Do you ever wonder why you’re constantly fighting to keep up with the simple things like, let’s say laundry? You walk into your friend’s house that looks prim and proper. You’d never know that she has two toddlers and an infant living there. It’s not fair!
It’s as if there’s these magical women who have it all together and yet you don’t. You constantly find yourself in a battle between work, rushing around trying to get things done, only to get home and realize that dinner time was supposed to be an hour ago.
What happened? What led you to this place of absolute exhaustion and complete burnout?
Here’s the secret you’re missing: emotional intelligence.
The next question you’re asking is, “well, what is emotional intelligence?” Here’s what it’s all about. The simplest definition of emotional intelligence is knowing yourself and your emotions so well that you are able to handle the situations that life throws at you.
How does it help me keep a cleaner house?! Keep reading for more.
There was a recent study done by Kandi Wiens titled “Leading Through Burnout”. She assessed 35 chief medical officers at 35 large hospitals on their stress levels in an attempt to determine what they do to deal with burnout. She was surprised by the findings in that 69% of them, though labeling their stress as “severe”, “very severe”, or “worst possible”, the vast majority of them were not burned out! Just as this study does, many more studies continue to prove that emotional intelligence is the leading reason why individuals with high levels of stress are able to avoid burnout.
If these doctors can be under crazy levels of stress, you know, saving lives and what not, and not be burnt out, it’s safe to say that there’s hope for you too.
Know Your Story for Emotional Self-Awareness
In my studies, the most important part of emotional intelligence is emotional self-awareness. It’s like Emotional Intelligence 101. In this part of emotional intelligence is where you make peace with your past by revisiting your story.
As a protective mechanism, many of us disengage from our pasts and our emotions in order to self-protect. The consequence of this behavior leads us to “stuffed” emotions, further bringing us down the rabbit hole of burnout. Do you wonder why there’s this issue in your life that you just can’t seem to get past? My dear, this issue is affecting a lot of different things. Let’s deal with it together.
Knowing your story and how it affects you is the first step to taking the steps needed to make peace with it. You can then release the blocks created by those stories and further live out your intentions. When I guide you through the Aroma Freedom Technique (AFT), you’re able to gently bring up those stories and make peace with them- a truly freeing experience that has a multipurpose effect.
Emotional self-awareness also helps you to recognize your beliefs, emotions, behavior patterns, and relationship patterns.
Do you ever find yourself reliving a certain issue over and over again?
Let’s say, you find that throughout your whole life, people are constantly taking advantage of you? Once you know the patterns that you unknowingly follow, you’re able to reroute yourself the next time you’re presented with that situation again.
Know Yourself for Emotional Self-Management
Really?! How do I manage myself when I can barely manage the most basic things in my life?!
I completely get it. It’s hard. I’ve been there and I still go back there constantly. It’s actually pretty human of you. However, the very best way to avoid burnout is through self-management, another vital part of emotional intelligence.
This is one of the most menial parts of emotional intelligence, I believe, but one of the most crucial. This is the one that we all most falter at too. The one that gets set aside. The quickest one to be “left for later”. This is where you do the dirty work to get yourself in check.
Here’s a common scenario:
Something happens that makes you mad. You’re in a great mood so you let it roll off your shoulders.
Something else happens.
Then something else goes wrong.
Emotions are beginning to fume.
The last thing happens and you finally pop your top!
Ways you may usually handle it:
You throw and adult fit, raise your voice, yell lots of sweet, kind, words (totally being sarcastic here).
Go have a smoke.
Have a glass of wine, or two, or three.
Reach for the nearest anti-panic attack pill.
Scour your cabinets for the first baked good- or entire container of ice cream- you can find and proceed to furiously stuffing it in your mouth.
So Iviana, what the heck do you expect me to do when I’m completely stressed out, the situation is just not changing, and there’s literally no way out? We’re living in reality here, Iviana. Are you living in the same world as me?
Yes lovely, I am. Trust, I know. I have the same meltdowns you do. I’ve even reached for some of the same things you have. I have been there.
Oh yeah, and I still face the same challenges.
But you know what, it does get easier. It is possible for you to reach less and less for the things you know aren’t good for you. It’s even possible to never reach for them again. I can honestly say I now only throw seldom fits because, you know, sometimes we just gotta let it all out! Ahhhh!
Okay, so how do you “self-manage” then? Here’s a few suggestions that really truly do work. I promise. Just give at least one a chance.
1.Put Yourself in Time Out
Next time you’re really mad, it doesn’t matter where you are, excuse yourself. Even if you have to go into a bathroom stall for a moment. Then, notice how your breathing is. Is it shallow or deep? The very common theme you’ll find is that your breathing gets shallow when you’re overwhelmed. Bring awareness to your breath and use it as a personal barometer. Count to eight as your breath in. Count to 4 as you hold it in. Count to 7 as you let that breath out. Try this technique repeatedly until you start to calm down. It works, I use it all the time.
You know how the honeymoon stage of dating goes. You’re getting to know that person, likes, dislikes, all their little quirks. Then you find that they have a really bad habit of dropping the dirty laundry right next to the hamper. Why can’t they just put it in the hamper? Doesn’t prince charming exist somewhere?
Here’s the difference. You’re married to yourself, which means you’re in it with yourself for the long haul. But you’ve never really gotten to know yourself. Next time you feel burnout, take a journey through time and jot down the events in that day or from the previous days that led you to this place. Practice this every time you feel burnt out until you start to get to know yourself. You’ll find that knowing the things that make you tick is the first step to avoid those things.
3.Take A Different Perspective
One of the things I find that have gotten me through a lot of tough situations was my extreme empathy. Though not always the easiest thing to deal with, it proves to be a really helpful tool in day to day life.
I was wrong to think that everyone was just born with this ability and it’s actually not the easiest one to hone in on. The ability to “empathize” helps you look at situations from all different angles.
Here’s an example. Maybe you have intense amounts of road rage. You’re constantly getting mad at other people’s terrible behavior. What were they thinking just cutting you off like that? How dare they?!
Okay, what if you looked at it from a different angle. Like, maybe they really have to go to the bathroom. That’s just one example. Taking a different perspective is becoming a truth-seeker. Ask questions, listen more, avoid being reactive.
You’ll find that other humans really aren’t that bad, they just have bad days sometimes, or there’s just a misunderstanding going on.
We tend to create stress for ourselves a lot of the times, causing unnecessarily stressful situations. Let’s practice the self-awareness and self-management portion of emotional intelligence and start with simply changing our perspective.
For the next few days, exercise your perspective muscle by become an emotionally intelligent truth-seeker. It doesn’t even have to be during a conflict. It can be during a normal task like taking a shower. What would happen if you wash from toe to head, rather than head to toe? What if you learned that there’s a day of the week you can dedicate to yourself for a little alone time, or possibly cleaning time?
Instead of getting caught up in the same reactive patterns that are leading you to burnout, commit to emotional intelligence. Pay attention to your reactions, your body, and your breathing. Ask questions, listen more, talk less. You’ll find that you may actually have more superwoman skills than you thought you had. 😉
With Peace & Ease,