How can you deal with the feelings of burnout and overwhelm that come with motherhood and business?
Today, we are talking about ways that you can overcome burnout by identifying the stressors in your life, choosing the right people, and limiting the negativity around you so that you can create space for yourself to heal and grow.
Stress is inevitable in our lives, but it is possible to create a safe space to overcome burnout and overwhelm.
Tune in to hear how you can create that balance for yourself in your personal life and your business.
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CAMILLE WALKER [0:00]
Burnout, we've all experienced it. And I think this year more than ever, we are finding ways that we are feeling more overwhelmed than ever. I am saying this because I have been there. And coming off a really tough summer, probably one of the toughest, I am here to give advice about what to do if you're feeling burnout, what to do if you're feeling like right now it's a little bit too much. And perhaps it's in your life, perhaps in your business, perhaps it's everything. But let's dive into what burnout looks like and how you can avoid it.
Now I'm going to give you a little story of the way I've experienced burnout, what it's felt like for me, and perhaps you can relate to some of this yourself. Recently, I built a new course. It was called 60 Days to VA. I absolutely loved it. The process itself was really fulfilling. The part I didn't like was working around Facebook ads and marketing and doing something new. It was quite overwhelming. Now, another big mistake that I made is that I did it during the summer break. I don't know why I thought this was a good idea, but I was on a track where I had someone helping me through the process who had a baby coming and she was saying, "We need to do this now. People are ready now. Let's do this now." And so, I thought, "Okay. I'm going to do this anyway and I'm going to make it work."
Well, add into the mix life. I have a dog who is very old, who is having accidents all over the house and a husband who does not necessarily lose that dog as much as I do and see those accidents and chalk it up to old age. We also got a new puppy. And if anyone knows, having a new puppy is like having a new baby. That adds a layer of stress. It's wonderful, but it's also stressful. On top of that, we are dealing with a pandemic and my husband started a new job that demanded a lot from him.
I found myself in a place where I was making it all work with late nights and recording sessions that were done in the in-between moments when my kids weren't around as much as I could, but it also meant that I was not getting enough sleep. I wasn't exercising as much as I'd like to and I found that I was starting to experience what others might call burnout. Burnout feels like lack of motivation. It also feels like overwhelm. And it's a point of so much stress that you feel immobilized.
And I don't know if any of you have felt like this before, but for me, typically when I am feeling this burnout, it can come after I've completed something where it's a runway where I get to a point of exhaustion and I think that that's where I was when it got creating the Facebook ads. It was something where the other parts of building the course I understood. I was excited about teaching. That part of it is really wonderful for me. I love teaching others and empowering women and that really tapped into my motivation and my drive and my why. That part worked. The part that I didn't do well is adding in other stress components as well as not being able to delegate the parts that I was not good at a.k.a. Facebook ads.
So, how do you get that motivation back? How do you avoid burnout when there's stress around you that sometimes you cannot control and you're in a place where you need to find a solution that works for you? First, let's start talking about what is burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.
Now, this is very typical of any new entrepreneur. It is also typical of motherhood. And so, this is something that when I saw this or I had this idea to talk about burnout today, I thought I need to talk about this because I feel like it's coming from a place of I've been there. I've been there through the struggles of motherhood. I am still there and creating and developing new businesses. Any time I've started a new business, I've tried my best to remember that every single business that is created takes at minimum typically one to three years before really turning profit. If you're able to get into a business where your overhead is low and you're able to have profitability sooner than that, congratulations! That's incredible. In fact, that's why I started the virtual assistant course because I know that you can turn profitably so quickly in a virtual assistant business.
But if you are experiencing stress in other areas of your life, you may need to take a step back and see what can I do about my life right now because you're so sapped of energy leaving you feeling helpless or cynical or resentful? And with the state of the world right now amidst the pandemic and political outrage and, oh my goodness, everything going on in the world both natural and manmade, it is a lot. And I think burnout is something that a lot of us are experiencing because a lot of the things are out of our control.
So, if you're experiencing burnout and you're feeling like every day is a bad day or you're caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy or you're exhausted all of the time or you feel like nothing you do makes a difference, then I want you to look and see if you have any of these signs specifically. Are you feeling tired most of the time? Do you have a lowered immunity? Are you having frequent headaches or muscle pain? How about your eating or sleeping habits? Do you have loss of motivation? Are you having decreased satisfaction or sense of accomplishment? Are you withdrawing from responsibilities or isolating yourself or skipping out early or avoiding get-togethers aside from pandemic or using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope? These can all be signs of burnout.
