Tag Archives: mental-health

Re-inventing yourself

3 Jun
recycling

recycling (Photo credit: Giuseppe Moscato)

It seems that the only way out of a burnout is to go through.

There is no going around, over, or under. Not if you want out.

Once you are in, you have to go through.

For me, it felt pretty shitty. I had no energy, and spent all of my not-working-time simply in recovery. However, once I started looking around, and experiencing where I was, there was much to learn.

Don’t expect what you find on the other side, after you are “out,” to be your ultimate solution. It is the solution for NOW.
My insight came when I realized that I might be able to function as a “tour guide” for people experiencing burnout. I was able to re-kindle my love of writing and website-making to create this blog, and I was off and running. I started feeling much better, remarkably quickly. I had re-invented myself as an expert on burnout, professional, emotional, and physical.

I learned something else in the process of that re-invention, as I started living as my reinvented self. Reading about burnout all day, and then writing about it, is kind of depressing! It was as if I was spending loads of time knee-deep in territory that I desperately wanted to escape.  I am thankful for the Feldenkrais Method, and the way of thinking and exploring that have become foundational in my life and problem-solving style. Here is what I gleaned:

  • nothing is permanent. Nothing. What you observe and experience now, is simply what you observe and experience NOW. Keep observing and experiencing. Whatever it is, will change.
  • make small, comfortable changes. Observe and experience whether those changes make a difference. If you notice a difference, it means that something has changed. (See number 1.)
  • keep making small, comfortable changes. Keep observing and experiencing. Experiment with doing more of the changes that produced positive results (whatever that is for you), and doing less of the changes that produced negative results. You will quickly get the hang of it.

My subsequent reinvention resulted in another website, MoveSleepEat.com Through it, I hope to take my “tour guide” tendencies into the areas of my specialization: movement, insomnia, and healthy eating. I feel jazzed and energized by it. Business is booming, and I feel positive and clear for the first time in a long time. Reinvention is always a work in progress. (See number 1.)

This Method works in a variety of settings. It works in movement difficulties, pain, stress, and insomnia. It works for examining lifestyle changes, like what time you go to bed a night, what food you put into your mouth, what you spend your time thinking about. Each new experiment is a new invention. Combining those good inventions in a way that feels right, now, is the beginning of reinventing yourself, healthier and wiser.

Trepidation

22 Nov
A roast turkey prepared for a traditional U.S....

A roast turkey prepared for a traditional U.S. Thanksgiving meal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is the eve of  The Month of Mayhem. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I just wrote a really poetic and negative couple of sentences about how I dread the holidays. It was so dark and dramatic that I deleted it. My assessment of the holidays boils down to two words: “Too much.”  Too much food, too much work, too much stress, too much of everything. I went through a couple of decades where the holidays were a blur of excess. I used to expect a wave of near-depression as soon as the first decorations appeared — which means that from the end of September until New Year’s, I was in a funk.

The last few years have been much, much better.  I have embraced the Mayhem, or at least accepted it as “the state of how things are going to be for awhile.” It really is OK. This year, I have new resolve to treat myself well and to pay attention to the warning signs that I could veer off into the “burnout zone.”

My inspiration today came from, of all things, the airlines’ pre-flight safety speech, regarding the oxygen mask. If you fly more than once a year, you ca probably recite the speech from memory. Here’s the part that inspired me: “If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, SECURE YOUR OWN MASK FIRST, and THEN assist the other person(s).” (Emphasis mine.)

The next few weeks will be full of demands. Lots of people ask me to do lots of things.  Some of those things are my job, and some of those things, I really would like to do.  But not all of them. I have new priorities: excellent nutrition and rest for myself, excellent attention for my clients and students, firm stop times for work so that home time is relaxing and renewing. If I do decide to say “Yes” to a request, I will make sure that I bring my oxygen mask along, and keep it ready for my own self-care.

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