For the past 5 days and counting I’ve been ill, which sucks (obviously) and by ill I don’t mean a little tickle in my throat or a stuffy nose, I mean a full on evil virus which took me down and beat me to an exhausted, immobile pulp.
Easter was spent with my head down the toilet or shivering uncontrollably, It’s only today that I’ve started to feel more human (though still exhausted, achey and bit nauseous) and on the plus side i’ve lost 2 kg’s and counting. But today I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to my husband (AKA Brute). I do of course always feel grateful to have him, but today for the third morning in a row he sloped off for breakfast with Rex and Tony whispering ‘let’s leave mummy to sleep’, I couldn’t have been more thankful for those 5 words.
The lead up to Easter had been amazing, my dad was over from South Africa for a week for my nephew’s christening and for my birthday, the sun was shining so we were ready to continue the mass wave of soft focus happiness into the Easter weekend. Good Friday the three of us plus Tony and his friend Harvey head off to Henley and Marlow for a day out which was the start of our wholesome family weekend after my dad left. We went to the fair, walked the river, explored the towns which I hadn’t been back to since I was in Boarding school not far away, as it happens it was the only day of the weekend we ended up with.
Easter Saturday we had thought we would head to Richmond park and take a lovely long walk and frolic with the deer in the sunshine, as you do. Sunday we had a big meal organised with family and Monday would be spent relaxing before the week started. However, this was not to be, instead when Brute arrived back from the gym on Saturday lunchtime I dragged myself back to bed, my whole body ached and I physically felt like I didn’t have one ounce of energy left. I had promised my sister I would make a dessert and had everything ready to make a bakewell tart. I love cooking (as you probably realise) so am furious with myself that I didn’t just take my sisters offer to buy a dessert so I didn’t have to worry but instead produced a less than perfect pretty sloppy bakewell tart – Mary Berry would not have been pleased.
As you’ll see above, steps 1, 2 & 3 pretty much fine, homemade pastry, homemade jam, homemade frangipane and then baked and all looking pretty fly but then much like my health it took a nose dive, I was starting to feel like hell and just wanted it finished so I rushed it.
LOOK AT THE STATE OF IT – now a lot of people who take their baking seriously, you know people that are setting up a business around it and stuff, probably wouldn’t post pictures like the above of major fails, but hey thats life and I feel like it should be ok to fail and be open about it – you’re probably thinking ‘ummm it’s just a slightly sloppy bakewell tart’, but I’m not just referring to baking, I’m referring to everything. I see so many posts and pictures of people and things and work that has been made to look utterly perfect (and yes I’m guilty of that too) but maybe we would be less stressed and put less pressure on ourselves if we all showed things in a less than perfect manner – pressure and stress are huge factors in people burning out. So lets accept that we’re all human and we can’t be perfect all the time.
See if I listened to my own advice I would have admitted defeat and left the Easter Sunday lunch after an hour or two and just come home, but I didn’t want to miss out, I knew it was going to be fun as it always is when we all get together so I forced myself to stick it out till 7pm (we go there at 1pm) by which point I was barely able to function and Brute put Rex and I in a cab home and that night the virus got far worse. See, if I’d been sensible and gone home early then I probably would still feel rubbish but I probably wouldn’t have gone from achey under the weather to full on vomiting uncontrollably. But then me and being sensible have never gone hand in hand & though I wouldn’t have it any other way I do wish that just sometimes I would listen to the angel on my shoulder every once in a while..
And so it was that Monday and Tuesday were spent firmly dying in bed, not being able to eat, and sulking as my perfect family Easter was out the window. But actually although on the face of it Easter was a flop, actually (to go full circle) it gave me a bit of time to sit back and appreciate the things around me – to acknowledge that if I am burnt out Brute is there for me to gently fall back on. I don’t need to do everything, be everything, push myself to breaking point to….. and that Tony will never not be looking out for me.
Tips for getting through a burn out:
- Admit defeat – don’t try and keep on keeping on just to be tough, it will only leave you feeling rough for longer (yes I’m guilty of that hence being ill for so long)
- Ask for help – I know most of us take on things like we’re super human, doing more and more and more, but why not make life a little easier and ask for help once in a while, we all deserve a little help after all.
- Have a bath or two – anyone that knows me, knows that I am obsessed with the bath, I have one every single night and if there is any humanly possible way I can get two baths in, then I will. It is simply the best way to relax and if your joints are aching then the hot water will help ease it.
- Sleep – working or looking after children means getting up early, so as soon as you start to feel like you might be getting run down, make your bedtime an hour earlier – there is no more important thing than being rested.
- Eat sensible – By that I am not saying I eat salads, quinoa, bulgur wheat blah blah blah I mean I just eat according to the situation. If I have the flu then its three proper meals a day, even a nice take away (I’m not kidding myself I’m not THAT healthy) Though with this particular virus I wasn’t able to stomach a single thing till yesterday when I had to relent and go to the Dr and had some toast.
If I could be so bold as to plug a superb skincare brand that has everything you need to help relax, nourish and rest your body in the face of Burn Out, then Africology is it – the products are beautiful, luxurious and natural and not only that but they have an extremely strong ethical and moral philosophy. They say NO to animal testing in any way shape or form, they grow as much of the organic ingredients on their own farm and they have a skills transfer project which aims to give back to the local community by teaching under privileged men and women Africology therapy and retail protocols – plus they fly the flag for my home and are proudly South African.
My three products I can’t live without when I’m feeling hopelessly burnt out are: