Stress has become a way of life, especially during midlife. As hormones shift—after 40 and during perimenopause—those day-in, day-out stressors amplify. Together, these evil twins of stress and hormones can turn frequent stress into burnout.
If you haven't read it already, our Burnout 101 post gives you all the basics on burnout. To recap: Burnout is a feeling of complete exhaustion resulting from prolonged emotional, physical, and/or mental stress. You know, relationships, family, work, house, the state of the world. It all catches up with us, especially as women often carry more load.
We’ve all read the same old suggestions. They work but don’t always fit into this life stage. We’ve remade the usual suspects into doable nuggets that can help manage stress and quell burnout.
Can’t Sleep? Disco Nap.
We know: Lack of sleep is a health killer and can cause memory issues, mood changes, weight gain, and low sex drive. Since nearly half of midlife women fight insomnia 4 nights a week, it’s more complex than just “nix Netflix and go to bed an hour earlier.”
With many of us working from home, take advantage. Here’s how we’ve been fitting in cat naps—or disco naps, as we called them in college:
- The optimum time frame is 12-18 minutes. No grogginess when you wake up.
- Set an alarm or timer for about 22 minutes, allowing a few to settle in.
- Go to the darkest comfy space in the house, be it a couch or kid’s room.
- Plan for what works. Need to drag the weighted blanket in, open the white noise app or take your socks off? Do it.
- Good times to disco nap.
- Right after school drop off.
- Or after school pickup, when kids are decompressing.
- After dinner, if a few more hours or late-night work are planned.
- Post-early workout, right after showering.
- During lunch hour or a meeting everyone but you is attending.
- When you’re so exhausted you just want to put your head down - do it!
Feeling weird about sleeping during work or “us” time? If you’re fried, you’d probably spend that time (plus more) online, scrolling through feeds or otherwise unfocused. A disco nap makes you more productive, not less.
And in a world where women are expected to over-function, as the Nap Ministry says, “Rest is resistance.”
Can’t Exercise? Move.
Just moving your body gets tension out of your system and completes your stress cycle. It increases calming serotonin and happy dopamine.
But if fitting in a full workout feels impossible, reset the bar to movement. The 5x a-week gym schedule or soccer league of your 20s is irrelevant right now. Instead, try:
- Going “video off” for a conference call where you are mostly listening and taking a walk. Indoor squats, leg lifts, or toe raises work, too.
- Stroll the block or park while a pet is at the vet or your kid is at a practice.
- Schedule a “walk-and-talk” catch-up with a friend, chatting by phone if schedules are tight.
- Do a Taylor Swift and shake it out after a stressful call or moment. Literally. Stand and shake every part of your body for 60 seconds.
- Try a one-song dance party while cooking or when coffee’s brewing.
- Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth or waiting for the microwave.
- Touch your toes or do 1 yoga pose during the opening credits of a show (those commercials on Hulu are ok, after all)
Forget Meditation. Breathe.
Yes, we’ve heard: Regular meditation is the key to happiness, heart health, and much more. However, if we’re getting up 30 minutes early, laundry, work, or those elusive workouts may win.
Until your schedule allows perfection, try box breathing whenever you feel stressed. It works like this:
- Breathe in for a count of 4.
- Hold for a count of 4.
- Exhale for a count of 4.
- Hold for a count of 4.
- Repeat at least 4 times.
You can increase the counts. Do what works. Just do it. We box breathe:
- When we’re getting angry or feeling our heart accelerate.
- When someone we love is saying or doing something we don’t like.
- At stop lights.
- When we are lying in bed and can’t sleep.
- While our conditioner or skin serum is soaking in.
Get Together with Friends (Even If It Feels a Little Awkward)
One of the telltale signs of burnout? Disengaging from activities and friends you'd typically enjoy. After going dormant, reaching out can feel hard. That’s ok, do it anyway.
Here are some ways to make get-togethers more doable:
- Try “errand dates” where you hit Costco or even meal prep with a friend.
- Pull out your phone and actually schedule the coffee or lunch when it comes up in conversation.
- Text a friend you’ve lost touch with. Typically they’re in the same boat and are happy someone reached out.
- Set up a monthly or quarterly happy hour with work friends (past or current) who are now WFH. Your boss may even be willing to pick up the tab.
If stress and burnout significantly impact your life, connect with a therapist who can help you navigate this period. There's no shame in getting the help you need.
Start Saying No (And Be OK With It)
With an endless to-do list, let go of the idea you’ll get everything done. Some of it doesn’t have to. Try:
- “I can’t work it into my schedule right now.”
- No email after 9 pm.
- Store bought instead of homemade.
- Decline or delegate tasks to your spouse, kid, or direct report. Let them do it their way and decide not to care as long as it gets done by someone who isn’t you.
Will you disappoint people? Maybe. But they’ll get over it, get used to it, and may even be secretly relieved. When one person sets better boundaries, it can set a new tone.
Try a Tincture
Fact: Even small changes can seem daunting. A first step is Wile Burnout Relief. It's a potent herbal concentrate with clinically backed ingredients and no stimulants. And it can go in your handbag, car, drawer, etc.
Just 1-2 full droppers right under your tongue can help:
- Relieve physical signs of burnout
- Help you find the spark and re-energize in body and mind
- Regain your focus
- Boost stress resilience and tolerance
The great news is that it's not all or nothing. Shop now for Wile Burnout Relief. Then explore other supplements to help ease the stress that comes in midlife and perimenopause, such as our Un-Anger and Un-Worry tinctures.
This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. Wile, Inc researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.