Avoid burnout! Improve your wellbeing

The latest findings from the World Health Organisations predicts that by 2020 the top health concern will be burnout and stress. Every second, the world’s email users are writing the equivalent of 16,000 copies of the complete works of Shakespeare. Never before in the course of human history has so much information erupted onto your desk on a daily basis, demanding and screaming for your immediate and undivided attention.  That feeling of euphoria and the ‘win’ sensation you have when you quickly deal with one more email. Your dopamine receptors in your brain go crazy.  However, when the demand for your attention outstrips the supply of time, stress is the result.  Chronic stress over a prolonged period of time leads to burnout. Watching for the signs of burnout is imperative and this blog will help assist your understanding and offer tips and strategies to avoid burnout and improve your wellbeing

Mind your language - Get Gorgeous

My stress story started when I was pregnant with my first son, I believe my ensuing 10 years of fertility issues were also due to chronic stress. Stress that I had accumulated in my life but also my familial ancestral stress.

A way of life that I hadn’t dealt with from my past and my family cyclical history. The family pattern becomes an easy model to follow in our own lives.  If you can’t see your own family pattern or dynamic that your family follows, then you will also fall prey to it.

Whilst my tipping point appeared to be simply another day in the office the stress that got me to that point had in fact been accumulating for several years not only at work but also decades and even ancestral lifetimes from my pattern of behaviour and my families. I remember clearly the final straw.

I arrived at work, in London at a busy advertising agency one morning, heavily pregnant.  My fiance lived away and I was living with a lovely friend who was helpful and happy and yet our flat was noisy, busy and less than an ideal ‘nest’.  This feeling of insecurity led up to my big blow out.  I remember the day very clearly.

An early morning in September I arrived at my clean, clear desk in Hammersmith, west London, I had worked hard the day before to clear my desk of jobs, my to-do list was marginal. Then as I sat down the phone rang but before I could answer it….

The mail arrived.

That was it. that was my breaking point. Having to answer the phone and pick up the letters and open them, which I had multi-tasked a million times before was enough. I crashed out.  I left the office and didn’t return for over two weeks, stress overload. It could have been worse, and yet in retrospect, I believe it was lingering and devastating, the underlining stress stayed with me for over a decade.

It is not the individual incident or a certain date in time that creates overload, it is the accumulation of chronic stress that leads to burnout. In last week’s blog, I talked about the short term effect of stress on your body and how women are affected more by pre-holiday stress.

Read more: Pre-holiday stress affects women

The point the blog was making that it is the peak in stress that short term burst that compounds the larger more encompassing story.  Peaks in stress can be created from the simplest of events.  For instance:

  • a poorly child
  • an invalid parent
  • a holiday
  • a promotion
  • a book launch

The pinnacle is an additional overload that causes a spike not only in your stress levels but also in ill health.  When stress hormones like cortisol reach a sudden crescendo, this immediate and abrupt intensification leads to blood pressure spikes.  The stress hormone, cortisol weakens the left ventricle of the heart which is your hearts main pumping chamber. Simply imagine the longer-term effect of this peak.


Manifesting burnout!

A stressed individual is easy to spot but how do you know if that is a normal amount of daily stress for them and more importantly how can you ‘see’ it in yourself. Normally it takes either an event or someone else (who you are prepared to listen to and acknowledged – so that isn’t your partner!) to point out to you that you are in danger of burnout.

How often do you genuinely listen to yourself? Not often enough.

Here are a few indicators to watch out for, feel free to add in your own observations and let me know I would be interested to know your personal experiences

  • Weight fluctuation either putting on or drastically reducing
  • Excessive irritability
  • Frantic behaviour
  • Small tasks becoming insurmountable

Physical indicators may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Body not coping – aches, pains and tense muscles.
  • Backache
  • Hormones running amok – crying, shouting
  • Low energy.
  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea.
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
  • Frequent colds and infections.
  • Loss of sexual desire


How stress works in your body

When you sense threat or danger, your amygdala (the part of our brain controlling emotions like fear and anxiety) switched on like a light. When that happens, your brain shuts down any unnecessary functions and hormones like cortisol flood the blood with glucose, giving a power surge to the body’s muscles to respond in two ways; flight or fight.  Shutting down your normal functions means that you can’t digest food or even protect yourself from a common cold. Your immune system is compromised and even your brain function is affected.

