From Burnout to Balance
So many of us live a life constantly juggling tasks on our to-do list.
We are brought up in a culture where so much pressure is piled on to us at an early age. Pressure to do well at school, be presentable, get a good job, have a beautiful home, drive the best car and be the best mom, wife, daughter, aunt, niece, neighbour and friend! Not to mention be able to bake the perfect cake...
It's no wonder that so many women face burnout.
In this podcast episode, we share with you an interview with Psychotherapist, Anxiety and Trauma Recovery Specialist, Natasha Fletcher all about the topic of burnout.
Natasha's live chat with Clarity Junction host, Gillian Duncan, was recorded during an interview in the Midlife Empowerment for Women Facebook group, where she shares wonderful advice on how to identify when you are on the path to burnout and what action you can take.
Natasha Fletcher is an accredited psychotherapist and with a background in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, Eye Movement De-sensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), Solutions Focused Coaching, Hypnotherapy, Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) and Mindfulness. She uses her experience and expertise to help her clients make changes that last.
Natasha is a straight talking, experienced therapist with a passion for all things mindset and mental health. Her mission is to make sure anxiety, stress, overwhelm and worry doesn’t interfere with her clients being able to live their best life.
How to Contact Natasha
For more details please visit:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/femaleanxietysupport/
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Gillian Duncan, Natasha Fletcher
Gillian Duncan 00:00
Hello and welcome to the Clarity Junction podcast. Today, I would like to share with you one of the live interviews taken from Clarity Junction's, Midlife Empowerment for Women Facebook group. In this interview, I'm chatting with a Psychotherapist, Anxiety and Trauma Recovery Expert, Natasha Fletcher, discussing the important topic of burnouts. Our modern way of living is not always the best way to live life, and so often with the pressures that are put on us by others, and ourselves, we can end up suffering from burnout. In this episode, Natasha shares with us the stages of burnout, how to tell if you're heading for burnout, and what actions to take in order to sustain balance. My name is Gillian Duncan Positive Life and Wellbeing Coach, inspiring women to live the life they truly want. And I am delighted that you're here with me today. Today, we are here and the Midlife Empowerment for Women group here on Facebook, and as I said, I'm here with Tasha Fletcher, and we are going to be chatting all about burnout. And our title for our chat today is 'From Burnout to Balance'. So, I'm going to hand it over to Tasha. I'm going to ask Tasha, to just tell everybody a little bit about herself, so Tasha, would you let everybody know what you do, and, you know, we've just I know that you're from Nottingham, but what you do and why you have a passion for the subject of burnout?
Natasha Fletcher 01:34
Fantastic. Thank you, Gillian. Well, hello, everybody. Nice to see you all and lovely to be here today. So, as Gillian said, I'm Natasha Fletcher and I am an Anxiety Therapist. I work with cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and also rapid transformational therapy, and I specialise in helping people who want to break free from anxiety, burnout, stress, overwhelm, and worry. So, I work a lot with female clients, an awful lot of, especially smart, confident, overachieving women that perhaps have got a great life on the outside but I struggle a little bit on the inside.
Gillian Duncan 02:13
Lovely. Yeah, I think a lot of women can totally relate to that. I think we juggle far too much. I think, you know, when we've got our kids and the school runs or the work, the career, the house, we have to be that sort of perfect person, don't we, that, that sort of image that we want to put outside, to the outside world. We want always to be perfectly dressed and manicured and our hair always done and you know, the perfect home with the perfect garden and you know, the cars always washed and you know, we are the you know, if you've got kids, we're the perfect mum, we've always got the dress-up outfit right on time or the cakes baked and it really is, is quite a struggle. You know, we do try to paint this wonderful exterior but inside we can be really juggling, and we can be really melting and thinking, 'I don't know how everybody else does it, but I'm struggling'. So, yeah, so it's, it's one of those massive topics that seems to be affecting so many women, yet we don't seem to talk about it, we do tend to keep it very well hidden. Why would, why is that? Why, why are we not ones to share this experience?
Natasha Fletcher 03:20
I think there's a lot of reasons for that, really. I think one of the biggest reasons actually, I think, because we don't know. Burnout really is something that tends to, it's a slow burn, I suppose, it creeps up on you. It really does. And we often don't know that we're in burnout until we're really at rock bottom. It's, you know, we're, we're in a really low place. And so, I think that's one reason. One reason is we don't really know and that we're experiencing it. Another reason I think, probably, is we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, you know. Like you were just saying, there's a lot of pressure externally from society to be a certain way, to do a lot of, to be achieving in lots of different areas, but also an internal pressure to be giving a lot of ourselves in a lot of different areas all the time. And people don't always want to admit that they're struggling. Or, people have got themselves in a situation where perhaps they are struggling with everything they've got, but they don't want to give anything up because everything seems equally important, I think sometimes. It really is a struggle.
