Everyone knows about burnout.
We've all experienced it with jobs, with finals in college. It wears you down.
You're exhausted. Overwhelmed.
Things feel bleak and every problem feels insurmountable.
But have you heard of patient burnout?
Patient burnout is feeling emotionally and physically depleted by the ongoing management of your high-risk pregnancy. (Tweet that!)
It essentially stems from being really, really stressed for a really, really long time.
But being burned out is more than being excessively stressed.
If feeling stressed is like drowning, feeling burned out is like being dried up and parched. (Tweet that!)
We are often keenly aware when we are tremendously stressed. But we often don't realize that we are burned out.
The first step to recovering from patient burnout is recognizing that you're burned out.
If you are experiencing patient burnout, you may feel:
exhausted or run down no matter how much you sleep
irritable and snapping at people more frequently than usual
bursting into tears more quickly than before
increase in contractions
aches, pains and digestive issues
resentful or jaded
The key difference between feeling stressed and being burned out is when you're burned out you disengage. (Tweet that!)
You say or feel like you don't care or you're over it. You feel like nothing you do matters so why bother trying something else.
Patient burnout during a high-risk pregnancy also means you don't get to blow off steam like you used to.
You may not get to exercise, eat comfort foods or even meet with your closest friends, all of which you used to do when you reached maximum capacity before.
You don't get to walk away, put it off or pretend it doesn't exist. Those are just not options anymore.
Most of us just shrug it off and say "that's just life" and push harder and harder when our bodies are telling us we've run out of fuel!
That only makes it worse.
Recovering from patient burnout is possible when you are kinder to yourself.
Recognize all the ways that you're putting pressure on yourself to do more, to be more, to try harder.
Stop, take a breath, and acknowledge all of the things that have done well. And then acknowledge the reality.
A high-risk pregnancy is really hard on the mind, the body and soul. What you're going through is hard.
Just close your eyes, breathe deeply and accept that.
If you have any thoughts about "shoulds", comparisons or thoughts that minimize your experience, acknowledge them, set them aside and go back to the original thought.
The sooner you allow yourself to accept your reality, instead of fighting it, the sooner you'll be on your way to healing patient burnout.
Have you felt burned out during your pregnancy? How have you coped with it? What's worked and what hasn't?
Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!