leads to anxiety. Inflammation also has the nasty effect that it stops your brain from making your feel good and calming neurotransmitter serotonin (the brain chemical which makes you feel calm and happy).
  • Three: high histamine can trigger your headaches. To me, this ones the worst because histamine can directly cause anxiety. Histamine isn’t just part of an allergic or hayfever reaction making your eyes and nose itchy and runny. Histamine is also an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and when lots of histamine is made, it can cause anxiety and depression.

Headaches are a big sign that you need to slow down and give yourself some rest before it gets any worse and anxiety appears.

     

     

    alarm bell #3: changes to your period

    Symptom number 3 is changes to your period.

    This can be:

    • Your period coming late or totally skipping your period
    • Period cramps
    • Breast tenderness
    • Feeling extra tired at your period

    If your period suddenly changes, your hormones have changed and become out of balance. Your hormones are supposed to fluctuate throughout your cycle, but if you didn’t ovulate you won’t have enough progesterone and your oestrogen can become too high.

    This change to your hormones causes all those symptoms: late period, skipped period, period cramps, breast tenderness, or fatigue around your period.

    Why is this an important symptom for anxiety?

    Well your hormones influence your mood.

    If you aren’t ovulating, then you’re not making any beautiful progesterone which is your anti-anxiety hormone. Progesterone boosts the GABA effect in your brain to make you feel calm.

    When your body is stressed or out of whack, it messes with your hormones and stops you from ovulating which alters your period and the symptoms you get around your period. This change to your hormones messes with your mood and increases your risk of experiencing anxiety and having a super emotional and irritable period.

    A period that’s out of whack is always a big sign for me that something is out of balance in the body.

    The most common reason is stress. Stress tells your body it’s not safe to have a baby right now, so it changes the signal from your brain to your ovaries telling you to ovulate and have a healthy cycle. No ovulation = no progesterone. No progesterone = anxiety.

    So, that buzzing feel-good energy you were experiencing initially is starting to take a toll on your hormones, and that high histamine that caused your headaches is increasing your oestrogen levels throwing your hormones out of whack and your period out of whack.

    The end result? You lose your beautiful progesterone and get one step closer to feeling anxious.

       

      alarm bell #4: problems sleeping

      After the buzzing energy, the headaches and your out of whack period comes the changes to your sleep.

      When your hormones and neurotransmitters change, they lose track of when they’re supposed to be high to give you energy and low to allow you to sleep. The end result = your excitatory, stimulating neurotransmitters and hormones are high at night time when they should be low to let you sleep.

      • This ends up making it really hard to fall asleep, resulting in you being awake for hours.
      • Or it could also mean you wake during the night around 2-3am and you may be up for hours if your mind starts going.

      A big reason for this is a lack of GABA.

      Your neurotransmitter GABA is what keeps you asleep at night. GABA is also your calm, anti-anxiety neurotransmitter.

      Your lack of GABA is impacting your sleep. But that lack of GABA will also start to make you feel anxious, too.

      If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s time to look into why and get it sorted, as sleep is soooooo important to heal your body and mind to prevent anxiety from appearing.

       

       

      alarm bell #5: fatigue

      If you ignore the adrenaline buzzing feel-good energy, the headaches, struggling to sleep and your odd period, you might not ignore this next one.

      Fatigue.

      And I’m not talking about feeling sooo tired you could fall asleep on the spot. I’m talking about more subtle fatigue.

      • It’s where you’ve slept great but you still feel exhausted the next day.
      • It’s the feeling where your eyes are heavy to open in the morning but you might feel fine during the day.
      • Or it could be where you make it through all morning just dandy, but after lunch it’s a physical effort to finish your work.
      • It could even be that your physical energy is totally fine, like you could go run 5km and have energy to spare, but you’re head is so heavy. Like there is this grey thick, foggy wall in your mind and it takes physical energy to try to get through it to find your thoughts on the other side. Aka. brain fog.

      You just want to sit there and close your eyes because your mind is so tired that it just doesn’t want to think anymore. Like your brain is a blank canvas, and you have to use energy to go searching for words. Fatigue can show up in various ways, it may be just one or it could be a combo of both mental and physical fatigue.

      But this fatigue is incredibly important to pay attention to.

      This fatigue has set in because your adrenaline supplies are running really low. By this point, your body can’t make any natural energy anymore so you’ve been running on adrenaline alone with some histamine thrown in to try to keep you awake.

      This combo of only running off adrenaline and histamine causes symptoms such as:

      • A racing heart despite how exhausted you feel.
      • You may struggle to get a really deep and nourishing breath of air
      • Your chest may start to feel really tight
      • Your thoughts may begin to swirl around in chaos in your head.

      This is especially the case if you have oodles of energy to burn in your physical body, but your mind is too exhausted to think with any kind of clarity.

