Burnout. Survival Mode. Treading water.
Psychology Today calls it: a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. This isn’t just about working too hard, or too much. It’s about carrying a load that’s too heavy, for too long.
Often, survival mode sets in slowly, and we go from healthy, flourishing and thriving to always sick, negative, exhausted and treading water just to make it through the day. You could look back at who you have become over the course of a year or two and wonder who you are anymore and how you got there.
I’ve been there. Many of us have. I’ve also moved through it - and so can you. The first step? Calling it what it is. This is SO important - often the effects stress and burnout are treated and managed in isolation from their root cause. When you realize how many of your seemingly disconnected physical, emotional and behavioral puzzle pieces are all actually of the same picture. It finally makes sense, you can extend yourself compassion, empathy and most importantly, you can plan your way out knowing where you are, and how to get the heck outta there.
Here are 5 physical, emotional and behavioral signs you may be in survival mode:
A BODY IN SURVIVAL MODE:
Is ALWAYS tired. (and needs a lot of caffeine to get it going throughout the day and has ZERO margin or capacity for anything other than surviving the day)
Struggles with gastrointestinal discomfort.
Is in pain often. (from headaches, migraines to chest, back, neck and shoulder pain)
Sleeps very poorly (particularly between midnight and 3am).
Is becoming increasingly sensitive to different allergens and sensitivities.
EMOTIONAL SURVIVAL MODE LOOKS LIKE:
Becoming increasingly cynical and negative (the glass always seems half-empty)
Becoming increasingly emotional and turning into a puddle of tears very easily.
Increasingly struggling with anxiety and depression.
Experiencing lots of mood swings - finding yourself very irritable, aggressive and angry.
Feeling very scatterbrained - not being able to focus easily, and becoming increasingly forgetful.
A LIFE IN SURVIVAL MODE TENDS TO:
Struggle increasingly with relationship problems.
Have a lower or no sex -drive.
Feel drawn to or prone to very risky and dangerous behavior.
Feel drawn to or prone to self-destructive and numbing behavior like substance abuse.
Feeling completely dissatisfied with life/work/family and feeling like a failure.
If you said YES to three or more of any of these statements in each category, you may be in survival mode and treading water in life.
In my free Facebook Community, Flourish - I put together a "Survival Mode Stocktake" - where I discuss these characteristic as well as about 5 more in each category in depth, as well as provide you with detailed self-awareness tools, like this Stress Test to help you come to grips with where you are .
I also have an entire library of natural and holistic tools and resources that you can use to plot your “Survival Mode Exit Strategy”.
These are open to everyone and my gift to you - for more information or to join - please click HERE.