10 Ways I Managed My Burnout

In today’s episode, Taylor shares ten tangible steps she took to move through and manage her own burnout. 

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Episode Transcript

You're listening to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator and author of Inner Workout. And you as always are our expert guest. Thank you for being here today. And this episode is a really big episode. This is episode number 100. Y'all have been with this podcast for 100 episodes. So before I do anything else, or get into the content, I just want to say thank you. If you're a podcaster, you know this, it's kind of weird to have a podcast. You like, are talking to people, you abstractly know that people are listening. But it can feel like you're just talking to yourself, but I've had people who listen, you listeners reaching out and saying that this season especially has been supportive for you. And while I'm not happy that other people have also gotten through burnout, I am really glad that we get to hold conversations that make you feel seen and let you know that you are not alone in doing this work. So thank you for supporting the podcast by listening, by sharing episodes with your friends, or whether that's in a group chat or on Instagram stories. And if you haven't already, I really want to ask you to rate and review the podcast. Based on the data, most of you are listening on Apple podcasts. So if that's you, please go ahead and do that there.

We've got some really big plans for the conversations that we want to have in future seasons. And the people we'd like to have on the podcast, the types of people that we'd like to have on the podcast to really flesh out these conversations. And one way that we can let them know that people actually listen to this podcast is by having ratings and reviews. So that's a huge favor that you can do for us so that we can keep doing this podcast beyond these 100 episodes. The other reason that this podcast specifically this episode is a big deal, is that the Inner Workout book is out in two days. If you're listening to this episode live, I am just man, I keep saying I'm excited. I am excited. You know, if you've listened to this podcast for any length of time that it's really important for me to have practical and accessible intersectional conversations about self care and personal development. And having this book in the world is one way that I can really do that. Like you can get the book from your library, you can buy it for 20 bucks, you can buy it on Kindle for $8. And that's a lot more accessible than working with me one on one for coaching, it's also more sustainable for me, or going to a workshop if that's not something that's in your budget regularly. And so I just am really excited that this resource is out there. And it also combines things that have showed up in my one on one work or have showed up in my work with organizations that I just haven't gotten to share broadly. And now. It's this resource and a book that you can come back to and the most important thing about the book for me is that it keeps pointing you back to you.

This podcast, this work that I do is not about me knowing everything about self care. It's about me holding space for you to get to know yourself more deeply. And this book is one of the most powerful ways I've done that to date. So if you haven't pre ordered the book, go ahead and do that. You get two preorder bonuses. One is you get the My Success Story Digital Journal, which is a practice that I created, especially when I wasn't feeling successful. And you also get to RSVP for our launch event which is featuring L'Oreal Thompson Payton as the moderator. You heard her on a previous episode, The Strong Friend Support Group, as well as author Lavon Briggs. And we're having this cozy self care Sunday chat about self care, about being in our bodies, it's going to be a good one. And even if you can't make it live, there will be a recording available only to folks who RSVP and the way that you RSVP is by pre ordering or ordering the book before the 19th when it happens. So that's the business before we get to this podcast episode. And again, I just have to say thank you one more time. When I was burning out, thought about getting rid of this podcast and I just couldn't because I love being in conversation with you all so much. So thank you for being here and making it less of a one sided conversation.

Okay, so we are in this burnout season that I was really excited to explore, because I burned out after I was writing this book. And it was embarrassing, and it was awkward. And there was a lot of shame involved. And we turned it into this podcast season, where you heard from my coach, you heard from an expert in neurodivergence, you heard me get interviewed about my experience kind of at the depths of burnout. You've heard from some of my friends. And now I want to tell you the nitty gritty of here's what I actually did to move through burnout. And that's what this episode is. We've got 10 things, 10 ways that I managed my burnout.

