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Have you ever been burnt out before? Pam Hird is a naturopath who specialises in helping people to take control of their mental health and various health conditions through natural medicine and healthy lifestyle changes. She shares her easy tips for avoiding burnout so you and your business can truly thrive.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What is burnout?

  • What symptoms should we be looking out for?

  • The different stages of burnout

  • How to help prevent burnout

  • Tips for taking breaks and eating well

  • How to improve your sleep 

  • The importance of self-care

  • And more!

More about Pam Hird

Pam helps men and women prioritise their health and wellbeing. Through her expertise as a naturopath, nutritionist, and personal trainer she enables people to take control of their mental health and various health conditions through natural medicine and healthy lifestyle changes. She offers realistic ways to help create a happier and healthier life. When she isn’t running her business, you can find her on the hockey field or creating some delicious food for her kids. Pam has had her own personal journey through high-performance sporting and career roles where she shifted from burnout, depression, and anxiety to balance and bouncing forward.

Visit Pam Hird’s website

 

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Renee:

Welcome back to another episode of Leveraged and Loving It. On today’s episode, we are joined by Pam Hird, who is a naturopath who specialises in burnout. And of course none of you listening have ever, ever burnt out or come close to this ever. Right? Rene’s like… If you’re not seeing the video here I’ve got my hand up, because I’ve done this multiple times. I’ve been 19 years in business, so I get it. Totally get it. So thank you Pam, thanks for being here.

Pam:

Thanks very much for having me.

Renee:

All right. So, what is burnout?

Pam:

Yeah, so burnout is basically just an umbrella term for a lot of different symptoms that we experience when our adrenal glands aren’t functioning the way that they should. So, we live in this 24/7 go, go, go, go, go modern lifestyle and modern syndrome, and it’s just full of busyness and stressful events and we’re constantly on the go which can lead to burnout.

Renee:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Yes, I totally relate to that because I ran six national tours in 18 months.

Pam:

Wow.

Renee:

And shock horror, guess what happened Pam?

Pam:

You got burnt out.

Renee:

It took five months to bounce back.

Pam:

Wow, yeah, so that really hit you very, very hard then.

Renee:

Yeah. Yep, yep, it hit hard. So, what symptoms do we need to be looking out for so that maybe we don’t actually get all the way to the like I’m really going to crash and burn?

Pam:

Yeah. So, I mean obviously the stage three you’d be looking at exhaustion stage, but we’ll start at the stage one. This is just basically when our body, it’s a normal response from our body to be in this situation because we do have stressful events that happen throughout our life, in business as well. Something just pops up and we think, “Oh dear, we really didn’t need this right now.” And then we can experience anything from anxiety, some low immunity, we might struggle to fall asleep, we might struggle to stay asleep. And then we start to feel a little bit tired throughout the day or we’re running on that adrenaline so we feel quite heightened throughout the day as well. Some muscle cramping, some eye twitching, some restless legs, they’re all those kinds of symptoms.

But it’s important to note as well, not every single symptom that’s associated with burnout somebody might experience. Everybody’s completely different when we’re talking about symptoms. So, what happens for one person doesn’t necessarily happen for another person as well. And then as we progress through the different stages of burnout, so stage two is when our body is just basically adapting to all of this stress. Some people might stay in this stage for a month, other people might stay in this stage for two years. It just really depends on how well your body adapts to this. But then we start to notice that things become a little bit more chronic. So, our sleep isn’t as great. We might wake up at 2:00 AM in the morning and think, “Oh wow, I could really start my day right now,” which you shouldn’t, it’s not great. But yeah, that can happen.

If you’re a female, you can start to experience some hormonal irregularities with your period, or if you’re menopausal or something along those lines. You could be quite moody and irritable, so you find yourself maybe yelling at somebody when you’re driving when you normally wouldn’t do that kind of thing. You might have a lack of motivation, particularly with work. You might start to get that real brain fogginess and that memory starting to go and we think, “Wow, I just can’t concentrate and I just need that little bit of motivation to help me get going again.” And then we can pick up colds and flu quite easily and we might find that we struggle to get rid of them. We have cravings for sugar and high carbohydrate foods because we’re just feeling so tired throughout the day that we just want that quick energy boost to help get us going.

