You probably have already learned what can happen when you unselfishly take on everything that comes your way and keep doing for all those around you. It’s called “burnout.” Burnout happens when there’s a lack of reciprocity. All giving, no receiving. Burnout can lead us to use food to fill ourselves up and cope with the emptiness that is probably not hunger.
We can’t run on “empty.” We can only pretend we can, and all that pretending gets us into trouble that looks nothing like emotional fulfillment. Running on empty has its symptoms: cranky, sad, biting, accusatory, feeling of worthlessness (the list goes on and on) and those strong feelings often lead to out of awareness eating. Binge eating in the moment may seem like a solution to overcoming feelings of emptiness and depletion. We think that it hardly seems fair that we work so hard for others and end up feeling like no one’s on our side or watching out for us. This might feel like hollowness. Try as we may, we cannot fill that hollowness with yet more emptiness.
But guess what? If you don’t value yourself, you can’t expect others to do it for you. Start with recognizing how you’ve taught others that you’re their gofer. Notice which of your priorities go unattended while you do for everyone else. Do you find yourself using food to deal with your disappointment?
When you find yourself feeling burnt out or fried, ASK:
- What do I need to do to feel satisfied and happy?
- Do I need to learn to be better at receiving?
- Do I need to put my interest and intentions on my calendar?
- Do I need to trust others to love me even when I say ‘no’?
Moving beyond burnout is starting with very small steps so you don’t get overwhelmed by your self care. Take one small step today just for you.