Precursors to Burnout

19 May

One of the characteristics of burn-out, when you’re in the middle of it, is a sense of overwhelm. You’ve lost your mojo, your ability to concentrate, perhaps even your ability to remember a time when you were capable, competent, confident. Just know that those things are still there. You just can’t get to them. SO — they are not “lost,” they are simply “misplaced.” That can be a distinction that makes the difference between continuing the downward slide, and beginning a hopeful upswing. You are still you. You have an opportunity to make some changes so that the best possible “You” can emerge.

Notice that I didn’t say, “The Old You.” The Old You is just the You that you knew. Perhaps there’s an even better You that is preparing to come forth. Didn’t think of that, did you?

A number of things led up to your burnout. It doesn’t matter whether you know, or understand, all of the factors. Just know that this didn’t come “out of the blue.” Conditions were favorable for burnout, you just didn’t notice. Here’s what you must do: start creating new conditions — conditions that are favorable for you to feel well, energized, and thriving. Conditions where You 2.0 is happy.

How to do this? I like the 15-minute technique. When you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, set a timer for 15 minutes, and do something different from what you were just doing. Go for a walk. Watch some cat videos. Clean off your bathroom counter and sink, or your kitchen counter. Fold and put away your laundry. ANYTHING. Take a picture at the end of 15 minutes so that you can look back and appreciate that you did something that was only for yourself.

After you are in practice with these little 15-minute bursts, begin to use this time for something creative. Write in a journal. Draw a picture. Take some photos or video. Work a little bit on a craft project. You will gradually have a “body of work” built up that begins to feed and restore your soul. As you do these things, you will have energy and clarity to make other changes. You could eat a piece of fruit, instead of a cookie. You could find a 5-minute exercise video on YouTube and move a little bit. Inch by inch, these new patterns will have a positive effect.

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