Gillian Duncan 04:26
Yes. So do you feel that, in your line of work, you're finding there's more and more women coming to you with this feeling of this overwhelm, this crushing feeling that we have to get everything done and we don't know how to cope? Do you feel that this is, this has increased recently, or has it always been the same?
Natasha Fletcher 04:46
I would say it's increased in the last couple of years, really. Well, certainly I've seen quite an explosion in terms of the clients that I see, but not just in the clients I see. So, in friends, family, colleagues as well. There's an awful lot of people who are experiencing burnout at the moment. I mean, on a positive note, you know, more people are seeking help, I think. More people are talking about it and we're beginning those conversations. So, that is really positive. But, there's certainly an explosion in it and I think there's a lot of reasons for that. Part, the reasons we've just spoke about, but, well, maybe if I just kind of roll it back a little bit, but, you know, burnout was only really coined as a term as we know it now, really, in the 1970s, and it was predominantly related to, like, workplace pressure. And even now, if you like, just have a quick Google of burnout, you'll probably just find the majority of stuff out there about workplace burnout. But what I'm actually seeing with a lot of my clients and people I know, really, is not necessarily that burnout is just confined to one area, so they're really stressed at work. It's almost a culmination of giving in so many different areas. So, they're working hard on in their career, they are working hard, you know, to maintain a good family life to look after their children to do all the things they are expected of them or they put pressure on themselves to do. So, it's more of a culmination of just having loads and loads on their plate, really. And I think, again, coming back to what we just talked about, we you know, we're, we're a particular kind of generation, aren't we now, we are the generation that's caring for parents. Looking after our own children. We're working full time. We're still doing the majority of the housework, women are.
Gillian Duncan 06:34
Oh, yeah we are.
Natasha Fletcher 06:35
It's changing, but we still are. And also, a lot of us are also got businesses or studies on the side as well. So, you just think about the average life of the average woman you know, children, parents, friends, family, relationships, cleaning, tidy and cooking. And that's before you've even said, oh you know, how do you keep on top of your social life or how to keep on top of your skincare regime or whatever else it is? Or why haven't you got a sideline business? Why aren't you studying a PhD?
Gillian Duncan 07:02
Yeah, it's amazing that we get up in the morning, really.
Natasha Fletcher 07:08
We are you know, we're a sandwich generation. And also, you know, I don't know about you Gillian, but I grew up in, with 'Girl Power', you know. We can have everything. Of course, we can have everything, and we should have everything. So much internal pressure on ourselves sometimes.
Gillian Duncan 07:23
Yeah, I mean, I'm, I think a slightly older than yourself. So, I, when I grew up with the 'Girl Power', I was a young adult. And I had that whole aspect of, you can do everything in the world. My parents were very much supportive and encouraging, and my whole family were, it was like, 'Oh you can do anything. The world's your oyster and go ahead'. And then I found that when I went to do the things that I really, truly wanted to do, there were little, you know, clauses saying, 'Well, you can't do that because you're a girl'. And so again with the Girl Power movement later on, I mean, that certainly helped me an awful lot. But yeah, I can certainly understand why we would have this, you know, feeling that we need to do everything because, you know, I know that when I grew up, it was the case of, 'Yes, go to university, we want you to see you study, we want you to have a good job'. And then it was a case of but, in the other hand, 'We also want you to get married and have kids'. And, oh in the other hand, 'Are you really wearing that? And, you know, we need you to drive everywhere' or, you know, it was just like this list of things that we had to do and stay perfect. You know, and then when you stopped and you took a step back from that, because I did, very early on, I maybe was a little bit different. I just, I, I started to do my own thing. A bit of a rebellious streak in me, I suppose, but I started to back off from certain things and then you did, kind of, get that whole pressure of, 'Well 'such and such' is doing that and 'such and such' looks like this and 'such and such' as just bought that', and then you sort of felt that pressure, that internal pressure that eventually, it was very hard not to eventually, sort of give in to it. And you say, 'Well, oh, I'm missing out on something here. I need to be doing this', to perhaps impress other people.