Let's get started. Number one, is to tell people that I'm struggling. We talked about this in the first episode of this season, right? Admitting to myself, and admitting to the people closest to me that I was struggling. That's what actually allowed me to start healing my burnout. You know, that old adage, "We can't heal what we can't feel'? Well, I was so busy trying to pretend that I wasn't burned out that I was just digging myself further and further and further into burnout. And it took me saying, Ooh, I'm struggling right now. I am on a path that doesn't end well. Let me first admit that to myself. And that was hard again, as someone who does this work for a living and would like to believe that I am somehow above burnout. It was also hard as a strong friend, someone who doesn't like to be perceived as being vulnerable or needing help. But that's really the first way I managed my burnout was letting the people in my life know that I was struggling. Because I'm, this isn't something I'm proud of. But I'm good at being a duck, and looking like everything's great above water and paddling beneath the surface. And if I wanted to manage my burnout, I had to be willing to bring people in my life along with me, and let them into the fact that things weren't going perfectly.

The next thing that I did is I brought on a lot of support. And this honestly started before I got to the depths of my burnout. I knew that this season, this first quarter of the year was going to be full. Like I said, even before I started burning out, I knew it was gonna be full. I'm launching a book, I have these like certifications that I have been wrapping up, there's a lot happening in my world. And I just feel so grateful to the past version of myself, who knew I would be need to be well supported to be here in this point. Because you might listen to these things or read the self care Sunday newsletter and feel like, oh, Taylor like, is confident talking about the things that she builds. And it's not a struggle for her. I actually don't like self promotion a lot. But I believe in this book, and I believe in the work that I do. So I had to get over it. And that means that I had to be really well supported. And before I get into what some of the support looked like, I'd also like to acknowledge that I have some financial privilege here. Like for the book launch, specifically, I have been saving up for this book launch for years. I also have pretty good insurance, not for me working for myself, but through my husband who works at a normal job, so to speak. And that also allowed for some of the support. Now with those caveats, I can break down what the support actually was.

One was finding a therapist. I have worked with therapists before and hadn't really felt like I needed it until my ADHD diagnosis where it really caused me to reorient a lot of the ways that I was looking at my life, starting back until childhood, and that's work that's useful to do with a therapist. And my first relationship with a therapist didn't work out that great. It wasn't necessarily them or me. Finding a therapist is kind of like dating and so now I'm with another therapist who I'm liking a lot more and I feel like her style and approach is more suited to what I need. But that whole therapy thing is a story for another day.

Another piece of support is working with my coach who you met in a previous episode, Megan. I appreciate her a lot. I had been following her on social media for a while. I really appreciate that she also is neurodivergent she's in school for therapy right now. She is a person who like really is interested in honing her craft. And it's for me who is similar. It's nice to have someone that I can trust to do that work with me who has just as high standards for them themselves as I do for myself when I'm doing this work.

Other support that I got was hiring folks to support the launch of the book. There's so many moving pieces, I've been a guest on a lot of podcast, hopefully, we'll have some more press coming out and just like research that needed to happen. And so being able to have people helped me do that, instead of doing everything on my own was a godsend, because that probably would have been the finisher, if I did not have that support. There's also things like, leaning into offers of support instead of batting them away. Like, you might be like this too, where someone says, Hey, how can I help and I picture like you waving them away and being like, oh, no, I got it, I got it. Instead, I'm like waving people towards me, Oh, you want to help? Let me think of a way that you can help. I don't know right now. But like, let's put a pin in that and I will come back to you. Because if you genuinely mean that, I need the support, I am very clear that I could not do it all on my own. And this is something I'm still working on. There is going to be an in person event in Chicago. And I was like, Oh, I've got it, I've got it. And my mom was like, Well, I'm taking at least a half day, that day, I'm going to make sure that we've got this all set up. Because I was trying to do it on my own. For what for what reason? That is how I got to the place of burnout. And so I'm focusing on bringing in a lot of support. And that's ongoing work, I did it well. And I'm continuing to learn how to do this better.

