I’ve been burnt out on so many levels recently and it finally came to a head.
From over a year of no childcare and no family support due to the pandemic to physically changing in ways I’ve still not fully accepted in my mind, it was bound to happen. When it rains, it pours they say. A couple of days ago, as insane thunder and hail storms came flooding into Nashville, so poured my tears as I finally let it all out. I spent the entire day purging emotions about everything under the sun… or more accurately ominous, grey clouds.
I purged frustration over a lack of familial support, physically and emotionally.
I purged exhaustion from sleepless nights and long, energetic days with a toddler.
I purged irritation over my changing body that’s brought new limits and boundaries to my physical capabilities and energy levels that I can’t stand.
I purged fears over another 20 long weeks of growth and exhaustion with no breaks to rest and recharge before our newborn’s arrival, because we are looking after our toddler full-time with no help for the foreseeable future.
I purged PTSD over my traumatic unexpected c-section and the anxiety of having to do it all over again.
I purged feeling unmotivated and stagnant with work, because I’m on a hamster wheel of trying to feed my family with no time or capacity to create new goals or taking on new paths in my business.
I purged feeling guilty for being a bad mom and wife by wallowing in my dark thoughts instead of being the fun and loving company my daughter and husband deserve.
I cried. I worked out. Hard. I cried some more. Even harder. And by the very end of the day after I finally got my daughter to bed, had one more really good cry and got to actually speak to my husband about how I was feeling, because he was no longer having to step up for daddy duty while mommy sat in her feels… I felt the clouds start to clear.
The next day, instead of throwing myself back into the grind of mom, work, self-care, mom, be a healthy, active pregnant lady, take care of house, mom, happy wife, keep up appearances on social, mom… I instead did the bare minimum for daily survival and spoke to my therapist who gave me “permission to rest and recharge”. I’m a big girl. I’m also fortunate to be self-employed. I know I don’t need permission from anyone to take a break and rest, but damn, does it feel good to hear it.
For whatever reason, receiving this verbal permission from someone else lessened the guilt of doing less.
I’m the kind of person who thrives in the busy-ness of life, particularly when work related. When things are slow, I panic and get overwhelmed by the sensation that I could be and should be doing more. In today’s culture of excessive productivity and busy-ness validating our success and seemingly, our very existence, it’s easy to get consumed by the pressure to perform, do more, try harder, be better, “live your best life”. That kind of grind can be toxic if rest and recharging isn’t regularly incorporated into that mix. When we feel ourselves reaching overwhelm or burnout, it’s our body and mind’s way of telling us, it’s time to take a break or we’re gonna shut that shit down for you. Incorporating things like naps, meditation, exercise or walks into your schedule should be considered part of your “work” or “to-dos”, because they give you the ability to keep going. Think of these moments of rest or recharge like fuelling up your car at a gas station. It’s absolutely necessary. You can’t drive on empty. You have no choice, but to pause, pull over and refill your tank.
Treat your daily grind the same way. It’s not in my nature, but I’m working on it, because frankly, it just makes sense. I’ve most certainly run out of gas at this point, so I have no choice but to stop and refuel. This year’s been mentally, emotionally and physically taxing on all of us. Consider this your permission to stop, take a break, rest and recharge, too. You don’t need it from me, but I hope hearing it encourages you to take the time to do less that you deserve. You are worthy, you are enough, you are wonderful. Just because you exist, not because of anything you do.
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.