So, my mission is to make Burn Bright the norm right? It is what you will hear me say whenever anyone asks “what do you do Donna?” This mission was born out of my experience of a major burn out I had almost two years ago which left me unable to walk for several days. Fortunately, I received a clean bill of health medically. My ‘problem’ was that I was mentally exhausted, had been for some time and instead of heeding the subtle signs my body was giving me, I ignored them and kept marching on – to my peril!
This is not a new story unfortunately. In fact, burn out is so common, it really has become the norm and that frightens me. The thing that bothers me most of all though, as I proceed on my mission to reverse this trend, is that time and time again, I see and hear of people ignoring the signs (either mentally or physically) that something is not quite right. They simply continue to march on and eventually, they have their own version of burn out!
Why do we ignore the signs I wonder?
My own burn bright journey is far from complete. I am at the equivalent stage of being a toddler where every attempt I make at learning to walk, I keep falling over i.e. I still ignore the signs. Let me give you a recent example.
Over Christmas, I was ill with a stomach bug. It happens and fortunately I had closed the business for a couple of weeks anyway so there was none of the usual guilt about being poorly when I ‘should’ be working. I gave myself permission to be ill, rest up and get better before I got back into my business in January.
January started with high expectations but low energy – first sign! I put this down to the busy-ness of Christmas and New Year festivities, not to mention said stomach bug. So, I marched on. New and exciting things were happening in my business, the launch of my second Burn Bright Programme (click here for details), requests to run bespoke workshops on several Burn Bright topics and the brave step (for me at least) to join the Professional Speakers Association (https://www.thepsa.co.uk) to further my goal of speaking in front of huge audiences about my Burn Bright Mission. On the face of it, a really great month, underneath it all though, a sense of something being slightly out of kilter – second sign! So, I marched on.
I knew I really needed to start looking after myself again when I broke down in uncontrollable floods of tears over something which, in the grand scheme of things, was completely out of my control, totally resolvable and most definitely not life threatening. The fact that it had such a negative impact on me made me realise that I had been running on empty and therefore had nothing in reserve to withstand this unexpected situation. So, what did I do? I didn’t march on. Instead, I took care of myself and cancelled all my plans for the next three days. I hibernated in my comfies, under a duvet and watched movies and played games with my wonderful hubby and awesome daughter! The best medicine ever!
The outcome? Since those few days after finally spotting the signs that I was on the burn out path rather than the burn bright path and giving myself some time off everything – my energy is on the increase, my resilience is stronger and I am focusing on the positives again rather than on the negatives.
Please, please, please, if my recent story has resonated with you in anyway, do me a favour and start listening to your body. It will let you know when you need to put your health first – before you burn out!
Burn Bright Wishes,