Natasha Fletcher 09:10
Exactly. Right. You know, there is so much pressure, as I say externally things that people expect others, but also internally, pressure that we put on ourselves in so many different ways, you know, and all of that is just adding up to burnout really. And I guess for me, as well, there's, there's a bit of a myth about balance really, in life, you know, people think that balance is kind of having, doing reasonably well at pretty much everything in your life all the time, and kind of like keeping it on a keel. But actually, that isn't the meaning of balance. And that isn't the meaning of life balance. You know, it's about knowing what to put down and what to kind of carry at different times. It's about almost letting things go sometimes and being rubbish at some stuff for a while and then picking it up again, at a later date.
Gillian Duncan 09:56
We're not all good at everything. I mean, I think that's, that's the thing. I mean, you don't have to be a perfect baker. You don't have to. You can go and get a cake mix. It's okay, you know, you can give in, you know you don't have to do those things. I remember my grandmother and, you know, she lived obviously in a different era completely and you know, she lived through wartime and I just remember her saying, 'Oh, I've got the girl's round', you know, her girls, her friends round, and you know, they were, they were all you know, in their 80s. And yet, at that age, she was still trying to perfect the perfect the Victoria sponge cake for them, and so much so, she would actually go and get out this this cake mixer that she had and she would take it to the front bedroom of the house. She lived in an all on the one, with a downstairs apartment, and she'd take through to the front, front bedroom because that had the right size socket, that fitted the plug that she needed for it, and she'd be on, honest, she'd be on her hands and knees. Mixing up this cake mix in this mixer, all just to, sort of, make sure that it was fluffed up enough to put in her, old gas oven in time for her friends coming round and then she would go round and everything had to be perfect in the house and she had to be presented. But, you know, the reason why I'm saying that is when you take that away and when you take that situation away of my Gran sitting there, very polite, sitting her perfectly cut sandwiches and her friends, that she'd known for decades, they didn't know, in sense, they didn't know the real her, because, well the minute they were gone, oh my goodness, the hair was you know messed up, the shoes were kicked off or you know, everything was just like, 'Oh, thank goodness, relax', and she became her own self, and she became her own person. She was much more relaxed with that. She put herself through all that stress every single week. And you know, from an outsider's point looking in, I used to say, 'Why do you do that, Gran? Why do you not just serve up a bought cake or, you know, does, do the crust really have to be cut off?', and she would say, 'But that's what's expected'. You know, that's what, this is the sort of facades that got put up, you know, this effort had to be made, it had to be handmade, had to be perfect, and we had to be presentable. Such a lot of pressure. So even, you know, we're obviously looking at that, as, you know, descendants from that generation, and we're, you know, we've got that imposed on us really, you know?
Natasha Fletcher 12:26
Absolutely. And I think if you take that story then and kind of transpose that to us now, in addition to that, that cake would be on Instagram, and we'd be seeing everyone else's perfect cake. And we, again, would have, you know, more pressure, isn't it? More pressure.
Gillian Duncan 12:42
Natasha Fletcher 12:44
I mean, I'm a little bit older, I use Instagram, but I'm not, you know, like, in the same way that maybe the millennial generation are and the pressure there, but there, like you say, it's a facade, isn't it? You know, putting, you're always comparing the worst bits of your life to the best bits of somebody else’s life. When you see Instagram, that's the best bits of their life and you're comparing your moments when your shoes are kicked off and your hair's a mess and your cakes burnt to that perfect bit. And that's what we do.
Gillian Duncan 13:12
Yeah, and it's crazy, because really, if you really get to know that other person behind that facade, and behind that perfect post, they are just the same. They don't wake up perfect. Yeah, they don't wake up perfect. Their hair's a mess, I bet you their house is a tip as well. Everybody has a corner that everything gets dumped in, and you know, nobody's perfect. We can't be. We can't be yet we put that pressure on ourselves. So, it's no wonder that you're seeing an increase in cases of burnout. And I just want to go back to that because, you know, we've talked, we've talked about some of the reasons why you know, this is happening to us and what's, what leads up to this feeling of, you know, this burnout this, this we can't cope with it, but you, what truly is burnout? What are the symptoms of burnout and how can we spot those symptoms?
