After a 72-hour migraine, I found myself in an emergency room with debilitating pain. The doctor found nothing wrong and my vitals were all clear. Yet, the headaches persisted, and I knew this was something deeper. For months, my energy had been decreasing and the easiest tasks had to be broken up into parts. I was exhausted. Not your average get a good night's rest and wake up refreshed, but the kind of exhaustion that tires out every fiber in your body, forcing you to have several seats without consent. I was experiencing burnout.
The stress of trying to be the magical black girl, doing all things for all people, all while keeping up my social calendar after losing my job and trying not to lose my cool. My body was taxed and the stress manifested in form of migraines, stomach pain, and fatigue. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
This wasn't the first time I've experienced this. In undergrad, after returning from a semester abroad, I received the news that two of my classes wouldn't be accepted. This forced me into overdrive since my ego wouldn't allow me not to graduate on time. I took 18 credits in the fall, 3 credits during the winter session, 22 credits in the spring, which required approval from the dean, and 6 credits in the summer. I did all this while commuting and working part-time.
You may say I have a penchant for working in high-stress situations; I would say I didn't know how to function otherwise.
Many of us don't know when we're dealing with burnout or chronic burnout. Common symptoms of burnout include:
- Development of an escapist mentality
- Feeling empty inside
- Obsession over problems at work or in life
- Pessimistic outlook on work and life
- Physical symptoms intensify and/or increase
- Social isolation
- Behavioral changes
- Chronic headaches
- Chronic stomach or bowel problems
- Complete neglect of personal needs
- Continuation or increase in escapist activities
- Desire to "drop out" of society
- Desire to move away from work or friends/family
According to Fast Company:
"Millennials are called the burnout generation. High-achieving perfectionists–especially self-critical ones–work hard to avoid failure and put themselves at higher risk of burnout. We graduated college with the pressure to be 'successful,' and we've been told that means aiming (and climbing) for the top of the pyramid."
I've had many peaks and valleys in my life and throughout my career and each came with its own set of lessons. Now I know the only way for me to get out of this rut was to tell the truth, first to myself, and then to others. As painful as it is, introspection is a necessary first step in your healing journey. Think about your personal life. Do you have social support, and work-life balance? What about your job? Do you feel in control of your career, have clear job expectations, and feel like the work is a "fit" for your skills, or interests? If you answer "no" to these, you may be honing in on the areas of your life that could be setting you up for burnout.
If you're experiencing burnout, here's how to get through it:
1. Make Gratitude Your Constant Companion
Gratitude is the ultimate sign of being thankful. Honoring the journey allows you to stay current and connected to the issues at hand.
2. Schedule Content In Advance
Batching goes a long way for your blog, social media, or podcast. The same goes for email. If you respond to an email on a Sunday, use an app like Boomerang to schedule it to send at 9 a.m. on Monday. And if you're a fan of Gmail, you can also now schedule your emails to send through your desktop version of the platform.
3. Manage Expectations And Delegate
Outsource work and build a supportive network of people you can rely on when you need help.
4. Create And Stick To Your Boundaries
Most of us don't realize that "no" is a complete sentence. It's time to put your big girl panties on and let them know they cannot and will not take advantage of you.
5. Make Space For Joy
Put on your favorite music, drop it low, and pick it back up. This could also include meditation, reading, or enjoying your favorite TV show.
6. Take A Nature Break
The sun naturally energizes you. Take your lunch break and go for a walk, you deserve it.
7. Above All Things, Get Your Rest
You must prioritize your sleep when recovering from burnout. Prepare for sleep 2-3 hours before bed by setting a nighttime routine, this could include defining your working hours, meal-prepping in advance, and whatever you find necessary.