Now, stress in your life is inevitable. Stressors are considered good amounts of stress because stress comes. And there's stress where it can create anxiety and physical damage. It can even cause premature aging, which none of us want. Burnout means that your emotions are blunted. It means that you feel hopeless. You feel detachment, depression. You may not feel like life is worth living. Now, that stage can be frightening. It can be a place where medical professionals may need to get involved and it may be something that professional counseling can help.
Today, we're going to talk about before you get to that medical stage of needing help, which there is so many tools available. And if you are feeling hopelessness to that degree, please, please, please seek professional help. Doctors are there to prescribe medications to help with anxiety and depression and also talk therapy or different energy therapy can be super helpful. So, let's talk about ways that you can overcome burnout, that you can overcome that debilitating stress.
One of the number one ways that has worked out for me is to turn to people that I love, to create space for talking about the things that are going on in your life. Not that they need to solve it, but sometimes being able to think through your own thoughts and stressors can help relieve that pain. Opening up doesn't make the burden someone else's. It's simply a way for you to open up and create space for honesty with how you're feeling and honesty with the stress that you're feeling and there's a lot of release and freedom that comes from that.
You also can try being more sociable with your coworkers or with friends or with people around you that you know have your best interest at heart. These are the kind of people that you can talk to people any time and know that they have your back and they're simply there to love you. And if you do not have a relationship like that, I would encourage you to open yourself up because a lot of times, vulnerability with others is what really creates a deep seed and root for the growth of the beautiful relationship. Vulnerability creates closeness.
And so, for me, one of the things that has helped me the very most because I'm in my car a lot driving the kids around and sometimes that is a time that either I talk specifically to my kids to have intimate conversations with them. I know this might seem strange, but we'll set goals together or I'll ask questions, especially with my teenager. He can't escape. He's in the car with me. If I'm alone and sometimes when I'm not, I will call close friends. If I have a long trip where it's going to be a good 30-minute to 1-hour drive, I have specific people in my life that I know I can call and have a meaningful conversation that always leave me feeling better even if it's them we talk about or if it's me. It's just that meaningful conversations, so phone calls and a space where you can be alone or somewhat alone, so that you can have conversations that matter.
As a mom it can feel very lonely at times where you don't talk to adults very much. And so, for me that has been life-changing, life-saving. If you can make it to a lunch or a breakfast or a hike with a friend, please do that because that is much better, I feel like, if you can get in some exercise or some fresh air or even a yummy lunch that can be monumental.
Now, another idea is to limit your contact with negative people. There are people in your life right now that sap your energy. And unfortunately, it happens and people like that in your life exist. And I want you to imagine something with me. If you have the opportunity right now to grab a pen and paper, please do. This is an activity that I've come up with and when I was explaining it to a friend, I thought of this idea and I think it's actually quite clever if you can think of it this way.
So, grab your paper and a pen and I want you to think about what you're allowing into your space, your mental space. And I want you to think about your brain or your home as a house. You are a person. You. You are a house and I want you to think about who you let into the different rooms of your house. Now, there are people in real life who are acquaintances, strangers even who you might not let into your front room. It could be a salesman. It could be someone who you don't know very well and they knock at the door and they have something to tell you. And sure, you'll talk to them, engage with them. And you'll be friendly and courteous and kind. But it may not be someone you want to enter into your home.
Now, there are others who are your friends. They're your neighbors, but they're your front room neighbors. You're not about to take them in to your kitchen and your mess. There are people that you keep at a distance and it's more of an acquaintance type relationship. You also have friends who are there for the mess. They do not judge you. They know you. They love you no matter what, even if there are dishes all over the table and in the sink and on the floor. I don't know where they are, but they don’t care. They love you no matter what. There are also friends who you would invite into your bedroom or your closet or I don't know as a girlfriend growing up, I have friends now that I can very comfortably change in front of and we're that close. It's an intimate relationship. It's one that I feel very comfortable with them being in my space. And then, there are other friends who you would even have a sleepover with. They're your true BFFs. They're with you all the time.
Okay. So, now that we've established those levels of trust, that friendship, I want you to think about social media. I want you to think about where you look at social media. And one of those places that I very often look at social media is in my bedroom and in my bed. Sometimes, it's late at night. Sometimes, it's in the morning. It's a very intimate safe space where I open my phone and I look at my social media. And I want you to think for a minute what is on your social media feed and what is the energy that is inviting into your life, into the most intimate spaces of your life.
