(AS SEEN IN BC THE MAG-HEALTH, BEAUTY AND FITNESS ISSUE)
How to Avoid Physical and Spiritual Burnout
By Stacie Rose
BURNOUT IS OFTEN AVOIDABLE
Most of us live pretty busy lives. Even those with less on their plate often find it hard to create a sense of healthy life balance which, left to chance, can create a super burnout scenario making everyday life feel impossibly grueling and exhausting at best. So, what can be done to avoid what feels inevitable during these pandemic times that have left many juggling and scrambling?
LET'S FACE IT
The first step to avoiding burnout is to face it. This is not to say that you should welcome suffering. It's essential to meet the things that manifest overwhelming feelings, physical exhaustion, emotional overload and all the components that leave a person depleted and much less than okay. Those precise "things" might be very different for each individual. Half the battle is recognizing the elements that lead you towards burnout. Too much work? Not enough R&R or time to nurture friendships? A lack of physical activity? Fried food for days? We all need to decompress, self-revelate and take stock of things.
YOU ARE UNIQUE
The catalyst for chaos can be specific to a particular individual. Some may feel overwhelmed by an imbalance in the work/life paradigm. Some may assert that they are taking on too much at home. Parents get weighed down trying to teach, love, provide, shepherd, inspire, nourish, discipline, and "do it all!" Many people feel burned out on social media, keeping up with the fabulous lifestyles of practically everyone with an Instagram account. Teachers have had to become computer programmers, parents have had to become teachers, medical practitioners have to work so much overtime that many have felt broken down physically and mentally.
We're expected to keep going and persevere, especially in times of trouble. There's often no room for tears or tolerance for pulling off to the side of the road for rest, which is why we must nurture ourselves and speak up when the going gets rough. It's okay to sit one out.
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF
Self-advocacy is a new concept to many. People often feel that it's not their place to speak up and to offload the weight when it's just too much. Humans are indeed capable of a lot while we are also… "only human." Since we all have our own crosses to bear, boiling points and breaking points, we must learn to be true to ourselves. You cannot compare yourself to anyone. What causes one person bliss can be a pathway to burnout for another. If you do not advocate for yourself, it's entirely possible and even probable that nobody else will. You owe it to yourself and those who rely upon you, be it partners, pets, parents, or children, to look out for numero uno! Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup. No one can.
PRACTICE SELF CARE AND SELF PRESERVATION
"Health is wholeness and balance, an inner resilience that allows you to meet the demands of living without being overwhelmed."
― Andrew Weil
The art of self-care can be complex or straightforward. It's your choice. It's vital to find the forms of care and self-preservation that work best for you. Remember, your bio-individuality means everything. A massage can be heavenly to some, while others might prefer a vigorous walk or some kitchen therapy in the form of high caloric baking. Meditation can be the path to enlightenment or simply a way to preserve some serenity and sanity during the hustle and bustle kinda week. Music and nature are equalizers for the vast majority, but youmust cultivate the practices that alleviate the stressors in your own life. Setting clear boundaries in the workplace or with friends and family can make all the difference. Turning a thousand yeses into five hundred nos could save you from utter exhaustion. Learning to bubble up, self-protect and deflect negative energy or intrusiveness can be life changing. Releasing toxic people and tossing foods and household products with dangerous chemicals could be a powerful tool for battling burnout.
NOBODY IS PERFECT
You cannot be everything to everybody or save the day every day. You cannot sustain work, relationships or health with no sleep and will probably feel lousy if you do not eat nutritious food and make time to move your body and do things that spark joy. You cannot always say the right thing. You will make mistakes. Often. Please give yourself grace and gratitude and extend that to others who also might be on the edge of burnout.
THINGS OFTEN WORK OUT
A positive mindset never hurt anybody and has the distinct power to move mountains and other obstacles out of the way. Whether you have an etching of Ganesha in your home (for removing those obstacles) or you have never heard of Ganesha, spirituality can play an influential role. People pray for a reason. Getting back to meditation because it's worth mentioning twice, many find solace in those mindful moments. It's a small thing we can do for ourselves with significant benefits. Journaling can be a beautiful way to connect with our stressors and solutions. Breathing is paramount and can save the day in mere minutes. But the takeaway here is that things often work out, especially when we help restore ourselves.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
The effects of burnout can range from being resentful, irritable, exhausted, unmotivated, and bummed out to diminished physical and mental health. We must take this concept seriously and find ways to mitigate stress, toxicity and overwhelm. Burning out can fray our relationships, cause anxiety, physical ailments, and a multitude of diseases. In other words, it matters!
LOOK TO THE STARS
Books, gurus, and inspiration could be around any corner, but you must be willing to seek that stuff out. Devotional, intentional efforts towards preserving and restoring a sense of wellbeing can take a bit of work, tenacity and creativity. This kind of work is undoubtably the most worthwhile variety, by the way. It could be a wellness practitioner, therapist, friend, fellow mom, politician, poet, or songwriter that brings some level of insight. It's up to you to grab hold of it, build upon it and remember that health is wealth every time.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH…
When things feel like too much, it's a sign to slow down, relieve the pressure, look within, make a change, or seek help. It can mean all of those things. Sometimes we simply need support or to reframe, recalibrate and regain perspective. We owe it to ourselves to show up as our best selves or at least some close rendition.
Life is beautiful, but it can also be hard to navigate and that is why people need people, now more than ever. We are in this together and must be gentle with ourselves and one another. Space and time are powerful concepts. Love and compassion are always healthy options for battling burnout; whether it's a blip on the radar or a big deal, you owe it to yourself to get back to the you that feels true.
Make wellness your highest priority. Be present. Burnout can come in many forms, but it doesn't need to derail you or impinge upon your quality of life. You are worthy of feeling relaxed, recharged, and ready to revel in the next moment, whatever that may be.