**Escaping Survival Mode: How to Shift from Just Surviving to Fully Thriving in Life!**
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us, especially women, find ourselves perpetually running on empty. Living in constant stress, ensnared in fight or flight, surviving rather than thriving, has become an all-too-common state of being. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
About six months ago, I found myself in the clutches of the most severe burnout I had ever experienced. As an entrepreneur for over five years, the relentless pace had taken its toll. It’s not just entrepreneurs who face this; anyone can find themselves needing a break from the ceaseless ‘go, go, go’ dictated by societal norms.
We’re all familiar with the notion and very familiar term ‘hustle culture.’ We made not realize it, but it’s ingrained in us, tying our self-worth to our productivity and achievements. This is something many of us do. I know for myself, for SO long I tied my worth to how productive I was, how much I created and especially how much money I was making. But is this relentless pursuit of success sustainable? In my opinion, it leaves us missing the whole point: to enjoy it, to thrive and to simply 'be'. After all, we are human BEINGS, not human doings.
Nonetheless, burnout hit me out of the blue, and HARD, leaving me exhausted, stressed, and questioning my passion and purpose. I woke up one day and all of a sudden I had no motivation, I was beyond exhausted (like a type of exhaustion I've never experienced before where I could barely stay awake, all I wanted to do was sleep or be in bed, and I could barely handle ANY stimulus), and I was ridden with insane stress and anxiety anytime I needed to check my social medias or emails. You get the picture.
I was done, I was defeated and I was so so so over it all. It actually scared me a lot, because I thought "What the heck? Am I all of a sudden just not in love with what I do? Am I depressed? Is there something wrong with me?" And the more I reflected on what was going on, it dawned on me... I hadn't taken an actual BREAK from social media or working or "DOING" for like 9+ years.... dude, that is messed up.
It wasn’t until I took a much-needed break and spent time with my family in Canada that I realized how crucial rest was. The period of doing nothing but sleep, cry, and feel overwhelmed was my body’s way of sounding the alarm. Arianna Huffington, a vocal advocate for redefining success and well-being, aptly said, “Burnout is not a badge of honor.”
In Ep25 of The Hope Wellness Podcast, we cover everything to do with how many of us are living with dysregulated nervous systems and how chronic stress is leading to illness, extreme fatigue and the harmful effects of burnout. Listen to the full episode here.
Especially if you live in North America (western society/culture), you likely might be able to identify or resonate with the burn out and extreme exhaustion that comes from the hustle culture and 'go go go' mentality of our society. OR, maybe you're actually unaware of the fact you're living in a state of constant survival mode and running yourself into the ground on a daily basis...
The realization struck; we don’t have to push ourselves to the edge before acknowledging the necessity and benefits of rest. Resting, once alien to me, has become a rejuvenating and aligning practice. If you struggle with slowing down without feeling guilty, here are some tips:
1. **Start Small:** Begin with 10 minutes of intentional relaxation – a hot bath, a guided meditation, or a serene tea session with a good book.
2. **Rewrite the Narrative:** Question and release old beliefs tying your worth to productivity. Where did those old narratives come from? When did they start? Replace them with affirmations that feel supportive like “I deserve rest,” and “Rest increases my productivity and passion.” Ultimately, this is you taking back your power and birthright to rest and embrace slowness in your life.
3. **Find a ‘Rest’ Buddy:** Having a partner, friend, or family member aware of and supportive of your rest needs can make relaxing activities more enjoyable and less guilt-inducing. Maybe you go have a picnic in the park, or read a book together, or go to the spa together!
In an article by *Psychology Today*, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter explains that high-octane women are especially vulnerable to burnout, emphasizing the importance of balance and relaxation in daily life.
Remember, shifting from a perpetual survival mode to a thriving state of being takes time. Be patient with yourself, prioritize rest, and dont rush the healing process, there is no 'time line'. You will slowly rebuild your energy and what matters most is you give yourself the time to do so. After all, as Anne Lamott puts it, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
In conclusion, embrace rest and relaxation. Discover activities that rejuvenate you, whether it’s immersing in nature, cooking, or watching a movie. You deserve to not just survive, but to thrive in life!