Cortisol takes over your body and prevents the body digesting food in case glucose is needed to fight the rampaging wildebeest (which in this scenario is your boss, obviously hundreds of years ago the rampaging wildebeest would have been exactly that but modern life has updated the danger)

The social scientist Michael Marmot describes stress as what happens when you can’t control what is happening to us. And today your brain cannot distinguish between a wildebeest menacing presence and the affront of a rude person who pushes past you in the queue. The physiological response is the same.  Therefore you are triggering your stress response repeatedly every day.

It leads to what is called the allostatic overload. Allostasis is your body’s ability to change and adapt in order to maintain an equilibrium. Your body is constantly looking to find homeostasis which is the balance of bodily functions and create a stable condition in your body’s internal environment.

For example, the parasympathetic nervous system counterbalances the sympathetic system of fright, flight or fight

You can see that allostasis is vital for your body to create balance. The issue becomes chronic when these systems become so out of balance and overload occurs which is defined as the cost of chronic exposure to elevated or fluctuating endocrine or neural responses resulting from repeated challenges that are stressful. Instead of out-witting, the wildebeest and then retreating to a nearby cave repeated stressful events is like being chased all day by a rampaging boss on repeat.  It makes you sick.

Don’t miss: Business cost of ill health

Stress inhibits your judgment

You are probably aware that when you become ‘stressy’ everything becomes more difficult to handle. If you can’t see it in yourself you can definitely see it in friends and colleagues.  Those characters at work or even socially who find the simplest task almost unbearable. The drama that is involved with the most straightforward request is a sign of long term stress which leads to burnout.

Researchers at the Yale Stress Center found that when stress becomes a way of life – rushing from pillar to post (reading emails as you fly past) – the prefrontal cortex part of our brain begins to shut down and even reduces in size. The prefrontal cortex is the most recently evolved part of your brain – it regulates your amygdala, blood pressure and heartbeat but also enables you to learn, plan, concentrate and make judgments.


Stress is part of addictive & destructive behaviour

Chronic stress increases your risk of addictive and destructive behaviour, of developing anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. It can also increase risks of other physical health problems including heart disease, insomnia, muscle pain and damages your immune system. Stress has also been linked to cancer, both through increasing inflammation in the body which can aid in the spread of cancer and through the greater risk of abdominal obesity.

In a previous blog, I outline how stress and the increased cortisol in your body that leads to health issues which include abdominal fat.  Don’t miss Menopausal weight sits on your tummy This blog outlines in detail why belly fat isn’t based on age at all – it is caused by your stress levels.

Stress psychology 

Interestingly, it is your perception of stress in your life that adds to the actual stressful event that predicts its impact on us.

Exposure to trauma will produce long-term effects or even watching how your mum multi-tasked around your family and/or a job will affect the way you behave and your stress levels now.

Recently research has found that the stress of emotional neglect is a causal factor behind the development of a condition called functional neurological disorder. In other words, if you can prevent a stressful event, you can prevent the onset of ill-health. Taking measures to notice what your stress levels are now and taking time to wind down before a major calamity will help you to deal with life.  Your stress response – which has done so much to keep you alive – now threatens to drastically reduce the quality of your life.

Whilst your modern online life offers so many more opportunities for women to create a life that involves family and work-life it also has its challenges. Unless you step back and find alternative approaches to a life of repeated stressful events, then unforeseen peaks in stress will be the straw that breaks your back.

Don’t miss: Reduce stress – 5 tips to add to your day

Strategies to avoid stress

Strategies should be long term, begin right now

  • Set your intention to reduce stress
  • Eat well and reduce sugar highs and lows
  • Eat fat and proteins
  • Mindfulness exercise like Pilates 😉
  • Enjoy life
  • Be kind to yourself

Knowing yourself is an interesting and thoughtful journey, which will offer you so much more than simply your weight loss.  The way your existing habits work to increase your levels of stress is intriguing and fascinating. If you want to return back to the women you were when life was full of anticipation and hope for your future and regain your best health with nutrition, an exercise routine that suits you then drop me a line or give me a call – apply here 

If you would like to understand your body more, get to grips with the nutritional balance that will work for you feel free to book in your free consultation time with me. You and I will discuss where you are currently and where you would love to be in 3 or 6 months time. I look forward to chatting with you



Get Gorgeous is a journey together – yours and mine.



