Did you know Perimenopause can cause burnout? Why I took a career break.
Did you know perimenopause can cause burnout? I certainly didn't. But instead of feeling like my usual energetic self, I had started to feel like I was running on a treadmill, constantly pushing myself to keep up with life's demands, and yet I was constantly falling behind. That was me last year. I was experiencing a level of burnout that I didn't even know was possible. I felt exhausted all the time, my emotions were all over the place, and I was struggling to keep up with work and home life.
As I dug deeper, I discovered that perimenopause, the (often long) period of time leading up to menopause, can cause the body to go through hormonal changes that can cause a wide range of symptoms, from the physical to the emotional.
One of the symptoms that really surprised me was burnout. I had always thought of burnout as something that happened to people who worked too hard or too much. But as it turns out, burnout can also be caused by hormonal imbalances during perimenopause.
Studies have shown that women going through perimenopause are at a higher risk for burnout. This is likely due to the fact that the hormonal changes can affect mood, energy levels, and sleep patterns, all of which are crucial for managing stress and avoiding burnout.
For me, the symptoms of perimenopause and burnout were starting to affect my work life. I was having trouble concentrating, and my energy levels were constantly fluctuating. I was also experiencing anxiety and mood swings, which made it difficult to work with my colleagues.
After some soul-searching, I made the difficult decision to take a career break. It wasn't an easy choice, but I knew that I needed to take care of myself before I could be effective at work.
I was also lucky enough to discover the book "Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle" by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, after listening to a Brene Brown podcast. This book was a game-changer for me. It helped me understand that what I was experiencing was not just stress, but actual burnout, and that it was a completely normal response to the demands of modern life.
The authors describe burnout as "a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress." They go on to explain that the stress response is a cycle that our bodies go through, and that we need to complete this cycle in order to recover from stress. The book is full of practical advice and strategies for completing the stress cycle and recovering from burnout.
One of the things I appreciated most about this book was the authors' emphasis on the importance of self-compassion. They acknowledge that burnout is not a personal failing, but a result of living in a culture that prioritizes productivity and achievement over rest and recovery. This message was a lifesaver for me, as it helped me to let go of the shame and guilt I was feeling about my burnout.
Overall, "Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle" was the lifesaver I needed in order to put in place strategies to recover. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and burned out. It's full of practical advice, compassion, and humor, and it will leave you feeling empowered to take control of your own recovery.
Taking a career break was a scary and uncertain decision, but it ended up being the best thing for me. It gave me the time and space I needed to focus on my health and well-being, and to get the treatment I needed for my perimenopause symptoms.
If you're going through perimenopause and feeling burnt out, know that you're not alone. It's important to prioritise your health and well-being, and to seek out the support and resources you need to manage your symptoms. Remember, taking care of yourself is the first step to being able to take care of others, whether that's at work or at home.