Slow the Burn
For those in HR, you have been carrying the bulk of the emotional burden for your teams and organizations for the past few years. You have also been personally living through a global trauma.
As someone who specializes in supporting leaders, many of whom are struggling with burnout, one of the first things I discuss with clients is this—when we can’t change the immediate situation, we slow the burn, control what we can control, and get back to basics. This buys us time for either things to change, or to gain our footing and come up with a different plan.
You know most of these things, but now more than ever you need to fill yourself up along the way.
Consider the Fuel You Put in Your Body
By all means eat what you love, however ask yourself this ~ Does it love you back? If yes ~ Fill your boots!
Sometimes eating popcorn for dinner is the treat your soul needs. But if your diet is becoming filled with low nutrient, high sugar and/or highly processed foods (which we tend to crave in times of stress) our bodies are running on empty. Our food is no longer loving us. If we’re not putting positive fuel into our bodies, they are not able to support us best when we need them most.
Be Mindful of Alcohol Intake
A drink here or there isn’t a problem, but alcohol is a depressant. So, if you’re already feeling crappy, a drink might make you numb out for a little bit, but you’ll likely feel worse the next day. In addition, alcohol interrupts sleep patterns so the rest you do get won’t be as restorative. If you’re starting to drink heavily or daily, this makes an existing problem worse.
Does it mean you have to cut out alcohol entirely ~ No. Just be honest with yourself and adjust if you notice your alcohol intake creeping up. The same goes for any mood-altering substances. If you’re struggling to cut back on your own, reach out for support.
Speak to Your Doctor About Getting Bloodwork Done
Eating well is always important but in times of extended stress our bodies metabolize nutrients differently. People can often become deficient in iron, B12, Vitamin D, and iodine, among others and your thyroid (which helps regulate stress hormones) may need additional support.
This alone can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression and can be a double whammy when facing long-term stress. Your body’s working overtime, and anything you can do to support your system will help make the hard times more manageable. Support can often mean supplementation over and above your regular diet.
Speak to a Registered Clinical Counsellor
There is no playbook for surviving a global pandemic. It’s going to sometimes be messy, and it will definitely bring up any challenges from your past or present that you could outrun before by being busy or distracted. We all have things we would rather pretend didn’t happen / aren’t happening.
Don’t wait until everything falls apart. Therapy can help you process the complicated feelings coming up. It can also provide you with new tools to manage your current situation. Unfortunately pretending everything is fine is not a long-term solution.
Above all, know it’s ok to not be ok right now. Everyone is different and doing their best. You are too.
Constance Lynn Hummel, MA is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Leadership Coach in Vancouver BC. For more information about her work and practice, please see ConstanceLynn.com.
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