3 Warning Lights You Can’t Ignore

Dec 10, 2023

Most of you have experienced at least one of these…

Allow me to back up a little.  My story is one of bullying, striving, chasing, and burnout.  And those of you who have spent some time with me know that I am driven towards helping people avoid some of the trials and pains I have experienced.  I don’t want you to go there.  And I want to share tools to help.

I wish I hadn’t ignored the signs…

Although I realize that part of the reason for my journey is so that I can help others on theirs, I still wish I had paid attention.  Those lights warned me of what might be ahead. My body was telling me that danger was ahead if I didn’t make some changes.  I always thought the answer was more. More pushing and striving.  More achieving and accomplishing.  I thought the only way out was to put the pedal down.

That wasn’t the answer at all…

My burnout story involved heart palpitations, chest pain, panic attacks, and nearly led me to walk away from my dental practice.  Not a joke.  I was really close.  It felt like the only way.  The panic attacks were brutal.  The world and the walls were closing in.  There was no escape, or so I thought.  Standing in the server room of my office as the server had crashed and I was already thirty minutes behind, I finally realized this wasn’t sustainable.  I physically laid down on the floor and cried and just tried to breathe.  The pain was horrific.

And I don’t want you to go there…

So here are three warning signs you can’t ignore if you want to avoid that dangerous road.

1. Instant Headaches.

You get stress-inducing news and out of nowhere your head is pounding.  Throbbing.  And painful.  Your judgment gets cloudy and the stress increases.  And this seems to be happening more frequently.  Don’t ignore it!  This is a sign of a high stress load.

2. You Become Reactive.

Normally you aren’t a snappy or chippy person, but it takes almost nothing to set you off and you find yourselves firing back quick, poorly- thought out responses to those around you.  Especially your family.  You don’t think.  You just react.  Mostly because your brain is in such a heightened state all the time that whatever rises to the top just comes out. People tend to walk on eggshells around you because they are afraid of your response.

3. You Look For Escape.

Anywhere.  I just need to escape.  To my phone.  To a streaming service.  I need to get lost in a rabbit hole of videos.  To alcohol.  To shopping online. Escaping to whatever your vice is. You find yourself knowing there is something wrong, but refusing to face it and so you escape and kick the problem down the road.  One issue with this.  The problem is a snowball.  And you are kicking it down the hill.  It gathers steam and size and before you know it, it runs you over at the bottom of the hill.

If you are facing any of these…

Just know this- you are NOT alone.  Not even close.  Take a deep breath.  If you are a numbers person and want to see some more evidence, here are some statistics on burnout, including the fact that almost 60% of people faced moderate or greater burnout in 2022.  That’s hard to ignore.  So take a deep breath.  You are not alone.

So what can you do…

Here are a couple of suggestions.  First, stop lying to yourself.  There is something wrong.  And that is ok.  Second, talk to someone about it.  A friend, a trusted advisor, a mentor, a mental health professional, or reach out to me.  I have walked this journey!  Third, learn to pause.  Even when you don’t have time.  To just take a few deep breaths and re-center.  And last, accept this gift from me as a step in moving forward.

Whatever you do…

Don’t ignore the warning signs.  There is a lot at stake.  Your health.  Your relationships.  Everything is at stake.  And you are priceless.  You are the only person who is 100% qualified to bring your unique awesome to the world.  Do anything other than doing nothing.  I believe in you!


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