      I implore you with all my heart: pay attention to this.

      Although you’re feeling tired, this is where anxiety so, so, so easily sneaks up. You’re right at the edge of the cliff here, and one wrong step can push you over the edge where anxiety shows up in full force.

      If your body is relying on adrenaline and histamine to keep you functioning each day, anxiety will be an unfortunate side effect of these hormones and neurotransmitters. Because adrenaline puts you into that fight or flight response and kick-starts your brain into chaos. They’re allowing you to have energy, but they’re also causing you to feel anxious, have a racing heart and a tightness in your chest.

      if you ignore all alarm bells…

      you’ll eventually run out of adrenaline.

      • You’re motivation will plummet
      • You’ll feel so fatigued and exhausted
      • And you’ll begin to feel numb, apathetic, and like a total shell of yourself
      • You may struggle to feel or express emotions,

      This is where secondary depression shows up. It’s depression that’s appeared because your anxiety has drained your body and mind dry and you’re exhausted.

      Any of these symptoms from the buzzing energy, to getting headaches, skipping your period or feeling fatigued could come on slowly or hit you in the blink of an eye.

      My biggest challenge to you is watch out for these symptoms and signs, because they are your inbuilt anxiety alarm system to tell you that you’re heading down the wrong tunnel and the light at the end of that tunnel isn’t peace, it’s anxiety.

       

       

      weekly anxiety report card 

      I have a handy trick of the trade for you.

      My absolute favourite way to keep track of these symptoms is a rating system I created after I plummeted into the depths of anxiety back in early 2019.

      Our lives are busy, and it’s easy to forget to take note of your health to know how you’re doing.

      We subconsciously brush symptoms aside all the time – I know I sure do. Especially when we have so much going on in our lives and a late period or extra energy don’t seem like a big deal.

      I have a checklist I go through and rate my health at the end of every week to see what areas I’ve been slipping on so I can quickly get myself back on track and avoid feeling anxious.

      Download this weekly check list, grab your diary and write a reminder or set an alarm that goes off at the same time every week. It could be 9am or 6pm every Sunday – whatever time is best for you to pause and reflect and not be disturbed.

      Pop in your diary and phone to go through this weekly check in and rate how you’ve been feeling for that week:

      • How your energy is
      • How your sleep has been going
      • If you’ve had any headaches
      • How tight your muscles are
      • When your period came or any period related symptoms that popped up

      Rate each week to see where your health is dropping and quickly get on top of it before it has the chance to morph and manifest into anxiety.

       

      Are you living your life for you?

      Are you living your life for you?

      ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE FOR YOU?

      I grew up in an extremely science-based family so my brain operated on logics and not intuition. I preferred maths, human biology and chemistry due to the black and white nature, and struggled to understand English and Social Sciences as I viewed them as ‘grey’ subjects (aka. you’re never 100% sure what the right answer is). In English class, I’d try so hard to write my essays based on what I thought the teacher wanted, not what I felt pulled to discuss or passionate about.

      That is how I lived my life.

      Not just in English, but all areas.

      Every decision I made was based on what I thought society wanted.

      I should have clear skin.
      I should be petite.
      I should wear fashionable clothes.
      I should ooze confidence.
      I should be glamorous and beautifully made up.
      I should eat salads.
      I should, I should, I should….

      I was a serial ‘should’-er.

      The sad thing was, this belief was so ingrained in me, that I had no idea who I was anymore or what I wanted. I only ever knew what society wanted and the lines between me and society became seriously blurred. I never consciously realised it was happening, but I was never truly happy.

      I’d get nervous and worried every time I did something, because I was waiting in anticipation for how the world would see me.

      The only time I remember feeling utterly blissfully free and exuding bucket loads of confidence, was when I was travelling alone. I was standing in the middle of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, and completely surrounded by total strangers who (I soon realised) would never see me again. Once that comprehension hit, I relaxed. I stopped second guessing my actions, thoughts and emotions.

      I was just me. It’s like I was hit by a shooting star, this overwhelming sense of freedom and pure joy flooded my body. I was freaking free. It was addictive.

      Back in Perth though, I quickly fell into the same hole.

      My old self-inhibiting thoughts returned…”what would people think of me, I’m not good enough as myself, I’m not pretty enough, not smart enough, not worthy enough…” These beliefs were SO subconscious, I didn’t even know they were there, but it threw me right back down into anxiety territory.

      Years and years and years of recurring stories and thoughts cemented these beliefs. It kept the gorgeously, magical glowing swirl of colours that was me, locked deep down in my heart in a safe place. So safe that I struggled to access it. Because my fear deemed these qualities dangerous. They’d expose me to criticism, exclusion, judgement, dislike, rejection.

      I can only describe who I was as grey.