Natasha Fletcher 14:09
I think that's a really, really, really interesting question, actually, Gillian, because I guess burnout, some of the symptoms of burnout can be very similar to other things such as depression or anxiety. So, it's quite important to be able to spot the difference and know what that's about. So, I guess for me, burnout really is just when, occurs when you feel chronically overwhelmed and chronically stressed. So, it occurs over a period of time. And, and quite often, the main things associated with burnout are really kind of watch out for creeping bad habits. So you might notice yourself suddenly using caffeine or sugar a little bit more to get through the day. And it won't kind of go from one cup to 10 cups immediately, you know, it's gonna be a slow creeper, or it might be using a little bit more alcohol than usual. Any, any kind of those bad coping mechanisms, watch out for an increase in those. Fatigue. So, a fatigue that you just cannot get rid of, however much you sleep. So, if you're looking at the clock at 10am, really and counting down the hours to bedtime, that could be an indication that you're burnt out. You just cannot get rid of that fatigue. Another big one, really, is the inability to make decisions and focus. So you'll find it really difficult to make decisions that would have been easier before. So, maybe arguing with your partner or you know, loved ones say, 'Well, why don't you just decide? Why don't you just decide?', trying to constantly kind of get rid of that responsibility of making decisions. Feeling irritable and snappy. That's a really big one or being more cynical than you normally would. And just getting into little niggles and arguments a lot because you just feel so overwhelmed, really, with everything coming at you. You haven't got any more left to give. But a really big one that I tend to see when people are almost at rock bottom with burnout is something we call that an inclination to bolt or almost like run away. So, people talk a lot about having fantasies about dropping their entire life, just, you know, 'I just want to walk out and just get a plane and leave and just leave everything behind'. Or saying things like, 'I'm just going to quit my job. I'm just quitting it. That's it, I'm finished'. You know, like impulsive, things like that. Or, 'I'm not doing my business anymore. I'm sick of this'. When really, deep down, you know that, you know, these things you've worked hard to get, and you love them and you're passionate about them, but you just have this inclination to just get rid of them, to just bolt, to just leave and get rid. That can really be a sign of burnout for definite.
Gillian Duncan 16:49
All those points are, you know, something that I think we could perhaps all identify with, perhaps not in the extreme sense, but sure, I think that when we have periods when we are working really hard and life has become quite juggle, yeah, sure a lot of us reach for an extra cup of tea, an extra cup of coffee or whatever it is, sugar, to keep us going because our body is almost like it cries out, doesn't it, to say, 'Oh yeah, you need something. You need that extra boost'. And I've spoken a lot about the use of alcohol as well, particularly when it comes to sleep, a lot of people use alcohol to try and help them to sleep at night, to try and help them to switch off because they're so stressed during the day, they just can't, they can't trigger that sleep off at night, which obviously goes into that vicious, vicious circle. And they will turn to alcohol to try and relax themselves. But of course, that as you know, has got a negative side effect to that as well and it doesn't produce the results that they're looking for. Gosh. So, there's, that's one very simple area that we could all probably recognise. And then you're talking about being more irritable, well oh, my goodness. Yeah, I mean, that, again, is something that I'm sure we can all identify being with perhaps now after going through this pandemic, and everybody's living in close quarters with each other. Perhaps we've had the children home from school for several months, and we're now in the summer holidays here in the UK, and my kids have been home with me for over four months now, as well as my husband. We've all been sharing the offices and everything else in the house. And it does get to that point where you're trying to fit and work because, you know, let's face it, it's been a bit harder to work with everybody here and what you normally get done, you don't get done. So, it sort of mounts up, and then the next thing you know, you've snapped at them, and you don't mean to. It's not, it's not a reflection on how you feel about somebody is just the situation that's almost like pushes you to that edge of snapping. And so yeah, I can identify with that for sure. And, you know, and also that feeling of bolting off. Do you know, I've got to be honest, I've been watching, I don't know if you watch it, but here in the UK, there is a programme with a chap called Ben Fogle, and it's called something like...
Natasha Fletcher 19:03
'Life in the wild'.
Gillian Duncan 19:03
Yeah, something like, yeah, 'New life in the Wild', or something. And this story that underlies pretty much all of the people he goes and visits. So, he goes and visits people in the remotest parts of the world who live completely, gosh, really isolated lives, where a lot of them don't have running water, they don't have hot water. They don't have electricity. They don't have toilets. You know, they've given up this, what we'd call a normal life, and they've taken off and they've just bolted and what I hear when I watch these programmes, watching them on catch up, and when I hear them, there's the same sort of underlying story of, you know, 'I didn't fit in. I couldn't, I couldn't do what everybody was asking me to do. I was working all the hours, and I didn't have that time with my family that I was supposed to be having. The money didn't seem, you know, enough of an incentive anymore. I just woke up one day and I handed in my notice'. So, when you're talking about that, I can, I can hear these people reaching out and saying, saying these things. But at that point, obviously, that's quite an advanced stage, isn't it?