And while that’s really good for a short period of time, long term that’s not great at all. And then, when we hit that third stage, that’s the complete exhaustion stage. Right? So, you might’ve experienced that you’ve found that you’re sleeping for 10 hours and then you wake up in the morning and feel like you hadn’t even slept at all, and thought, “Oh my God, I need about five cups of coffee to help me get going.” And then, digestive complaints and just that complete exhaustion, you’re just finding that nothing really helps to get rid of that fatigue.

Renee:

Yes, yes, yes. Sounds all too familiar, Pam.

Pam:

Does it?

Renee:

Thank goodness I’m through the worst of it. That’s all I can say. So, tell us then, if someone is experiencing those symptoms what do they need to do?

Pam:

The first thing is obviously, particularly when you’re in business, you tend to have that go, go, go. You might find that you’re working all the time. I mean, we have our phones attached to us. It’s literally, we don’t step away from it, I mean, with emails and texts and phone calls, we’re finding that we don’t actually stop. So, I think the first thing that we really need to do is assess how busy we are. Is there parts of our day that we can actually go, “Okay, I’m going to take some time out here,” and maybe, it doesn’t have to be like a luxurious indulgence or whatever, but just literally eating lunch away from your desk. Just something so simple to just give yourself that little bit of a break so you’re not constantly on the go.

And then we also need to make sure that we manage stress as well as we could, which isn’t always as easy as it seems at times. Right? But yeah, we really need to look at the different areas of our life that are causing our stress. And maybe, in a business if we’re in a position then maybe to outsource some things that we can to try and reduce our load and that are causing us too much stress as well. So, we just need to be really aware and make some changes from our day to day life.

Renee:

And if you’re running four national tours a year, maybe just kind of look at is it really worth it?

Pam:

Yeah, I mean you want to put some clear boundaries in place for yourself. Right? Or thinking, “Okay, that didn’t really work the way that I wanted it to and put my health at risk a little bit.”

Renee:

I mean, it worked in terms of sales and business, it just didn’t work in terms of my health and my family. I’d walk in the door and the kids like, “Who are you?” Stranger danger.

Pam:

And when it’s coming to things like our diet, we want to be making sure that we have a fresh whole food diet. Right? Because that’s one thing that when we’re getting busy or on the go that tends to go down a bit of a slippery slope at times. So, we just want to go back to basics: fresh meat, food, fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds, making sure that we’re drinking plenty of water. Assess how much coffee we’re having as well, because that can also contribute to-

Renee:

Don’t you dare take away my coffee. We cannot be friends.

Pam:

I’m totally fine with people having a coffee a day, as long as it’s not a triple shot with like caramel syrup and five sugars. Right?

Renee:

I might have a couple of double shots a day with no sugar.

Pam:

Okay, yeah. I mean, remembering that that caffeine will stimulate our adrenals and then turn on the stress response for us, so you have to be really mindful about how much coffee, sugar, any kind of energy robbers that we are actually consuming as well. So, it’s not to say that you have to cut it out altogether, maybe just assess how much you’re actually having. So, you can still have your coffee.

Renee:

Yeah, I’ve got a little way to go there, Pam.

Pam:

That’s okay. But the thing is is like when you’re looking at changing things within your lifestyle or your diet, it can become quite overwhelming. So, you essentially just want to be changing three things at a time. Pick three things that you want to do. Make those changes, and then when they become a habit, then you just move on to the next three, because the last thing we want to do when you’re already in business, and I know this as a business owner myself, if you’re trying to change too much it’s just another layer of stress that we don’t want. Just keep it simple. We don’t need to overcomplicate it. Just keep it nice and simple.

Renee:

Yep, yep, nice.

Pam:

One of the other things I think we tend to leave out as well is sleep. We tend to think, “Oh yeah, I’m just going to get on the computer. I’m just going to get on my phone. I’m just going to answer those few emails or I’m just going to prep for tomorrow.”

Renee:

Just one more episode, just one more episode and then I’ll go to sleep. It doesn’t matter if it’s after midnight, just one more episode.

Pam:

Yeah, absolutely. Otherwise you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to binge watch my favourite TV show because I haven’t seen any episodes the last two weeks because I’ve been too-

Renee:

And this is me time, so if I don’t do this before I go to sleep then I haven’t had any me time and I really should.

