I recently had a rainy day. A day in which I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to keep up and maintain my own well being. The overlapping layers were a lot — too much. It was nobody’s fault and more a product of these challenging times. The demands I was facing were much higher than the supply of energy and capacity needed. I was weary, worn out, and overwhelmed. On that day I struggled to see the sunshine.
As I reflect back on those days I don’t have easy answers of life lessons learned and victories achieved. I continue to process how I can conceptualize my experience and grow forward through the struggles. I did realize that it felt important to speak honestly about struggling and pushing through. I do love maintaining the positive, encouraging, opportunistic approach that 95% of my writing reflects. But, like everyone, I’m multifaceted, complex and I am only human.
I am doing the best I can. But there will be days when the best I can do feels not enough. When I feel messy, unsure, and out of control. I hate it. Do you hate it too? Are you with me?
There will be days that we fall apart but it matters so much that we find a way to come back together. To find ourselves, extend ourselves grace and insist on wellness.
So how do we do this differently? How do we recognize when the warning signs of burnout are starting to creep in? What does it look like to ask for help?
These are questions we must explore when we are at our very best so we know how to navigate them when we are at our very worst.
I was really fortunate that I was able to connect with my friend Shannon and process some of these very ideas. We both admitted that feeling pulled between family, and sensing that our jobs are getting more of us than our kids, makes us feel overwhelmed. We found common ground in our struggle to extend ourselves grace. We aligned around our belief that good leaders ask for help and intentionally put structures in place that insist upon wellness. Our discussion also shifted to what early warning indicators can help us become aware burnout is imminent. The conversation alone was healing and helpful for me as I consider steps to take toward sustainable wellness.
We Must Proactively Put in the Wellness Work
The reality is this: stress will not go away and when it is not a global pandemic it will be something else. These are certainly unprecedented times but life has a way of constantly throwing us curve balls. It is up to us to proactively seek ways to insist we are worthy of being well. The rainy days will come and we must put in the work, in advance, to have our emotional umbrella ready to shield us from downpour.
With time and introspection here is what I know:
- If I do not have margin for exercise I will soon find my way to burnout
- One warning sign that burnout is quickly approaching is a lack of attention to my nutrition
- When having a really hard day, I had amazing people step in to listen, support and offer practical solutions when I was feeling maxed out.
- My biggest challenge is letting go of the guilt that I experience when I am acutely aware of my flaws.
- I struggle with perfectionism and battling it is a process.
- I must work on better articulating the conditions I need for success.
- My husband is wonderful, supportive and is fantastic in the many ways he offers practical support.
- Playing with my kids and having dance parties is one of the quickest ways I can reset myself when I am feeling burnt out.
Continuing to process and reflect on this topic is very important to me! I’d love to hear how you maintain wellness during challenging times. Comment below or connect with me on Instagram (@CaitlynScaggs) to keep the conversation going!