Natasha Fletcher 20:18
I would think so, yeah. And I guess from having watched some of it myself, I would think probably some of these people have a bit of a predisposition to want to live those kinds of lifestyles anyway. So, I would say, more rather than, you know, like, you sit down and you make an active decision to change your life, which is obviously a positive thing, when you feel like bolting in burnout, it's more, you feel like just getting rid of things that you actually do love and you actually do want, but you just feel so overwhelmed and burdened by things that you just feel like getting rid, even though you know, you won't really, even though you know you wouldn't do that but you feel like it.
Gillian Duncan 20:58
Yeah, it's like walking out, slamming the door behind you, saying I've had enough. So, okay, so we've, we've got to that point. We've juggled life. We've been told that we can do absolutely everything. We've tried to do absolutely everything, and on that journey, we just sort of discovered that it's really, it's really impossible. We've put so much stress on ourselves. We've turned to some really bad habits. We're letting our self-care go. We're neglecting our health. We're neglecting our relationships, because we don't have the energy nor the time, and we're struggling with this scenario of life. You know, we're really, at the end of the day, we're just, modern life is just a struggle. What can we do? At what point can we just say, 'Look, there's an answer to this. There's a path that we can go on and things can start improving'. So, with your advice, what can we do if we get to that point?
Natasha Fletcher 21:58
I guess, Gillian, one of the, one of the biggest things I always say to my clients, you know, when I sit down with them is I say, you know, firstly, we need to just take some time to check out is too much being expected of you, like genuinely is too much being expected of you? Do you have too much on your plate? Because I think quite often, especially in the workplace, you know, so much emphasis is placed on the individual to have better coping skills, to be more resilient, to have better time management, to do this, to do that, to do the other, really just effectively letting off people or workplaces. You know, letting them off the hook for having toxic cultures, toxic practices, or people just being toxic around you. You know, if there's people around you that are expecting too much, overburdening you, taking, taking, taking and never giving, you know, part of that burnout process can be attributable to that. It's not just that you need better coping skills, or you need to change. Sometimes it's about what's going on externally. Do you need to get rid of that? Or do you need to implement boundaries other things? You know, I don't know if we're allowed to say in the group, but they always say, you know, before you class yourself as depressed or anxious or burnt out, just check you're not surrounded by idiots. I think in the first.
Gillian Duncan 23:18
That's such a good saying. I love it. Absolutely love it. Yeah.
Natasha Fletcher 23:22
Because as women, we internalise everything, don't we? We're like, this is my fault. What am I doing wrong? What should I be doing? How should I change? And sometimes maybe it's just other people. There's toxic people around you and you need to get rid of them. It's not necessarily you. So that's my first tip.
Gillian Duncan 23:35
Oh, yeah, I'm up for that. Yeah, absolutely. Get rid of the negatives, just get rid of the toxins. Just go for it.
Natasha Fletcher 23:42
Absolutely, absolutely. So, my second tip, really, I mean, it seems kind of obvious, but just minimise the noise as much as you can. So, take a look at how much social media you're consuming. how much information you're taken on board on a daily basis, really. Do you need that news app? Or can you get rid of it for a bit? Like, what is that bringing you? If you don't need it, get rid of it. Do you really need Tick Tok? Do you need Snapchat? Do you need all these things, like? Or can you just put them on pause for a bit, just delete them off. Because it's all information coming in, that's just overwhelming the brain overwhelming your nervous system. So, get rid of as much as we can, at least temporarily. So that's the big tip. Just get rid.
Gillian Duncan 24:25
Yeah, I absolutely love that. And I must say that we, as a household, that this, during this pandemic, because at the start, you know what the news was like, it was constant. Everybody was on the television chatting away about it. It was popping up in our inboxes and our newsfeed, everything, it was all about the pandemic, and it was all uncertainty. We didn't know what was going on. And it was fear as well. A lot of fear tactics were coming into play as well. And I know with the two boys, one of them just sort of shuts it off completely, and my other one who's into media and loves all that side of things, he loves his news, not talking about social media sites, but just the news media, and he loves finding out about it. And so, what we decided to do, we'll watch, we'll read the news in the morning, just, you know, see what's going on with anything that we need to know, and then we left it, and then son who loves it, would check it just before about five o'clock in the day, and he would give us a rundown. And that's, that's how we've survived over the last few months. So yeah, it certainly takes a lot of pressure off of us. And yeah, I would absolutely recommend that. And deleting apps. How many apps do we need? We don't need that. And, oh, we don't need to look at them just before we go to bed either.