Pam:

Yeah, and particularly if you’re a parent, you’re coming home from work and then you’re crazy busy with the kids, and you think, “Oh, finally they’re in bed and I just want that little bit of downtime.” And either way, whether we’re continuing doing work or binge watching a TV show, you really should try and get some sleep.

Renee:

Killjoy.

Pam:

I know, right? I just take away all the fun out of life. When we’re looking at sleep, we do want to try and go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up the same time every day.

Renee:

This is definitely an area of improvement for me. And I do love that my Fitbit records my sleep and gives me a sleep score, because I am a competitive person, you see? And so this thing has gamified sleeping to me, and I want to win. There’s nothing better for me than having something that’s writing how good I am at sleeping.

Pam:

Do I need to write your coffee intake? And then it can just become a competition for you?

Renee:

You probably do. If there was a way of scoring how well I was doing in terms of coffee, then probably, yeah. Probably I would care about it more.

Pam:

But that’s the other thing, I think, if that’s how you’re going to go with your sleep and that that works with you, then roll with it.

Renee:

Yeah, yeah.

Pam:

Absolutely. And I understand that there’s times where it’s just not feasible to go to sleep at the same time, get up at the same time. Life throws you curve balls all the time, but on a whole we should try and make sure that we’re getting plenty of sleep.

Renee:

So, what time do you go to bed?

Pam:

Always before 10:00 PM.

Renee:

Before 10:00 PM?

Pam:

Yeah, before 10:00 PM, yeah. You don’t want to meet me if I go to bed after midnight. You don’t want to know me the next day, let’s just put it that way.

Renee:

Wow. And how many hours sleep are you getting?

Pam:

I’ll always either get up between 5:30 and 6.

Renee:

Okay.

Pam:

Sometimes my children wake me up at five.

Renee:

So inconsiderate, you’re trying to have a regular sleeping pattern here, do they not understand?

Pam:

No.

Renee:

They really don’t do they?

Pam:

I know, we can’t lock the door either so it’s a bit disappointing at times. I mean, I try. It does happen 90% of the time, but there are those times-

Renee:

Yeah, that’s great.

Pam:

… it doesn’t, so.

Renee:

It’s definitely… I’m listening, I promise I’m listening on this one. I feel like if I can do one thing after this episode, this is the thing that’s like I really, it’s not that hard to go to bed. I’m not going to say 10, I’ll say 10:30.

Pam:

Okay, perfect. 10:30 is good.

Renee:

Because I can sleep until quarter past seven.

Pam:

Oh wow, that’s amazing. Do you have teenagers?

Renee:

My kids are eight and nine.

Pam:

Oh my God, I would love that.

Renee:

Yeah, some mornings before school I’ve actually got to get them up to get ready now.

Pam:

Oh wow.

Renee:

And they used to be the worst sleepers in their toddler years. I had no sleep for the first three years of their lives, seriously, and now they’re amazing.

Pam:

I just don’t know what that feels like to be honest. I’ve got a five and a three year old, so.

Renee:

You’ve got something to look forward to, it’s bliss.

Pam:

Oh, amazing. I can’t wait.

Renee:

Yeah, yeah, it’s worth it. It’s coming, it’s coming.

Pam:

Slowly but surely.

Renee:

Yep. So, does it matter then, is there any difference if I’m doing 10:30 till 7 versus 10:00 PM till 6 or 6:30? Does it really matter in terms of rhythms and?

Pam:

Yes and no. You should be trying to do the same rhythm all the time, but it is better for your stress response if you are going to go to bed before 10. But like I said, everybody’s different.

Renee:

But how does my body know what time it is?

Pam:

So, when you’re looking at his stress response, cortisol is meant to be nice and high in the morning and then it slowly tapers off during the day, and melatonin kicks in to help put you to sleep, so you can go to sleep nice and easily. And when you’re looking at the sun and the moon and when it gets dark.

Renee:

I get that in terms of the repetitive same time each day cycle, but if my body’s half an hour out, if I do 10:30 PM versus 10, surely my body’s… As long as my body knows that every day at 10:30 we go to sleep, surely that’s all right.

Pam:

That’s fine, provided it’s not like midnight every night, right?

Renee:

Yeah, okay.

Pam:

You can have a little bit of give and take with that half an hour, but I wouldn’t get into the habit of going to bed at midnight and then waking at six o’clock. We do want to try and make sure that we are getting a good solid seven to eight hours.

