You work your ass off to get your career of the ground. Je werkt je te pletter om een carrière van de grond te krijgen. Under the motto ‘be obsessed, of be average’ you work long hours and you give it all each day to reach the success you eagerly desire. Workload, time pressure, anxiety for things to go wrong, sense of justice is being compromised; a burn-out is around the corner and before you know it you’re out of business.
A burn-out is suddenly there
Sometimes it seems that a burn-out comes out of nowhere. Still, there are plenty signs. Do you postpone fun? How often do you say ‘not right now’ to a holiday, a night out with friends, or sex with your partner? How often do you check your mail during dinner? And how often do you promise to catch up? Because ‘once this project is running or ended, you’ll have plenty of time’. While you know that after this project, there will be another. And then some. You have this constant feeling of stress and the pressure to perform and to lose control over the situation.
Worrying, trouble sleeping, less sex (drive); all signs of a burn-out. If you don’t make enough time to relax, the turmoil grows.
We seak of a burn-out, or overload, when there is chronically increased level of stress. You develop complains like persistent physical and/or emotional exhaustion. You hardly sleep, or you can’t get out of bed. You feel worn out. In addition you experience physical stress signals, like a restless rushed feeling, head and neck or shoulder pains, troubles concentrating and forgetfulness. Some people get palpitation, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress. You are irritable and have little tolerance.
Work induced stress is occupational disease number one in The Netherlands. One in seven employees annually reports a burn-out. About 5% of the workforce ends up in a long term sickbed. On average, a burn-out leads to 242 days of absenteeism.
The consequences of a burn-out for your sex life
If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, it isn’t easy to make time for your partner. It is difficult to relax and your head is occupied with other stuff. You are literally too exhausted to be intimate. You’re being snippy and you take it out on your partner and your environment. Sex is the last thing on your mind. Yet something more on your to do list. Oh, please … If things aren’t worse enough, your not only failing at work, but now you suck on keeping control in your relationship as well.
Stress in your body releases the hormone cortisol. This is the hormone that makes you fight or flight in situations that need action. During seks cortisol is the hormone that makes you feel excited during foreplay. A burn-out causes a constant high level of cortisol. This will cause that constant level of restlessness. Your endocrine system gets disrupted. As a result you produce lower levels of the ‘pleasure hormones’ dopamine and serotonine.
Self care as a means to fight stress and a burn-out
You can help yourself, if you recognize the signals of a burn-out in time. Identify your personal needs and take conscious actions to fulfill those needs. The idea is to take as good care for yourself as you wish others to take care for you. You can do this on seven areas: physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, socially, relational and practically.
Consciously taking care of yourself (self care) is a non-negotiable way to achieve your goals, both in business as in private, and to stay healthy. Because if you don’t take good care of yourself, it will take its toll on the inner circle of friends, family, but also colleagues and customers. Consider yourself to be a company of which you are the CEO. Be proactive and accountable for you own happiness. Every single day.
Life is complex and it is impossible to be in control over everything. The only thing you can be in control of, is your state of mind. That should be priority number one. Some do this by meditating. It won’t make your anger, frustration, total madness and other negative feelings disappear. But you will accept that you have those feelings and that they can’t run your life. One minute a day, can make a difference. Stop what it is you are ding, even for a minute. Practice breath exercises. Reset & Recharge. Go lie down with your legs up (not in a sexual manner). Switch off your computer and put your telephone in flight mode.
If you don’t have the time to take a bath or go to the beach, at least take the time for breathing exercises. I use an app on my phone that asks me to stop and coaches me to do this. This may sound silly, but it reduces the production of adrenaline and cortisol, lowers the blood pressure and decreases your heart rate. You will calm down.
Being the manager of yourself, of course you make a planning. Apps like Headspace can help you. Be sure to plan a couple of minutes a day for meditation or breathing exercises. Plan lunch breaks; put them in your schedule. Challenge yourself in intellectual ways too. Plan to at least listen to a podcast, like TedTalks Business or Sex With Emily, once a week. Don’t skip the drinks with your colleagues on Friday, but say ‘yes’. Invite friends to come over during the weekends. Plan to sport. Learn to kick-box. Or darts. Whatever. Of course it introduces a new kind of stress, but you will thank yourself for that. Put electronics off, an hour before you go to sleep. No TV, no phone, no iPad. Leave room in your schedule between two appointments to take action or to plan.
Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make for your own success.
Sex to fight a burn-out
Intimacy is extremely important to fight a burn-out. Physical exercise helps a lot of people. But why run for half an hour, if you can jump in bed with your partner for half an hour? Above I described how you should be the CEO of yourself and to take accountability by taking good care of yourself by planning.
The same accounts for sex. It is the first thing we seem to drop if we are stressed. But if you make sure that you settle down, there will be room for intimacy again. There is evidence that sex will produce endorphin and dopamine. These hormones will normalize your cortisol levels.
Planning sex and intimacy should feel like an investment in your relation for the both of you. Planning sex is also a way to get in the mood. Plan things on a regular basis. Friday night for sports. Saturday is time for your self. And Saturday night is for fucking. Or, start each day with a shower and masturbate. This way, all your needs are fulfulled and not only the physical ones.