Natasha Fletcher 24:26
Absolutely. I think, do you know, like, even looking at my phone sometimes I think it's just like, screens and screens and screens full of apps, really, and I'm thinking, 'Do I need these? What am I doing with these? It's just confusing'. And slightly off topic, but that I had a dream once and my little boy was in trouble and I was trying to ring an ambulance, but I couldn't figure out where the phone was on. phone because I've never phoned on my phone. It's just like an internet device and there's just so many, so many apps.
Gillian Duncan 26:08
Yeah, no, I can truly relate to that because I had a similar, I had a real experience where we were driving in the motorway in the car, on the other side of the road, it was late at night, we were up in Scotland, and there was there was no other cars about, just this one of the other side of the road, it had flipped and went up in flames, and I was trying to phone 999. I was trying to get the emergency services, and my hand, okay, it was shaking because I was, 'Oh my gosh, look what's just happened', but again, I was like, I hardly use my phone for, for calling people. I was like, 'How do you use this thing? How do you answer?'. So, my husband who's driving and trying to pull over and everything, he's trying to explain to me how to use my phone, and it just seems crazy. So yeah, I think sometimes there's, there is just too much of everything. And again, that pulls our attention doesn't it? It causes distractions.
Natasha Fletcher 27:01
I think that's just a perfect way of putting it really, just too much of everything all the time, all the while. And that's, you know, the middle of that is where burnout is, really. Absolutely. So that's, I guess that's, that's. So, another tip, one of my, you know, top tips I do recommend to people is really start just embracing this idea of being good enough. If that, barely good enough, really, you know, you don't need to be perfect or even 80% or even 50, really. You can just make a packet mix cake or just buy one or just tell people to bring their own cake.
Gillian Duncan 27:37
Love it. Yeah. Bring your own.
Natasha Fletcher 27:40
Yeah, we've got so much high pressures, you know, we put some more pressure on ourselves, we put just so much pressure. Let's just say, let's just be good enough. Let's just be all right at something, whatever it might be. And really kind of just start embracing those boundaries. Just 'No' is a complete sentence. 'No, thank you. I can't', are complete sentences. They don't need quantifying. Start practising those. Start doing that, and if you can't, then embrace something that I call 'therapeutic lying', so, just lie. 'I can't come, I'm doing something else', 'I've got a migraine. I'm going to bed'. Just go to bed and have a nap, it's fine.
Gillian Duncan 28:17
Yeah, it's fine. Natasha says it's fine. You can do it.
Natasha Fletcher 28:21
You can lie to people if it's for your self-care. Yeah. Yeah, if you need to, if you need to do it, you need to do it. You know, you've got to do what you've got to do to get through the day, to get yourself feeling better and get yourself in a good space, really.
Gillian Duncan 28:34
Yeah, I love that. And I love the whole thing of 'bring your own cakes', honestly. Because, do you know, at the end of the day, people will come to see you, and that's what it should be. And if they're coming to eat cake, because you've baked it, and they're coming to eat sandwiches that have got the crusts cut off, then they're not, you know, maybe they're not the friends for you. If they can accept what you can offer them at the last minute or they can think actually, you know, Natasha, Gillian, they're run off her feet, why don't we bring something instead, then, you know, maybe you should start thinking about, again, those toxic people in your life and perhaps, you know, these people maybe don't fit into where you're going in life. They can't understand that. And, 'No' is extremely powerful. It's taken me a long time to learn that word, like really totally learn it, you know, and not back down from it. Oh, my goodness, yeah, that's, backing down is a huge problem for me. I always go, 'No, no, I'm not doing it', and then I say, 'I'll try and work it out. Maybe I'll just fit in and I'll make an extra slot in my diary for that'. And it's, you know, you're not doing anybody any favours because if you do try and fit in something extra, the chances are you're going to turn up and you're not 100% there for the, for that other person anyway. And if you're not 100% there for them, you're certainly not anywhere near that for yourself. So, you know, it's definitely something to, to start practicing in the mirror. 'No. 'No'. I love it.