      A dull cast of grey, while that pool of brightness and joy was trapped deep in the depths of my heart and covered by black self depreciating thoughts. The problem was, I had no idea this was going on inside of me. I had no idea this beautiful pool of magic existed inside me. 

      Until the day my emotions hit a dark spot.

      The only way I can describe it is imagine that bright magical pool of colours screaming out. Screaming so loud their voices were hoarse and hopeless. The dark sludgy fears above kept shooting wisps of anxiety throughout my body, which buckled down the hatches and prevented that pool of magic from exploding and consuming my being like it should have.

      The day my depression came, the dark sludge grew stronger and stronger.

      It felt like that magical pool had given up sending me any slivers of joy it could let loose and instead it just cried.

      It was so detached from who I was, that it just felt despair. Despair and utter sadness. It got to a point that the brightness, joy and happiness stopped trying to escape. I no longer felt a beautifully warm and happy embrace in my heart and soul.

      My little glimpses of joy each day stopped.

      I’d sit with my gorgeous dogs, pat them and feel nothing. Not necessarily sadness, just nothing. I was apathetic. No little tingle of joy in my soul, no swelling of joy in my heart.

      This was my breaking point.

      Not the years of anxiety or overwhelm, but the depression.

      I was so early into the days of depression that I noticed the absence of joy. I knew it shouldn’t be this hard to feel happy and I missed it. I craved joy and happiness like I crave jam donuts (which is a lot).

      This depression created change in me.
      I dove head first into really nourishing myself. My body, my brain and my mindset and beliefs.

      The beauty is, I managed to not only heal my depression, but I also healed my anxiety and stress. I forgot what life was like without them.

      Strangely, I’m so grateful that depression decided to grace my life. I truly believe I was meant to go through it.

      Because if I didn’t, I never would have taken the steps to transform my mental health and realise there was a life I really wanted, but I wasn’t living.

      I got to know what depression and anxiety represented to me. I got to know why it appeared in the first place. I got to know why it overtook me at this point in my life and why not earlier. I got to know how to let it go and set it free. I got to know how to live each day in a way that meant it wasn’t coming back.

       

       

       

      The Transformation

      Six months later, I’m now an entirely new person.

      I say new, but she may have existed in my earlier years when fear of being yourself wasn’t so strong. Definitely prior to pre-primary and my first recollection of wanting to fit in.

      This new person isn’t afraid.

      This new person doesn’t let fear govern her.

      This new person loves who she is.

      This new person may have little speckles of grey still floating around, but that beautiful magical pool of colours is no longer trapped deep in the depths of her heart and soul, but now floods every single cell and atom in her body.

      She no longer lives a life dictated by what she believes society expects of her.

      She lives a life in alignment with herself.

      Other peoples opinions, judgements and criticisms bounce off her, because she is sure of who she is and who she wants to be. The anxiety of needing to fit in and to please everyone is gone (or mostly anyway).

      If you can’t already tell, I’m a visual person. So for me, I can’t just feel alignment, I need to visualise it. To me, being in alignment with who I’m supposed to be is this bright white light that is glowing from my heart and beams ahead of me.

      This white line is my alignment.
      My journey in life. The one that feels right in every cell of my being, even if my logical brain says otherwise.

      Each time I take another step forward in life, I now have that emotional radar that detects if it matches up with that white line, or if I’m aiming in completely the wrong direction.

      Am I being true to myself and embarking on a journey that is right, or making decisions based on the influence of society and the opinions of those around me?

      Situations in life can still feel freakin’ daunting and can sometimes make me want to curl into a ball in bed and hide. But now I can distinguish these emotions between fear and being totally against my gut instinct (aka. curling into that ball is a good idea), or daunting with butterflies in my belly but really exciting and totally in alignment with who I want to be.

      Going to new events, meeting new people, putting my true self out into the world are still scary. But they’re also really exciting.

      I’m still only human so those self depreciating thoughts still try to weasel their way in, but they don’t last long as I can quickly work through them and set them free. If I ever feel confused by all the opinions thrown my way in this world, I always ask myself:

      Who do I want to be and what do I want my life to look like?

      Society can no longer make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin, make me feel less about myself, influence me to dress a certain way, or make me second guess that what I’m doing is acceptable by the masses and will make me be included and liked.

      I work hard on not caring what society thinks of me, because I’m darn proud of who I am.

      The anxiety, fear, worry and hopelessness I felt attempting to fit in and do what society said was acceptable is so not worth it.

      True happiness and freedom can only come from being yourself, and embracing all that you’re supposed to be.

      So I say to you:

      Live a life that is in complete alignment with you.

      Not a life that society dictates is the correct way to live.

      Not a life where you’re constantly second guessing yourself.

      Not a life that is controlled by the opinions and influence of your friends and family.

      A life that feels right in your gut, in your heart and in your soul. But not necessarily in your brain.