PS. Don’t forget the gorgeous book – your insight into great health and vitality Gorgeous! how to look and feel fantastic every day.  Click here to find out about your Gorgeous book


“Gorgeous! is the perfect read for anyone looking to revolutionise not only their relationship with food and movement but also their relationship with themselves. With Adele’s reassurance and expert guidance, any woman will feel inspired and empowered to begin their journey to prioritising themselves and their health – everybody is perfect and everybody is gorgeous!”

Find out what other clients

 have to say…

What brought you on board with Get Gorgeous? What inspired you to connect with me and come on board Get Gorgeous

“I was was missing something in my life.  I was not confident and  I just felt really empty. I followed you on your Pilates, I followed some of your blogs, and it’s just literally an email came in one day and said, why don’t we have a chat? And I just reached out, and from that very first conversation, I felt comfortable talking to you.”

So, from that position that you were in, what was it, was it seven, eight months ago, how are you feeling now, what is the transformation that you’ve seen in yourself?

“Everything’s changed. My life has completely changed,  I have just found the person that I want to be, and it’s not about creating myself, it’s just about being confident to be the person you want to be. I used to think everybody was judging me.

And now, you’re comfortable being yourself?

“I love being myself. I love the fact I can look in a mirror, and like, like myself. You have no idea, how powerful that has been.  The whole of my adult life, there are a handful of photographs of me, because I would not let anyone take my photograph, I didn’t like my looks, I was very detrimental about myself, and now, I will go out without makeup, I will have my hair into tousled, because it doesn’t need to be perfect. Because I’m not perfect, I’m so grateful for how I look, but I’m more grateful for how I feel”

You stepped into yourself and you are confident. And how has that affected your business?

“Oh my God, my business is flying. Flying. I have gone from being, that little girl behind the desk, who was too scared to come out from the desk, who was quite happy to shout and demand and push, because, that’s how you run a business, of course that’s how you run a business, isn’t it?

And the reality of it is, no, you don’t. You open yourself up. Opening yourself up and  sometimes, people look and don’t quite like you, I actually don’t worry about that any more, because, that’s about them, that’s not about me, I love how I can connect, especially how I can connect with other women. Never had that in my life. Never, always surrounded myself with masculinity, I now crave female contact. I am networking, something that I have never done.

And you’re speaking, as well. You’re speaking onstage, aren’t you?



“I am and that is so out of my comfort zone, I love the fact that I push myself out of that comfort zone, and I do that, and what I get back from it, is also my true self and I speak from the heart, because that is massive, I love that, and I love how it makes me feel.”

Good, that’s superb, am I right in thinking that you had a background with Slimming World and you were a leader, is that right?

Well,I’ve done Slimming World for two years, I’ve lost four stone, which was the start. 

But it didn’t help me with not liking myself very much and then I got to a point where I was thinking to myself: How can you tell yourself, you can have 15 sins a day? What is that  you’re saying to yourself? 15 sins, sins, the word sins.

I didn’t understand any nutrition, and it was the fact that I really wanted to understand more about how my body worked, what I ate, fuelled it, being told, yeah, you can eat endless low-fat things, and all of those things, and of course, now it’s coming out, isn’t it all those sugar in low fat things. It’s an absolute eye-opener, starting this journey. Opening my mind to learning about nutrition and just educating, educating myself.

I understand what it all does, it’s not about restriction, it’s about education.

Excellent. Brilliant. Inspiring words. Thank you so much, Sandra.

“No, thank you. As you know, my famous words are, everybody needs Adele in their live, So grateful you came into my life, so thank you.”

Gorgeous Girls on my Premier programme work with me and get their goals set and mindset strong and focused in under 90 days with my proven methods and nutritional habits. Find out more book a call click here to book your session now.

I am looking forward to speaking with you.

Sandra Wiggins Business owner Get Gorgeous Premier 31st October 2017

[social_warfare ]


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