Natasha Fletcher 30:11
Absolutely. And you know, 100%. And one of the things that I have done with a client before is, you know, just encourage her to genuinely look at what other people are doing, like, read the reports that other people are turning into work and read yours. And hers were just out, you know, they were, they were like, top level, and everyone else was just turning in average stuff. I was like, 'just turn an average stuff. Someone else is doing it. Just turn it in, it's fine'. Took hours off her day, so much less stress, and no one's ever looked at reports to be quite honest.
Gillian Duncan 30:44
It's strange, isn't it, that how we can really put our attention into things that, in life, that don't actually matter? Or other people don't care as much as you do? You have that built up in your mind, don't you, you've actually got that on a pedestal, so you've got to get to that sort of level. And actually, no one else cares at the end of the day, because, you know something, they're too busy trying to cope with their own burdens, and their own pedestals that they've got to climb up on to, you know, and their own busy, busy life. You know, that's, that's their focus. And I think that's, I think more and more that's happening these days isn't it? Everybody else is so consumed with their own environment and in their own lives that they hardly notice everybody else.
Natasha Fletcher 31:28
I think that's really true, and to be able to kind of just flip your perspective a little bit and think well, what would I think of someone else doing this? You know, just coming to only the 'needs must' meetings or leaving the house a bit dirty or not really like, you know, pulling 100%. What would I think? And chances are, you probably won't think anything, actually.
Gillian Duncan 31:49
Yeah, that's it. I mean, who cares if you're dishes aren't washed before you take the kids to school? Why get up an extra half early for that? Oh dear, the dishes will be there when you get back. They're never going to, they're never never going to stand up and protest, are they really? And I always remember my Granny, going back to my Gran, who wasn't that, you know, that person who she always tried to portray that she was. She used to just say to me about her house, she went, 'Well, a man and a galloping horse wouldn't notice', and, you know, she'd be here talking about and maybe bit of dust here or there. They wouldn't notice, it's fine. If he's galloping by, he won't know the difference. And I still think about that, you know, and it still makes me laugh because it's true. It's absolutely true. You worry about the finer details and like, nobody's going to notice.
Natasha Fletcher 32:41
Exactly, exactly. And you know, when on that in terms of housework and things, I would always just say, delegate as much as you can and forget about the rest, really. The biggest thing that's ever helped me isn't really like in depth, psychological work or soul searching for burnout, it's buying a robot Hoover. I hate Hoovering. I argue with my partner, 'Why haven't you Hoovered it up?' or, why haven't I Hoovered it, you know, 'Whose turn is it?'. Just buy a robot Hoover.
Gillian Duncan 33:07
Fantastic. Oh, I've not tried one of them. I've seen them in the adverts, they look brilliant. That might be my next one.
Natasha Fletcher 33:12
It's an investment. Well, it was about 130 pounds, but it's the best 130 pounds I've spent, really. It just saves me time and stress. Do what you can, outsource anything that you can, get rid of anything you can, delegate to the kids, to the husband, to robots, whatever you need to do.
Gillian Duncan 33:29
I am so totally behind that. And for those in the group that have heard me chatting before about housework. I actually, a few years ago, when I wanted to get back into this line of work and I was trying to build my website up and I was trying to build Clarity Junction up as a platform, that was one of the things that the massive challenges that I had. I was running out of time to do and complete tasks in the day, in between the kids going off and my husband off to work and coming back, in that time, when they were away, I had to get the house work done, I had to get the dinners done, the laundry and all the rest of it, and I was finding that, that, those hours in the day were consumed by, majority of that time was consumed by home housework and tasks that they needed me to do for them. So it was, you know, even just, oh, you need to write that later or, you know, basically admin stuff. And I felt like I was a PA for the family rather than actually my own person and, and getting on to do my own work. And that's fine. You know, I did love that. And that's, that's great. But, you know, the other side of the coin was, I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life, and I knew that I needed to do things for myself. And so, I did have a conversation with them, and I did say, 'You know, you're old enough now to use an Xbox, so you're old enough now it is a washing machine'. And that conversation, I thought it was going to go down like a lead balloon. Honestly, I thought they were going to sort of kick off and go, I'm not gonna do it. I don't wanna do it'. They didn't. They actually listened to me. They understood where I was coming from. They saw what I wanted to do, they saw my passion for it, and they took it on board. And for a few years now they've actually spent the weekends, when their at school, that is, they will take their laundry that they've got, that's their laundry day, they'll take the school stuff at the weekends, and between them, they will sort it out. They will put it in the washing machine, they'll hang it up outside or they'll put it in the tumble dryer, they'll sort it out and put away. They'll even iron their shirts. And you know, that's, that was something that was a huge task. For them, it doesn't take long. But for me, that was just one other thing. And from that, we've been teaching them to meet lunches, help out with dinner, and my husband's taking on more so I'll prepare a meal in the morning, and when he comes home, while I finish off some work, he may be just, you know, to the last sort of plating or, you know, setting the table or that sort of thing, just finishing things off. So that's a normal routine that we got into and it's helped so much. So yes, delegating, yeah. Why should you, why should, why should everything land on your plate? You know?
