It’s World Mental Health Day today and something which has a significant effect on my mental health is burnout. As a co-parenting, mum-of-two, life is often a juggle. Now add in running my own business, being there for friends and family, oh, and of course, looking after my health and it all becomes too much! I have suffered from burnout three times since the end of lockdown and have struggled to adapt to the fast pace of life again, so when I was offered the chance to review a book by psychologist, Thijs Launspach on this very topic, I jumped at the opportunity.
Crazy Busy aims to educate the reader on stress and burnout, why it happens, recognising your personal stress base level and how to make changes to live a calmer and more mindful life. Thijs shares expert scientific knowledge as well as case studies with real people.
One thing I struggle with is finding the time to fit everything in. I have always identified as a perfectionist, maybe even high functioning anxiety, and I often put pressure on myself to give 100%. I also have an addiction to the online world, Instagram, TikTok, Spotify, so my brain never switches off and that has led to problems with focusing on important tasks. I didn’t realise how bad my screen time was until I was gently prompted by Thijs to check my digital wellbeing stats. I was shocked to see that I was averaging 5-6 hours a day online and on one particular day it was even higher! To quote Thijs, “That’s a lot of life time!”
Thijs emphasises the importance of turning off notifications and making yourself less available to others. We don’t need to be available 24/7 and it’s OK to set boundaries to protect your time (he talks about how to communicate this boundary and how to deal with the ways the receiver could react). Something which I also found helpful was his suggestion of drawing up a time budget for the week. It was interesting to see where I was using my time on tasks which weren’t important and how I could swap this for self-care time.
Perfectionism is also covered and this was probably the most helpful advice in the book for me and made me realise that I was high on the unhealthy perfectionism scale. This has always led me to doing too much for others. For example when working with a brand I’ll always do something extra and send in my work 48 hours before the deadline, putting way too much pressure on myself to be seen as perfect. I was always academic at school and praised for being a great reader for my age and throughout life I have sought that validation over and over again. I am now shifting my mindset to “It’s OK to be at 80%.”
Stress is covered in great depth, especially recognising your baseline stress level. I am keeping track of my levels this week as prompted in Chapter 4. Something which I found interesting is how stress affects different people. For me my main stress is health anxiety and it can be frustrating when I feel like a friend isn’t supportive or dismisses my concerns. Now I know why I get that knee-jerk reaction.
There is also great tips for productivity and managing stress at work. What I love about Thijs is that he comes across as non-judgemental in his language, so many self-help books can make you feel like the author is preaching to you and offers advice which feels out of your depth, so you never go through with it. I have found Crazy Busy so helpful, especially in realising that I can’t live a full life while staring at my phone for hours and not looking up at the world.
Thank you for sharing your genius with us, Thijs.