I am horrible at managing stress. And working with nonprofits leads to a large amount of stress during the final months of the year. Constant, repeated feelings of stress leads to burnout. Burnout is when you’re mentally and physically drained to the point where nothing matters to you.
I’ve spent the last two years dealing with burnout. I thought that 2021 was going to be better and I tried to stay very positive.
2020 was going to be the year that I really got in shape. It was my resolution to workout a minimum of 5 days per week at OrangeTheory Fitness. I was crushing it.
Then the pandemic began. Work sent us home. I was stressed about losing my job. Work had halted. And the world had paused.
By the end of April, work picked up 10x fold. Giving Tuesday Now was slated for May 5, 2020. I developed 80 fundraising emails for food bank clients in less than two weeks before that date. And that was my first experience of burnout. Giving Tuesday was December 1, 2020. I cried at all-staff meeting because I was so burnt out by the end of October.
I was waking up late (to work from home), showering at lunch, working 10-12 hour days, and drinking in excess. I wanted to escape from the amount of work. Coworkers would call and text my personal phone if I did’t answer their emails at all hours of the day. Then we were told that we were all coming back to the office. I knew I had to get out of the situation.
Within the first week of January I started applying to jobs. I was taking interviews with jobs I didn’t qualify for or was overqualified for. I was talking to as many recruiters as I could.
By April, I was starting to have really bad back pain. My stress was so high that I wasn’t correcting my posture. I joined MassageEnvy for the next year.
I didn’t land a job until July. Within two months, my manager quit. My department folded and my position merged into another department. And then the amount of work rose as we went into the final quarter. My stress levels went right back up. I wanted to escape from the amount of work. And the pain in my back was consistent.
We also started the pantry project and got a new puppy before Christmas. It was all too much. I was drinking in excess again and full of anxiety. Physically and emotionally and mentally drained from how much was going on. I couldn’t sleep because I was continuously checking mental boxes all night.
The first week of the year I tried to stay afloat. I had already written my #22in2022 goals, but I was only beginning to dig out.
I was beginning to grow my blog and workout consistently. Then Zack had a work trip and was gone for a week. I was alone with a new puppy, Colt and having to manage all my work. And I fell apart that week because I wasn’t enjoying my life. I wasn’t able to work on my goals and I really wanted to lean in hard and make some changes.
My back is still sore, but it’s sore less. My workout routine is easing a lot of the pain because I’m stretching more and getting healthy.
How Stress Affects Your Weight
I’m not professionally trained in health or medicine, so please seek out a doctor if you want to learn more. I read through this Everyday Health article to understand how stress affects my weight. Read more: How Constantly Feeling Stressed May Affect Your Weight
Stress increases the cortisol levels in the body. And cortisol can trigger a flight or fight response by releasing glucose into the bloodstream. But, too much cortisol can increase your appetite and affect your metabolism.
Higher cortisol levels resulting from insufficient sleep can furthermore influence areas in the brain that may further enhance the impact of stress. – Ariana M. Chao, PhD, RN
I was emotionally eating and drinking a lot and wasn’t getting enough sleep and my body was storing all the alcohol sugars. I also learned that too much cortisol causes fat in the abdominal area – exactly where I was heaviest.
I had very bad heartburn and acid reflux for quite a while. Most likely caused by the alcohol, but also can be caused by stress. I would have coughing fits where I would feel like my throat was closing up. I couldn’t even breathe because I was choking.
I couldn’t even bring myself look in a mirror. My reflection was repulsive. I had gained so much weight. My face wasn’t the same shape. Two years of stress changed me into someone I didn’t recognize any longer.
I’m sharing this because there might be someone else going through the exact same thing as I did. I’m letting you know that I’m a work in progress. So if you’re reading this, please know that it’s okay to reach out.
How Stress Affects Your Mind
I have imposter syndrome about what I can do and am capable of. It gives me anxiety and it holds me back personally and professionally. When you tell yourself that you’re not good enough on a daily basis it can start to affect how you feel about everything.
I’m going to put myself down in the next sentence. I don’t think this website is my best work. Do I hate it? No. Do I think I’m not capable? No. I don’t have the time that I want to put into it everyday, but I try to update little things every once in a while. I am, however, writing content that is focused on what I’ve learned and how it might help someone else. And I love helping people.
I’ve done my best to try to write this blog with the intentions of being helpful.
I started looking for help by listening to other people. The Goal Digger was the first podcast I listened to. I was trying to figure out how to sell my services as a photographer and Jenna was very helpful!
- Her Messy Bun
- The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher
- The Jasmine Star Show
- Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
How Stress Affects Your Skin
I made it a goal of mine last year to figure out a good skincare routine. When you’re stressed your body increases the production of cortisol and that can deplete your skin’s natural oils.
My skin was dry, blotchy, acne prone. I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup on. But even my makeup looked looked bad because I had rough patchy dry spots. Again, this made me feel ugly and brought up more negative self-talk.
I tried a facial at MassageEnvy, but I didn’t enjoy the level of knowledge that the specialist had about my concerns. More recently, I had a HydraFacial MD and Dermaplaning appointment in February. I was able to sit down with Helaina Angeletos, a skincare specialist with Fort Worth Plastic Surgery and Medspa, to talk through all the issues with my skin.
