Burnout, Feelings, and Bodies: More on the Working Mom Dilemma
First, attend to feelings. This is one of the first lessons taught in counselor school. It sounds really basic, but so many of us want to hide from feelings, push them down deep within us, ignore them, drink them away, numb them. You get my drift. Humans will do anything to NOT have to actually feel all of their feelings, especially when they are ones that we label as being unpleasant. We’re far more comfortable addressing what CAUSED the feeling, also known as the stressor, because that gives us a false sense of closure and control. “Phew, now I know why that happened, I won’t let that happen again, so I’m all good!” Sound familiar? But that’s only half of the equation…
I just listened to an amazing Unlocking Us podcast, shared by researcher, Brene Brown, in which she interviews Emily and Amelia Nagoski, twins and authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking The Stress Cycle. In the book, they discuss how burnout is related to not completing the stress cycle, and feelings related to burnout being undoubtedly rooted within our bodies. Feelings are a biologically-based experience. If we don’t complete feelings, they get stuck within our bodies and cause a whole lot of… well, I guess you’ll need to listen to the podcast and buy the book, as I intend to do today! This resonated with me because, just this week, I had multiple conversations with people about where in our bodies our feelings are held. For me, it’s the base of my neck and shoulders, and in my ever-raging belly. I can only think of the feelings that have been living in there, waiting for me to fully feel them – beginning, middle, end. The authors of the book have a list of suggestions for resolving feelings and completing the stress cycle, some of which are laughter and moving your body – things that are manageable and accessible to all of us. As I consider the working mom dilemma that so many of us are in right now – working, teaching, running a household, disinfecting, etc., the concept of burnout is so relevant and palpable. I’ll be using this book as one more item in my coping toolbelt, and I invite you to add it to yours.
Also, I may just have to run a book club group for this one, as it seems that revolutionary! If you’d be interested, hit me up by signing up for my newsletter. Let’s see where this goes!