Dear soft hearted loves,
People have been talking about burning out quite a bit so I thought I’d blog about it. Burn out sometimes has Eurocentric solutions that aren’t accessible or don’t help everyone. This article will explain what burnout is and three ways to address it.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve snapped at a coworker, fell asleep at work, or made an unhelpful decision with a client to address your burnout. You may feel tired, irritable, and heavy in a way that really only revolves around your work or the duties involving your burnout (such as specifically related to work, caretaking, or parenting). It may be that when you stop working or doing this other activity you feel like yourself again. You may notice your energy return quickly not like with a more long-standing depressive episode. Burn out for me amazes me when I bounce back on the weekend and recover when I’m not working. It also felt difficult in the past when I dealt with burnout when people would talk a lot about vacations. I didn’t have time or money to dedicate to these vacations. I’d like to talk about other ideas we can consider as an immediate and long-term balm for those burned places in your psyche. Some of us are even the firefighters for other people’s psyche. We have some double, triple burn to tend to in these cases.
I believe that with accessing your recharge you may be able to recover from your burnout. With that being said, if you continue to suffer from burnout it may be helpful to access a healer who can truly help you out at this time such as a kind psychologist who can support you through depression.
We may look at how to prevent burnout, but then I think we need to get into a long and helpful discussion on sexism and colonialism. What I mean by that is that often times women, especially women of color are expected to do more for less. For example, for many years they have psychologists, especially women of color psychologists under earn in areas where burn out is most prevalent. We hear it modeled and perpetuated all of the time. So to prevent burnout, which I believe to be the more important topic, we will talk in another blog in the near future about how to dismantle sexism and colonialism in your work life, but for now let us broach the more superficial issue of how to recover from burnout now:
- Intentionality-I’m almost certain that you’re already intentional out there in the world. If you’re reading this blog my guess is you live intentionally by trying to recover from your burnout. Every song, tv show, media, and friend conversation can be taxing on someone who is already burned out and it is difficult to spot. I’m not talking about doing laundry and getting groceries. I’m talking about the other things we do in our lives that feel less intentional. When we discern what brings us joy or gives us reprieve from the burned parts of our spirit then we can recover. It can be difficult not to bounce off the bowling bumpers given someone may feel so tired, but it may not serve us well to live unintentionally bouncing off the bumpers down the lane. We can live intentionally by reviewing our values, reallocating time, and practicing boundaries that are authentic to us. For example, if you love a friend, and also notice you feel drained and distracted when you talk with her lately you may check in with yourself. Would it be helpful to talk with her at a different time of the day? Less often? Or in person rather than on the phone? Another example is bouncing in between watching a TV show and checking emails from work. If you’re racking through work communications instead of enjoying a series or if you’re feeling too charged by the TV show and are reverting back to work to soothe you can pause here and see what works best for you. What is it that soothes you? What feeds your spirit? And how can you get more of that in your life with other constraints in your life? For example, do you listen to the radio on your headphones or speaker as you travel to work when it may make you feel better to have quiet time or listen to your favorite book? Or are you calling people back to go with the motions of life or is it serving the greatest good of all?
2. People-Speaking of people, who are those people who help recharge your energy? Even if you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP) with loads of introverted tendencies, you are human and need people. There are a couple of people I feel deeply heard by and who I attempt to hear as well. These folx are in my heart. I can share or not share as much as I need to. These are people who do not judge me. They praise me when I didn’t know there was praise to find. We may talk about difficult cases. We may be playful. Whatever it is these friendships do NOT look like the TV show Friends with everyone looking alike and laughing over coffee every morning. Maybe you and your friends look like this, but that stumped me for some years. These heart connections can come from unexpected places. They are your family. I’d rather have one heart connection like this than 20 friends who I stay on the surface with, especially as an HSP. As we set boundaries around communications with people where we are not our authentic selves or feel drained around we can have more room the people we feel best around. I think of myself like a happy puppy. There’s certain pups who I can’t wait to smell and almost tackle with my love. When you’re burned out, save it for the pups that fill your heart.
3. Yourself-You can also spend some time as you’d like to. We don’t all have our own room or space so time to yourself may be internal or it may be outdoors. For example, if there’s a place you feel energized by can you spend a bit of time there to recharge? Or are you craving meditation time to internally take time for you? Time in the way you want it does not have to be the Eurocentric images I think of when I think of self-care and burnout. Make it whatever you need it to be.