What is a HydraFacial?
A HydraFacial is a step above a regular facial. It cleanses, exfoliates, extracts. Helaina described the process as similar to a carpet cleaner for your carpet, haha. That was the best analogy for me! The wand pushes water infused with antioxidants, peptide and hyaluronic acid onto your skin, but also sucks it back up. You can see the types of HydraFacials the Fort Worth Medspa offers here.
What is Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning removes damaged skin layer by layer to help reduce fine lines and the hair. Watch Helaina’s video:
My Updated Skincare Routine
In January I tossed most of my skincare products because they were expired. I re-purchased the items that I like, but found a couple of other items to incorporate.
- Caudalie Instant Detox Mask – A couple of times per week I will apply this mask before I get into the shower. It is a purifying clay mask that helps tighten pores.
- Cerave Hydrating Clean-to-Foam Cleanser – This is a cleanser and a makeup remover made for sensitive skin.
- Foreo Luna Mini – After the cleanser is on my skin, I use the Foreo to scrub. It’s a gentle massage with silicone numbs designed to remove dirt, oil and sweat.
- Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads – These pads contain salicylic and glycolic acid to help reduce blemishes and uneven texture.
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% – After my face is dry from the pads, I then rub on a couple drops of hyaluronic acid. It is meant to smooth and plump your skin.
- Tula Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm – I do a quick swipe under the eyes with this product. It is designed to hydrate, cool and fill in lines around the eyes as well as help with dark circles and puffiness.
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair UV Face Moisturizer with SPF – I was using a Cerave moisturizer until I found this one. This one really keeps my skin hydrated.
- EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen – If I remember, then I will apply this SPF 40 before I walk my dogs.
How to De-stress
Work on your mindset – I’ve been focusing on my audience and how I can help you. By focusing on how I can help you I have little time to worry about my own insecurities.
Increase your sleep – I’ve been trying to go to bed around 10 p.m. at the latest. It’s a little later on the weekends, but it helps me get the sleep I need if I want to have my morning routine.
Workout – I know, I know. It’s tough to move if you’re exhausted. You can always take a walk and get some fresh air. Give your body a little love and take in some sunshine. And if you don’t want to move, here are some motivational quotes when you don’t feel like working out.
Create and follow a routine – When I’m overwhelmed with all I have to do I go to bed with anxiety and I wake up with anxiety. My mind spins through everything I have to do. It’s very taxing. I created a morning routine that helps me relieve that anxiety. I’m focused on completing my routine instead of worrying about what I have to do. If there’s just too much on my mental list then it gets jotted down on paper.
Allow space for reflection – This post is a great space for reflection for me because I love to write. I might not always be in the mindset to reflect, but it’s also a form of healing.
Ask yourself this one question – I saw this post in another article and thought it was soooo good.
My therapist taught me this trick.
When you feel anxious that someone is mad at you, doesn’t like you or that things are worse than they actually are, ask yourself:
“Who told you that?”
Typically you won’t have an answer & you’ll learn that it’s all in your head.
Pass it on.
— Nabela Noor (@Nabela) July 14, 2020
Stay off social media – I may seem really active some days (hello 100 stories, haha), but I’m not always on social media. The day I wrote this post I had maybe only 15 minutes of screen time in the morning. If I’m not in the right mindset, then I have sad or anxious feelings about what other people are doing.
Try mindful lettering – Mindful lettering is a form of hand lettering motivational quotes or affirmations.
@scriptsbyjaz Practice with me! #Mindfullettering #calligraphy #handwriting #fyp #TikTokGGT ♬ The Pink Panther – Main Theme – M.S. Art
- Stress Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin? A Dermatologist’s Guide to Getting Back on Track
- Mindful Lettering for Stress Relief: After 2 Weeks, I Feel Surprisingly Renewed
- 6 Tips For Squashing Negative Self-Talk and Feeling More Confident in Your Own Skin
- The Simple Practice That Helps Me Overcome Imposter Syndrome
- Need A Mood Boost? This Psychologist-Approved Trick Will Make You Instantly Happier
- The Difference Between Stress And Burnout (And How To Tell Which You Have)
- How to Recognize, Treat, and Live With Anxiety
- Social Media Is a Minefield For Those Struggling With Body Image, but I Won’t Let It Shake Me
- 35 Powerful Quotes That Might Just Inspire You to Do Great Things
- Journaling Exercises for Everyday Anxieties
How 2022 Started Versus How it’s Going
I have been working on keeping my stress levels low, but they have been all over the place. Some days are hard and other days are so exciting. I love when I get to work on a project in my house, a DIY or even writing a post! I am more focused and determined than ever before.
Today was very difficult! Hank chewed on the wall trim and then my Roomba knocked over my mirror. It shattered all over the floor. Zack had to come home from work to help with cleanup!
This week I had time to get my goals back on track. I finished the iFit Bora Bora Bootcamp series for the third time in a row yesterday morning. I’m excited to say that I’m almost back at my running paces since March 2020. It’s crazy what can happen in two years!