Number three, is to have fun projects, I have this blessing and curse of doing work that I care deeply about. And part of healing my burnout has involved finding fun projects. Other people probably call these hobbies. I remember, I think this was towards the end of last year. And I was talking to Matt, and telling him, I do really well when I have like projects in my personal life. And I was acting as if I had like discover the secret to life. And then after I said that, I said, Oh, I just discovered hobbies. That's what I need, is I'm looking for personal projects. But what I mean is hobbies. And that could be doing a puzzle, that might be redecorating our room, which I did last year, or I immersed myself completely like for the two weeks that I took off around Christmas last year in this creative project that I really haven't told that many people about. I do think that that idea of a personal project, my brain likes that because my brain enjoys like having an outcome, checking a box. And I don't mean that in this case of checking a box as in completing an obligation, but my brain likes to know Oh, yeah, we accomplished that, we did that. So having personal projects is a way for me to give myself a sense of accomplishment outside of work. And that's been really fruitful to just have these things that I do that aren't about how I make money or aren't something that feels fun. But in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about how I can incorporate this into something I'm building for Inner Workout. It's just stuff that is beautiful and enjoyable and delightful for me.

Let's move on to number four, which is doubling down on what's good for me. Healing burnout, sometimes it can be characterized as like, what do I need to quit? What do I need to get rid of, but it's also about leaning into what supportive and I've used that terminology before leaning into, that's important, finding what is supportive for you. I know myself, I know what makes me feel energized. I know what makes me feel well cared for. But in my busiest seasons, I tend to view those things as luxuries, or I convince myself that they're really not worth doing. And that leads me closer and closer to burnout. Or if I'm already burned out that drags me deeper and deeper into burnout in the sense of disconnection. For me, one thing that I've found that I have to lean into is my mornings. My mornings can make or break my day. And using the approach to rituals that I outlined in the Inner Workout book, I've rebuilt a flexible, but still structured morning routine that has movement at the foundation. Every day. I wake up, not every day because there are still times where I don't but the vast majority of days more often than not far more often than not. I wake up and I'm moving or I'm stretching. As someone who can wake up feeling anxious and as someone who can be in my head a lot, I find it so useful and so grounding to start the day by getting into my party, I need that. And it has such a ripple effect into the rest of the day into the rest of my well being into how I'm approaching my work.

Number five, seek accountability. I have this tendency to want to do everything on my own. And you know where that lands me? Back into that place of burnout. Especially as a neurodivergent person, I feel like accountability helps me take action, even when I'd rather not do something because it's boring, or it seems like a lot of work or too many steps. Sometimes accountability looks like me telling my husband, hey, I'm gonna go to bed and him noticing, like, Hey, you said you're gonna go to bed like an hour ago, and you just seem to be doomscrolling and freaking yourself out about something, maybe you should go to bed. Maybe it's time to put your laptop away. And I've invited my husband to help hold me accountable in that way. Because I can just get sucked into these spirals, where it's hard for me to see the perspective and to zoom out. And so him being able to reflect back to me, Hey, this is what looks like is happening. Is that what's happening? You told me you were gonna go to bed. That was the commitment you made. Let's move towards that, I need that. And that's useful for me. I've also gotten really into using a tool called Focus mate, I think you can get a certain number of sessions per week or per month free, or it's $5 a month for unlimited. And I use Focus Meet sessions for body doubling. If you're not familiar with the concept of body doubling, it's this idea that having another person there, even if it's virtually there, can make it easier for you to get things done. And this is especially true for neurodivergent folks. People use Focus Meet for everything from doing a movement practice, or meditating to writing books and completing tasks that they like keep pushing to the bottom of their to do list. It can be a really fantastic way to lock in new habits. And I tend to jump on focus meet personally, when there's something that I know I need to do. But there's a lot of friction in my brain about doing it and I'm coming up with a lot of excuses. When I log on to a focus mate and I tell the person, hey, I'm going to do this. It's a lot harder for me to get distracted. And it allows me to focus no pun intended on the things that I've decided that are important to me and important to my healing.

Number six, reevaluate what's on my plate. You've heard this in other episodes. A big part of my burnout, at least in this most recent encounter with burnout was the fact that I no longer felt connected to what I was doing on a day to day basis. I was so disconnected even from this work from this podcast. So we made some big shifts. This podcast is seasonal now, which was something that I it just never occurred to me that I could do a podcast and not publish an episode every week, I rewrote my expectations for myself and my business. I really thought like, how much time do these things take? What impact are they having? I noticed places where I was over giving, which is a tendency that I have to want to give so much to everyone for free, which can lead me to being really burned out and not being able to give much of anything to anyone. I shifted my scheduling practices. So like the way that I make my time available to clients, the way that I make time available to myself. And in the past when I was dealing with burnout, it involves quitting a lot of things. But in this season of work, it was really a lot more about redefining and evolving how I do work.