I want you to know that burnout shouldn't be praised as a marker of hard work or success, but an indicator that self-care is needed. Take the break, sis.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Minimize Burnout: This Is What Self-Care Looks Like For The xoNecole Staff
Stop Playing Catch Up & Do This Instead
Lessons I Learned In The Stillness Of Recovery
I Tried Flotation As An Act Of Self-Care & It Changed The Game
Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)
Featured image by Shutterstock
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- Avoid Burnout Before You're Already Burned Out - The New York ... ›
- 5 Proven (and Not Obvious) Ways to Avoid Burning Out | Inc.com ›
- 7 Strategies to Prevent Burnout | Psychology Today ›
- How to Avoid Burnout: Marissa Mayer - Bloomberg ›
- 13 Ways the Busiest People Ever Avoid Burnout | The Muse ›
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- How to Minimize Stress and Avoid Burnout | Goop ›
Ayana Iman is a certified life coach, professional speaker, and mama of one based in New Jersey. She's also known for her love of big hair, travel, and cooking. Find her across social @AyanaIman.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Marsai Martin Gets Real About Her Decision To Undergo Surgery To Remove A 'Grapefruit-Sized' Ovarian Cyst
Actress Marsai Martin is showcasing the importance of advocating for one's health after recently opening up about her ovarian cyst surgery. For context, the 18-year-old revealed in a now-deleted Instagram story last December that she underwent a medical procedure to remove the large ovarian cyst that gave her "constant pain" for years, especially during her menstrual cycle.
According to Mayo Clinic, an ovarian cyst is described as a sac "usually filled with fluid" in an individual's ovary or near it. Although it is relatively common, with one in ten women diagnosed with a cyst, many experience little to no symptoms because it usually goes away. Those with pain and discomfort often have a large ovarian cyst, which was the case for Martin.
During a discussion with Women's Health magazine, Martin opened up about her menstrual cycle and when she started noticing the symptoms. The black-ish star told the publication she started her period at 11 but didn't experience any unusual pains until she was 14.
Coincidentally this event occurred a little after she was diagnosed by a medical professional with an ovarian cyst "the size of a small grapefruit."
Martin's Symptoms With A Large Ovarian Cyst:
In light of her diagnosis, Martin didn't think much of it because, at the time, her doctor told her that cysts usually disappear on their own. Over the years, as she got her menstrual cycle, Martin had extreme pain and severe nausea.
Even though she often combated the cramps with medication such as Aleve and naproxen, per doctor's orders, Martin shared that the pain would eventually progress so much that she couldn't keep "food or water" in her system.
Martin also revealed that these symptoms negatively impacted her daily routine, such as work and participating in social activities. The star further explained that she thought these signs were typical and didn't go to the hospital because of what her mother, Carol Martin, previously mentioned and warned her about while discussing the history of her own menstrual cycles.
Martin's Health Took a Toll At Age 17:
All this came to a head when Martin was 17 years old. The Little star decided to go to the hospital because the pain became unbearable.
"But one day, when I was 17, I just couldn't take it anymore. I had extreme cramps, and I was so nauseous, I wasn't able to eat or drink," she said. Martin added that the pain and nausea had limited her mobility.
"It felt like I couldn't move. The slightest sip of water would make me projectile vomit. I had lower back pain, dizziness, migraines, and tender breasts, and on top of that. The pain had been constant from the moment I woke up, and it was so unbearable that I finally went to the ER around 8 p.m.," the star stated.
During her hospitalization, Martin was informed that she was dehydrated and that the pain she was going through was because of the large cyst. Despite already being well aware of the ovarian cyst, which was "9.5 centimeters in diameter," due to her diagnosis years before, Martin shared she didn't know that it was the primary cause of her pain.
Following her stay, Martin's physician would refer her to a gynecologist, who gave her various options to resolve the issue. The list included taking birth control pills to shrink the cyst or having surgery to remove it completely. Martin disclosed after taking two weeks to weigh her options following her 18th birthday, she ultimately decided to undergo the procedure and scheduled it for December 2022.
Although Martin was initially afraid about the operation because she was uncertain how her body would react, all of that disappeared after the surgery. Martin would go on to express that it was one of her best decisions ever.
Following the procedure, even though Martin experienced some pain post-surgery, it ceased as the days passed, and she started moving around. Since the operation, Martin shared that her menstrual cycles have drastically improved.
Martin On Why She Shared Her Story:
Near the end of the interview, Martin explained that one of the main reasons she's been very vocal about her experience with her ovarian cyst by sharing it online is because she doesn't want others to remain silent about their health struggles and wants them to get a "second opinion."
"I hope my story will encourage other women to not accept a life of pain, to get a second opinion. Pain is not normal," she said. "I want other women to talk about their pain, and to keep speaking out until they're taken seriously. And to the women out there suffering silently right now: You owe it to yourself to speak up."
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Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Paramount+