Natasha Fletcher 36:05
Absolutely. Ask yourself that and get rid of what you can. Encourage other people to take on. And if they can't do it as well, well, that's their look, isn't it, you know, it's their washing, their clothes.
Gillian Duncan 36:16
And that's the thing, as well, if you don't do it as, if you are picky about things, you have to take a step back, don't you, and say, 'Well, do you know something? They're doing that to the best of their ability, and, you know, it doesn't have to be perfect. And if they're happy with it, then I'm happy with it. If they're helping me then I'm delighted'. And that's the pleasure of it, you know, it's being proud of them for actually taking that step. And, you know, it's all very good because it's helping, if you have kids, certainly helping them to become independent, stand on their own two feet for the future, and if that helps you to eliminate, eliminate your chances of burnout, then it is a win-win situation. Absolutely.
Natasha Fletcher 36:53
One hundred percent. We just put so much pressure on ourselves again, don't we? It all comes back to that. And sometimes we just do things because it's quicker for us to do it. But that help, you know, in the short term, it might save us a few minutes, but in the longer term, you're just making a rod for your own back.
Gillian Duncan 37:07
Absolutely. Now, I want to also ask you while you're here, now, people in the group can reach out and they can contact you and get to know you and ask you questions here in the Midlife Empowerment for Women, group, but I also want to know more about what you do outside of the group, and where people can reach out in contact you outside.
Natasha Fletcher 37:30
Yeah, fantastic. So, I've literally started my own group myself, which is, 'You've Got This - Female Anxiety Support'. So, if it's okay, Gillian, I'll just kind of drop a bit of a link underneath here in the comments. And also I have a quiz that I've developed, which is called, 'Are You on the Verge of Burnout?', if anyone's interested in taking that, so I'll just drop that in the link as well. You can find out a little bit more about what I do in the group, or you can find me at www.natashafletchertherapy.co.uk
Gillian Duncan 38:02
That's brilliant. Thanks so much. Yeah, I'd love you to drop that information in the comments. That would be fantastic. And as I say, people can reach out and get, get to know you more and take the quiz. That sounds a really good resource to go and get you started just to, just to find out where you stand, in this whole, this whole platform of anxiety, how you're how you're getting on and to see if you actually could do with some extra help, so thank you so much for sharing that. And thank you so much for taking the time to come and chat with me today, and to chat with everybody in the group. It's, it's been an absolute pleasure to talk to you and to get to know more about burnout and really to find those warning signs. I think they, they are really key for everybody to keep an eye open for. As I say, it's so common now for us to be juggling so much, so to be able to have those signs, the little warning signs to look out for, if we have those then we can make those little steps to avoid going down the path to burnout. Thank you so much for sharing that really crucial information with us.
Natasha Fletcher 39:03
Well, thank you for having me Gillian, I've had a great time. Thank you very much.
Gillian Duncan 39:07
That's all for this episode. My thanks to Natasha Fletcher for being a wonderful guest in the Midlife Empowerment for Women Facebook group, and I'm delighted to be able to share her interview with you here on the Clarity Junction podcast. To find out more about the work that Natasha does and take her anxiety quiz (burnout), then head over to clarityjunction.com/burnouttobalance where you will find links to her website and Facebook group.
The Midlife Empowerment for Women Facebook group is free to join and hosts a number of free mini-masterclasses and expert interviews on a regular basis. If you would like to meet and share with like-minded women, then we would love to welcome you to the group. You can find the link to the group on the notes for this podcast episode.
Remember to hop over to clarityjunction.com to find out more about our membership for women who want more from life!
Bye for now and keep being awesome!