I’ve had several bouts of burnout in the past, despite having work that I was passionate about in water and social justice. It was these bouts of burnout and the health conditions I developed that shifted my focus to holistic health.
Holistic nutrition, as well as support from my Naturopathic doctor, helped address my digestive issues. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy helps bring my nervous system from fight-flight-freeze into rest-digest and helps process and release emotions from past experiences and trauma. ThetaHealing helps me learn, release and replace the core beliefs that contribute to burnout.
To be clear, we need self-care, especially during these times. We need walks in the woods, time outs to have a cup of tea, naps and sleep and all the things that nourish and restore our energy. But we also need to challenge the systems that create and perpetuate burnout and create new ones based in health, regeneration and community.
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People who experience burnout don’t always call it burnout nor do they experience the same symptoms.
Symptoms can include exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, illness, pain, the inability to concentrate or emotions like despair, grief, anger, resentment, sadness, guilt and shame that intensify or persist over time.
These emotions and states are normal reactions to the state of the world.
The COVID-19 crisis has put a brighter spotlight on weaknesses in our society including the dismal conditions of long-term care homes, food insecurity as well as the need for better health care, child care, sick leave and more. Systemic racism against Black and Indigenous peoples that results in police violence also results in COVID disproportionately affecting these racialized communities.
Yet when these emotions and states persist over time, they take a powerful toll on our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Burnout happens for many reasons. Financial insecurities, family responsibilities and more contribute to burnout. Racism and patriarchy also impacts Black, Indigenous and people of colour, women and LGBTQIA communities in a complex and myriad of ways that can contribute or exacerbate burnout.
A root cause of burnout is internalizing the grind culture of capitalism.
Tricia Hersey, also known as the Nap Bishop and founder of the Nap Ministry, sees rest as a form of social justice and began napping for her ancestors who were slaves and could not rest. She posts quotes on social media like, "Y'all are doing too much. Capitalism is happy and pleased with this. I have seen the light. I will never donate my body to a toxic system. It's a scam. We will rest."
In doing my own healing, and supporting others through theirs, I continue to come up against the way we have internalized notions of work and (self) worth. Under capitalism, our worth is equated with our productivity, our bodies are limitless resources and work to exhaustion is revered.
Honouring the needs and cycles of our bodies is the work we need to do, particularly for those who are healing from trauma, whether it be personal, intergenerational and/or historical trauma.
In addition to self-care, we also need shifts in our cultures to address the collective burnout we are increasingly seeing by:
COVID-19 is requiring us to rethink how we live our lives, why we are collectively burnt out and how the structure of our societies cause or contribute to burnout. For better or for worse, it is creating an opening for many of us to recreate our lives and communities to prioritize health, community, justice and regeneration.
If you are experiencing burnout or any of the symptoms above, book a free, virtual 15-minute Meet & Greet to see how Osiana Wellness can support you.