Something else that I noticed is that I get burned out when I have just enough time to get everything done on my plate. And there isn't any room for anything to go wrong. There isn't any room for inspiration. It's just like, even as I'm saying it, I feel constricted. It's like what I perceive it would be like to be in the military where every minute is like you have to do this and if something goes slightly off course, all of a sudden, all the dominoes fall down. But I thrive when there's margin. When there's space to explore and to create, spaciousness is actually one of my core values. And for me, I've realized that in an ideal world, I only have one commitment per day on the weekend, depending on what it is, maybe I can do two if one's in the morning. And then I have the day to come home and ones in the evening. And most of my weeknights are free. That is definitely not always the case. But that's what I work towards. And so this overall real evaluation of what is on my plate at work, and what is on my plate in my life, and how do I spend my time was pivotal in managing and moving through my burnout.

Number seven, reconnecting to my body. I had a moment when I was being coached by a peer last year. And she asked me what I felt in my body or what my body was saying something like that. And I couldn't answer, which was so disorienting, because I tend to be this really body aware person, this person who is embodied and in their body. And that was really one of the moments that told me, I needed to admit that I was burning out. Because I was trying to listen to my body, and I could not really hear what it was saying clearly.

So healing my burnout also involved reconnecting to my body, not just in the morning, like I talked about before, but also throughout the day, I brought travel yoga mat to the office, so I could do a quick little yoga flow during the day, or I'll put on a song to dance or sometimes I'll like, do kind of plyometric type stuff. Like I might do some football runs or something like that, just to get some movement and connection into my body. I want to be in my body and give myself opportunities throughout the day to reconnect to my body. Because when I live in my mind, which is where I like to live, that's when I start pushing myself past my physical limits, because I'm so disengaged with my body that I feel like I can do anything, even if my body is trying to speak to me. And so when I'm reconnecting to my body, I'm a lot kinder to my body physically, yes. But I'm also a lot more aware of my limits as a human.

Number eight, be slower at saying yes, I have this tendency to want to say yes to everything. And my closest friends know that this is something I'm still working through. But after I did that work of reevaluating what's on my plate, I am trying to be careful about what I put back onto it. I'm taking longer to make decisions. Because I can get swept up in a moment and want to say yes to everything. Because I see someone's vision. And I like this person. And I'm so excited. I do this thing where I play the whole tape. If I say yes, what does this actually mean? What am I committing to? There's the time commitment on the surface. But what about the other time? What do I have to say no to if I say yes to this. Recently, I've just had to say no to two opportunities, that honestly would have been super fun to participate in. But as I played out, the tape, got into the logistics, I felt the overwhelm of like, oh, this is a quick turnaround for travel. Or oh, I would be running from this thing to that thing. And I don't want to be rushing that way. So I had to say no. And if I would have said yes, immediately, I would have locked myself into something that would have got me into that place of overwhelm, that tends to get me into the place of burnout.

Number nine, work with my brain, not against it. I realized that some of my burnout stemmed from me trying to do things in a way that did not agree with my brain. Now, as I'm moving through and managing my burnout, I try to work with my brain. And for me, a lot of this is coming up as I have been coming to terms of my own neurodivergence, but I think this applies to everyone. Everyone has their own preferences for how they like to work. They may be more or less mainstream, more or less prominent. Some of the things that I have to do is set reminders, instead of expecting myself to remember everything. There was this pride that I had in like I shouldn't need support, I should just be able to remember everything hold it all up in my brain. But my brain can be a lot more useful when I have a space that's freed up from not having to remember all of these things. So I set reminders, or I text someone so that they know as well.

Another thing that I've started doing is I use a tool called my mind to hold many of my thoughts and my ideas. And that's been really nice too, to have this place where things can go there. I still use Notion for some organizational tasks in the business but my mind really like, I can put articles, I can put things that I want to buy, I can put things that I want to do someday. And it kind of categorizes itself, which makes it really easy for me. Because sometimes the work of putting something into a tool,  if it's too many steps, I ended up not doing it and then I try and hold it in my brain, and then my brain gets overwhelmed. And then when I'm burned out, that's a whole thing. And so just having tools like that works really well for me.

