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From overwhelmed and stressed to coping, saying no, finding balance and regaining control

The situation

  • When I first met Tracy I was concerned. She sounded like she was well on the way to burnout without recognising any of the signs. All she knew was that she was overworked, overstressed and feeling awful. Work had consumed her life and it was affecting her health and her relationships. She constantly felt she was running to stand still and worried about forgetting things and not performing at her job. She couldn't see any way to change her situation

 

What we did

  • Talked about stress and the impact of our fight, flight or freeze response Tracy was able to feel normal as she could recognise she was having a normal human reaction to a situation that her mind perceived as risking her survival. She also realised how important it was to do something about her situation now, given the long term effects of continually being in 'survival' mode.

  • Found some options for managing stress ​that Tracy could experiment with

    • We ​looked at what she could do about the external stressors - her workload in particular. One of the biggest things we found was that Tracy realised she was 'over helpful'. She couldn't say 'no' and many of the things on her list of things to do were really someone else's priority and responsibility and not hers.

    • We challenged the internal dialogue and the rules she had that were causing her to take on this extra work. She found a way to be comfortable with saying no to people, and a way to accept that her time was precious and it was ok to prioritise and focus on what she needed to do.

    • We talked about what Tracy's signs of stress were and developed a few options for getting her back to a calm place when she noticed them.

  • Explored options and the permission for Tracy to look after herself Tracy could see the risks she would be taking and where she might end up if she continued as she was. She accepted that she needed to take more care of herself and we agreed a few small things to help her start doing this. 

The result

This was the first of a number of sessions where we explored options that were adapted through reflection of what was working and what wasn't. With new habits determined and embedded over time through continued practice and focus. 

The result was that Tracy

  • Addressed her list of things to do until it only contained the things that were her priority. And more importantly, kept it that way.

  • Learnt to say 'no' in a way that was authentic for her and guided people to find their own solutions.

  • Achieved a better work life balance. Her time off was just that and she spent it doing things that she knew would restore her.

  • Felt more in control of her life. Knowing she had a strategy to diffuse her feelings of stress and that she was actively managing her workload and priorities and looking after herself.

What my client said 

Thank you so much - you’ve made everything much clearer - its been amazing! I feel like myself again and am enjoying having my life back.