The Focus On You

Self-Care Is A Lifestyle

Author: thefocusonyou (page 2 of 70)

The Significance Of “Nice For What.”

Warning: I normally don’t use foul language but I had to speak from the heart. 

When Drake dropped a Lauryn Hill sample over empowering lyrics people lost their mind.

Present company included…..

Recent messages centered around “speaking up” are all over the news lately. But do you know the courage it takes to speak up for yourself? Especially as a woman??

Many women are afraid of calling out abusers, harassers and toxic family members yet the rest of us keep pushing them to speak up. Do you know the backlash they get? When you’re afraid to use your voice and you get shit on, it makes you want to give up. I see this with my clients every day.

Some people are afraid to even ask for a raise or a vacation day. And with all this pressure to “speak up” women bear the burden of being “nice” about it.

The emotional labor that drains women, moms and/or the household manager in your home is no joke. Like dirty laundry, emotional labor piles up. In a nutshell, emotional labor is when family or household tasks require time, problem solving and management. It can be draining and is usually overlooked. Although the name  suggests “emotion” it’s really all the behind-the-scenes planning and administrative work that causes “multiple tabs to be open in our brains.” For most women, it’s frustrating to even ask for help with emotional labor and even more draining trying to explain what one task entails.

For someone suffering with the overwhelm of emotional labor, how many things fall apart when you’re no longer “nice for what?”

In the last year my professional future has been at the mercy of bureaucrats and I am currently exhausted from being nice. I was taught that you “get more flies with honey than vinegar.” I know it’s not spiritually correct to be an ass, but what happens when you feel taken advantage of? Click To Tweet They say that people get angry or raise their voice when they’re not being heard. After months of being unheard it’s a daily chore to speak up, write angry emails and try not to lose my mind. Now I wonder if men use this same principle or do they have it easier? (Let me bookmark that for a later post).

Normally my posts are centered on educating or enlightening people but now I come to my audience confused, exhausted and asking for help.

Where is the balance between being kind and getting to the fuck-it level of “nice for what?”


Feel free to comment on any of my social media pages with #thefocusonyou.
Let’s keep this conversation going! 

 How To Recognize Burnout vs. Depression

“Ugh work is so depressing.”

“OMG I’m so burnt out on school.”

I’m sure you’ve heard these phrases before. I think most people have used the terms “burnout” and “depression” when they’re describing how tired they are. Since I cringe when diagnoses are used loosely, I want to discuss the difference between the two.

We know that depression doesn’t discriminate but burnout can have a profound effect on certain populations of people.

Who is likely to be affected by burnout?
  • Caregivers
  • Anyone with a job (seriously)
  • Helping professions (therapists, social workers, nurses, etc.)
  • Stay at home parents
  • Entrepeneurs
  • Creatives
  • First responders
  • Medical professionals
  • College students
  • Activists
Who is likely to be affected by depression?
  • Any human.

Although many of the signs of depression can mimic burnout, this ailment is directly linked to our professional or identifying roles. Anti-depressants can’t treat burnout. Depression is a serious diagnosis made by a licensed professional and can be life altering. It’s not an adjective to describe why you’re overworked or exhausted.

Many times burnout is driven by a person’s passion or obligation to someone else. Click To Tweet In young professionals, burnout is likely to occur when they walk in with 150% passion and drive, and their expectations are not met.

What are some of the signs of a person being burned out?

Tunnel vision: People who are burned out from their profession start to get narrow sighted. They may have forgotten why they are in this profession or why they are in school. They are also likely to forget what they’re grateful for. Tunnel vision causes someone to forget the compliment last week or the stellar deal they landed last month. The weight of their routine and daily stressors cause cynicism.

Overcomplaining: Unfortunately, burnout effects bleed into all areas of someone’s life. If they’re burned out at work, they’ll gripe about it at home, and vice versa. When someone starts complaining about everything, everywhere, it is usually a sign that they’re struggling somewhere in their schedule. This is harmful for helping professionals because a foul attitude affects how clients or patients are treated. As a helping professional I can’t roll my eyes or gripe out loud. I have learned to check that behavior and it’s usually a sign I need to adjust my schedule or increase my self-care.

Are You Ok?: If people you associate with start asking you this, beware. You’re definitely on the road to exhaustion. It may be wise to ask the person what differences they notice in you. If they can give helpful feedback, maybe they notice that you’re not eating, you’re cursing more, showing up late or you have snappy remarks. If you notice your “tells” then it won’t take a breakdown or one-on-one with the boss to make you snap out of your behavior.

Making More Mistakes: People who are burned out in their roles will put less effort into their usual tasks. Bosses will skip the agenda for meetings, parents will cook less meals, caregivers may neglect cleaning duties, etc. Studies have even shown that people with signs of burnout show different brain activity when doing normal tasks. Can you afford to make mistakes in your line of work because you’re not addressing your burnout?

How to deal?
  1. For caregivers in particular, find a way to delegate some responsibility or ask for respite. You need a break in your routine and even a few hours can make a difference. Find a way to change the routine with the person you care for. Watch a movie together, bring in exotic cuisine, rearrange pictures or furniture. Shake things up!

  2. If your burnout is work or school related, you could also benefit from a change of routine and scenery. Clean up the clutter in your work area, beautify your environment, add visual elements that promote peace, study in a new location, study at a different time of day, etc. The answer isn’t to quit your job or school. You have to make the time you spend manageable and fit it to your needs. And please assess whether you have vacation or sick time that is unused. I have been overwhelmed/burned out by my counseling schedule and had to plead to a former employer for an office day to catch up on paperwork. It may sound crazy but I actually looked forward to a day alone in my office, with some music and a schedule that allowed me to kill my stack of paperwork.

  3. Readjust your goals or projects. Maybe your burnout is due to poor boundaries. Are you taking on too much just to please someone? Did you take on a full course load at school just to prove to your family that you could handle it? For the sake of your mental health, you should reassess how much you’re willing to take on. Don’t martyr yourself when no one is going to notice or be supportive of your struggle.

Seriously, routines can kill us. Exhaustion and stress can lead us to the emergency room. No one sees what we go through except us. This means that no one knows what we need but us. Click To Tweet Unfortunately, it took being diagnosed with fibromyalgia to slow me down. And now I have no choice but to ask for help and to honor what my body needs. No one can heal me but me. And everyone deserves a break.

“Without self-correction we cannot thrive.”




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