And then finally, even something like I have been trying to get better at cleaning and tidying regularly in my home. And I have tried all kinds of things to get into a schedule. Some of which were really rigid, some of which were too fluid. And what's working for me right now is to approach cleaning in these kind of like adventurous sprints to see like how much I can get done in a certain amount of time. And to see the transformation of a specific area, even in like 15 minutes is really cool. My brain likes seeing again, I like accomplishments, I like seeing that there is a transformation that happens. And also 15 minutes doesn't feel overly daunting. And there's a lot that I can do to make it enjoyable - if I'm listening to a fun podcast or putting on a record as I'm cleaning. So those are all ways that I'm working with my brain and acknowledging the way that works instead of trying to completely change my brain.

And then finally, number 10 : allow products to support me. I intentionally put this last because I think our societal tendency is to go to products first, when they're a lot less crucial than we think. That being said, there were three products that truly helped me come back to a sense of stasis within myself. And as I share these, I feel like I should give a disclaimer, this isn't medical advice. These are three things that have worked for me. The first is Marea Wellness. I got diagnosed with PMDD, I've had a lot of like diagnoses, revelations in the past several months, and PMDD, premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, is basically an extreme version of PMS. And Marea is a drinkable multivitamin that helps with my symptoms. It's for PMS and PMDD. It's woman founded by a woman who also got diagnosed with PMDD, several years ago. And I've been I think I'm on my third month of taking it right now. And I've seen the differences even in like the physical symptoms that would come before my period that are no longer there. I'm curious, like they said I think three months is when they said like you can see the biggest turning point. But I'm, again headed into my third month as I'm recording this and have already seen a tangible shift.

The other two have been a couple of herbal supplements. So hopefully I'm pronouncing these correctly. The first one is rhodiola rosea, which is said to help with brain performance, stress, anxiety and fatigue. I take it in the morning. I also take ashwagandha, which is said to help with the similar things: stress, brain and cognitive function and anxiety. These two things, they definitely did not take my anxiety away. But what I have noticed is that I feel a lot more energized just throughout the day, I have a lot less extreme PMS or PMDD symptoms. And there just seems to be a range of emotions that feels more manageable for me throughout my days. So that's been really helpful. As I'm moving through this place where I was burned out. And am in a season where there's a lot of change and a lot of things that are honestly just uncomfortable about launching a book and sharing work with the world and these products have been helpful to me. I think we'll link Marea in the chat. And I get the rhodiola rosea and the ashwagandha from Mountain Rose Herbs. Not super expensive and is doing the trick for me but everybody is different.

So let's do a quick recap on those 10 things that I did to manage my burnout. One, tell people I'm struggling. Two, bring on a lot of support. Three, have fun projects. Four, double down on what's good for me. Five, seek accountability. Six, reevaluate what's on my plate. Seven, reconnect to my body. Eight, be slower at saying yes. Nine, work with my brain not against it and 10, allow products to support me.

So I can tell you that from when I was feeling like at my worst in probably November of last year to now, there is a marked difference. I also am aware of that, like, it is easy for me to take on tendencies and behaviors that bring me closer to burnout. And so I'm constantly monitoring myself, being in conversation with myself, practicing self care the way that we talk about it, listening within and responding with love, because if this experience has taught me anything, I am and many of us, are a lot closer to burnout than we realize. And it takes that constant conversation to make sure that we are protected and supported, and to do the work of healing if we are currently burned out. So I hope this episode was helpful for you. And if you're looking for more self care support, make sure you've pre ordered the Inner Workout book. I think that's it. 100 episodes, y'all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you again, especially if you made it to the end of the episode. We've got one more episode of this season and then in true healing and managing and trying to make sure I don't get burned out again fashion, we're taking a break so that we've got time to like chill and then produce another really good season. Thanks so much for your time. Thanks as always for your expertise. And take care everyone.