And if you have people in your life who are negative or who may pull you down, think about where you're inviting them and that is into your own mind. Maybe even into your own room, in your own bed, the most intimate space of your life. So, as you create those circles or those spaces, I also want you to think about the friends who you would say hello to from a distance. Maybe from the sidewalk, maybe from your front porch. You're friendly. You're kind. But you don't want to invite them into your intimate space to drain you of your life and your energy.
So, I'm flipflopping a little bit here between the virtual space within your mind, your most intimate space and also the physical space in your home. And I want you to bring those in together and imagine yourself in the center with circles of intimacy spanning out from you and think about where you would categorize people in your life. And you can do this either as your home and you can draw that out as your home and your room and those spaces or you can create it in circles that extend from you being the center. And I want you to think about who you are inviting into that intimate space through your phone.
And I think so often now, ideas and opinions and raging anger of other people's lives are entering our own in such in an intimate way where never in the history of time ever has that been the case because we didn't know the intimate thoughts and the angry thoughts and the opinions and the controversy of hundreds of people. Maybe not even dozens because there are things that are expressed online or opinions that are shared online that are very perhaps hateful or combative that we would never have known before the digital age. And I think that our psyches and our minds are experiencing so much mental burnout because we are far beyond capacity of what we were ever meant to take in.
Now, am I suggesting that you don't educate yourself of what's going on in the world or how you can help others in need? No. Of course, I want you to know what's going on in your community, in your state, in your country, in the world, but I am asking you and pleading with you to create a limited exposure to create safety within your own mind and to avoid mental burnout. There's power that comes in being able to create safe spaces for yourself and I want you to think about how much time you've been spending allowing those outer circles or those people who typically you would keep on the sidewalk into your intimate space in your own home, into your own room, into your own bed, into your hand, into your heart. It's all connected.
And I think that more than anything else, when we create space for healing and for space and for our own thoughts to exist and survive, that is when we can heal. That is when we can create space to connect with who we are and what we want and to be reinspired. Because I know from personal experience and right now, I am really diving deep into creating space for healing and creativity in my own life, I have loved this past year as I've created the Time For Us journals. I've created the Screentime program and subscription and then created my virtual assistant course and I loved it. I was so motivated. I was driving it so hard that now I'm taking a moment to pause.
I'm taking a moment to reevaluate and to really dig into investing in my own space as I feel like the mental load and capacity of my family's needs have created overwhelm and stress and a bit of burnout. So, take some time off. Create time for going on vacation. Look into your community for opportunities. There was actually one here in my local county that is offering, I can't think exactly how to explain it, it's like a training where you create how to be more present and mindfulness and meditation. And I thought, man, I could use some help with that and I love learning something and digging into it more so that I can teach it better. And so, I signed up for that class. And what's even cooler is that I think that everyone knows that this is needed more than ever and someone donated funds to make that class free for the first course or the signups of the people doing this. And I thought, man. I want to be a part of that. And so, I signed up for that.
And I want you to think about finding balance in a way that you feel connected to who you are and your priorities. And we dig into that deep in last week's episode with Christy Wright where in her book creating a balance that works her book is called Take Your Time Back, it's all about creating a balance that is in line with your values, that is in line with what you truly want at your core. Because when you are in line with that, you find satisfaction and you find inspiration. And you're able to set boundaries, so you don't overextend yourself and you learn how to say no. You learn that taking a break from technology allows you to disconnect with the world, so you can reconnect with yourself.
And if you can nourish that creative side, set aside relaxation time, getting plenty of sleep and exercise and eating healthy foods, this is what will reenergize you to create creativity and satisfaction in whatever your next project is or your family life or being a mother. And I think more than anything, our kids need us, but they can't get the best us if we don’t give ourselves an oxygen mask first.
So, I want you take a moment think about your oxygen mask. What does that look like? What do you need today to feel that inspiration to avoid that burnout? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising? Are you eating good foods? Are you taking time to connect with the people who matter? Are you taking time to connect with your higher power whether that be God or the universe or whatever connection that you find from a higher source?
I created this episode in hopes to help you. And if you have found it helpful, I would love it if you shared it with someone else. This is something I think a lot of us need to hear a lot right now. And if you could share it on social media, I would so appreciate it or you can email me directly and let me know what you thought at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect with you on Instagram @camillewalker.co or @callmeceopodcast. I care about you. I hope you know that and I will see you next week.
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