Renee:

Yeah, I’m eight plus.

Pam:

Yeah, because it’s that time that our body rejuvenates and just can replenish and we process everything from the day, so we really need to allow our body to do that as well.

Renee:

Yeah. Do you have a Fitbit?

Pam:

No.

Renee:

You’ve got to get the sleep score. [inaudible 00:14:55].

Pam:

Sounds like I do because I’m extremely competitive as well, so I need to make sure I’m up to scratch.

Renee:

I got 89 last night.

Pam:

That’s amazing.

Renee:

I’ve got over 90 about five times in the whole year and a half that I’ve had a Fitbit. It’s very hard, but I’ve noticed those times it’s when I’ve been in bed before 10:00 PM.

Pam:

See, even the Fitbit knows.

Renee:

The Fitbit does know. I’m just trying to rig the system to just… I need to know the rules so I can just bend them a little bit and see if I can still win.

Pam:

Yeah, I get that, and I understand that you have to have realistic expectations as well, because if we’d start to put all of these crazy plans in place, and we don’t want to, it’s never a good feeling when you fail. Right? And we don’t want that. And then that’s just another layer of overwhelm and stress and we’re actually trying to take the load off the body and not put it on. So, with a half an hour I personally wouldn’t be too phased about it.

Renee:

Okay, good. Good, I’m glad I’m justified to say how long I spent justifying another half an hour of playtime for Renee at night.

Pam:

But now you’re going to have to convince the Fitbit because I’m not sure, it’s going to come back and say, “That’s okay.”

Renee:

Well, in the Fitbit you can set your target sleep time. So, I think relates to the target that you input. But I don’t know, I don’t know. I still haven’t worked out how to rig the system yet. But if I get 100 though I’ll give you a call and tell you like I won the sleeping jackpot, 100%.

Pam:

And then there’s that expectation that you have to maintain that, right?

Renee:

Yeah, no. If I get it once in my life I’ll be impressed [inaudible 00:00:16:57].

Pam:

Oh yeah, that’s a good goal to try and work towards though.

Renee:

Yep, yep. Getting above, and around 90 for me, if I feel like I get up to 89/90, I’m like, that’s decent. That’s decent.

Pam:

Absolutely. That’s good.

Renee:

There you go. All right. Was that number four?

Pam:

Number four, yes. And then the next one, a little bit of self care. So, when we’re talking about self care, it doesn’t necessarily have to be going away for a weekend, even though that is amazing at times. But life, business, work doesn’t always allow for that. So, it’s just making sure that we are taking some time out for us, clearing our minds, doing something that we really enjoy whether it’s spending time with friends, or laughing, or reading a book, or sleeping more. I don’t know. It’s finding whatever fills your soul and makes you feel happy, because realistically when you take that time for yourself, you’re going to be a better person in business. You’re going to show off a better person for your family, and all the different areas within your life.

Renee:

So, what do you do for self care?

Pam:

One of my self care is exercise. I really make that a priority because it’s so good for my mental health. I find that if I don’t do that then I can’t focus and I’m not as clear. And sometimes I do get a little bit of anxiety as well. So, I just try and manage that through exercise and I love it. I go to the gym with my friends.

Renee:

Nice.

Pam:

It’s really like a double edged sword there. I get to have a laugh-

Renee:

Social plus exercise.

Pam:

Yeah, but reaping all the benefits from that, too. I play hockey, another exercise. But again, I play with all my friends, so it’s not as competitive these days it’s just more about spending time and having a good laugh, and the exercise is the second part. But then, I love to go… I’m a little bit obsessed with floating. Have you tried it? Gone for a float?

Renee:

No. I feel like this is, do you watch Suits?

Pam:

I love Suits. Oh, my God, I’m such a Harvey fan.

Renee:

Oh my God, yeah. I’m going to be talking about something less sexy, Louis Litt and his mud baths. You said floating and all I can see is Louis Litt [inaudible 00:19:34].

Pam:

No, I don’t have cucumber in my eyes and I’m not like, no, but it’s a magnesium pool and you get to float in it. And you lie there for an hour and you can have complete silence or they play some music which I completely tune out.

Renee:

Are you in there by yourself?

Pam:

Yeah, totally by yourself.

Renee:

Are you naked or you got bathers on? Sorry, why am I just asking these questions? But I have to know.

Pam:

You can do either, that depending on… you can do a couples float.

Renee:

Tell me how much floating is going on in there.

Pam:

I don’t want to know. It’s literally-

Renee:

All the parents are like, “There’s one way to get some sexy time away from the kids.”

Pam:

Ah, I could have gone so many places, but I’ll just stop right there.

Renee:

Why?

Pam:

I was going to say knocking on the door and…

Renee:

You thought you had a joke about business.

Pam:

That’s fine. It’s all part of life, isn’t it?

Renee:

Yup, nothing to hide here on Leveraged and Loving It.

Pam:

Definitely nothing hide. Definitely. Yeah, so you just, whether you choose to be clothed or naked it’s completely up to you, but you are in a magnesium pool and you’re floating for an hour.

Renee:

I think I might have to play with that. That might be a bit of fun. I’m obsessed with massage. So, I’m just like touch me and I’ll pay you a million bucks. Just touch me, so.

Pam:

Well, the beauty… I work with massage therapists right in the clinics, so I know.

Renee:

Do you just do crunches all the time?

Pam:

I’m like, “Oh, my neck’s a little bit sore, can you just give it a rub for me?” Sure. Perfect. There’s got to be benefits, right?

Renee:

Yes, I’m very jealous. Yep. Have you ever seen those social media posts where people try to generate some engagement and they’ll ask, “If you had an extra $10,000 to spend in your business, what would you spend it on?” And I’m like, “Massage, massage.” “What if you had $1 million?” “Massage.”

Pam:

You could just employ somebody, just whenever you needed them, and just be like, “You know what? I need a massage right now.” There you go, problem solved.

Renee:

Full time massage therapist on site. Just for me.

Pam:

Just for you.

Renee:

Yeah, like while I’m working, under the table while I’m doing podcast recording, someone to massage my feet. You wouldn’t even know.

Pam:

But do you fall asleep when you get massaged?

Renee:

Yeah, a little bit. I might drool. So, if I start drooling now, what’s going on?

Pam:

Yeah, people will be like, “What is going on here?”

Renee:

See, conversations we never thought we were having today.

Pam:

That’s totally fine.

Renee:

Definitely not boring.

Pam:

No, no, not at all.

Renee:

Listen, well Pam, thank you so much for sharing those five tips on how to overcome burnout. Yeah, I think I’m definitely going to put a few things into practise. I think I’m pretty good with the food. That’s one area I feel like I’m pretty strong. Yes, and I think the reason for me that if I think about the national tours and the way that things happen in business, it’s usually because I just think big. And then I just kind of go, “Yeah, I’m going to do that and I’m going to do that.” And I get excited because I’m a very passionate person and then I go and do it. The first five tours were fantastic. It was just number six that broke me. But maybe those first five I was in that stage two you were talking about, and the last one got me to stage three and I just went, “Holy shit. Stop mate. Get me off his bus.”

Pam:

Oh, absolutely. And it’s not to say that you can’t think big and you can’t do the things that you want to, but it’s just about recognising where you are and then making those changes of like, “Okay, right now I need to listen to my body and maybe I just need to make a few adjustments so I don’t actually get to that third stage.” That’s what it’s about. So, you just need to pull yourself up, and I have to do it all the time, even knowing what I know, I have to go, “Wow, okay, my week was way too big. I’m feeling really tired. Maybe I should block out some extra time just so I can,” yeah, even if I’m still working on my business, I’m not having that contact with people. It’s just recognising it.

Renee:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. Love it. All right, Pam, if people want to find out more about who you are and what you do where should they go?

Pam:

Yeah, so you can jump onto my website, which is pamhird.com, otherwise, I love Facebook, so I’m there at Pam Hird naturopath as well.

Renee:

Awesome. Thank you so, so much for being on the show. We’ll make sure the links are in the show notes. We’ve been talking to Pam Hird about burnout and how Renee should stop doing that. You’re listening to Leverage and Loving It. We’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.

 


renee-b&W webRenée Hasseldine works with coaches, experts & thought leaders to turn what is in their brilliant minds into powerful signature systems using visual models. Her knack for extracting and unpacking thoughts and turning them into unique intellectual property is sheer genius.

Renée is the author of the best-selling book ‘Share Your Passion’, she is the host of the ‘Leveraged and Loving It’ podcast and a panel member on The Business Playroom TV.

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