Exhausted. Again. When you love your work, when you've got a big heart and want to make a difference for as many people as possible, it can be easy to push yourself way too hard.
Knowing I am the co-author of a book called “Save Yourself from Burnout,” you might think I would not let that happen to me. Sadly for me, if you did think that, you'd be wrong.
I am excited to get the word out about the book, because I want to get help for burnout into the hands of many people as possible. In service of that goal, by last Saturday, I was exhausted. I knew that if I didn't return to following my own system, I'd end up useless to the very people I so want to help.
Time to walk my talk. And despite my embarrassment about being out of alignment with my own advice, I decided to be transparent. Because I'm quite sure I'm not alone in allowing myself to get exhausted in pursuit of a valued goal, I shared my process with you.
I made a video. I hope watching it helps you, if you're exhausted.
In the video, I talk about “walking myself around the Burnout Shield.” This Shield is the heart of our book, “Save Yourself from Burnout.”
And in this post, I'd like to add a sneak preview from the last chapter of the book, for more clarity about some of the ways you can use your Burnout Shield:
Burnout Is Mental, Emotional and Spiritual
Burnout’s triad of exhaustion, disconnection, and lack of purpose can feel like a whole set of different problems. Don’t let this variety of issues fool you as to the underlying cause: burnout. Use your Burnout Shield to help you recover, and get help now if you are in great distress.
Please, please, be gentle with yourself as you recover. Because burnout is so misunderstood in the modern world, it can be easy to believe burnout is the result of weakness or inadequacy. The truth is, you are a rock star. And rock stars that last are the ones that build regular recharging into their lives.
There Is Plenty of Hope
There are certainly a lot of “external” causes of burnout, as you noted in the first worksheet in this chapter, and many of them may be outside your control. However, if your external environment is not likely to change for the better (and even if it is) there is still plenty you can personally do about it, in five Key Areas, using your Burnout Shield. Your situation is full of hope.
Remember to Recharge
Get the five areas of the Burnout Shield into your head. Whether you visualize it as a knight’s buckler blocking whatever is coming at you, or a futuristic force field that surrounds and protects you on every side (or you have some other mental picture that works for you), the Burnout Shield can serve as your go-to reference for a quick check-in on how you’re keeping burnout at bay, so you can survive and thrive.
We built the Burnout Shield to be much more than a random collection of tips. It is your KISSY system: Keep It Simple, Save Yourself. By reviewing your Burnout Shield, you can quickly use it as a source of information for something new to add, when you are ready for more ways to recharge your energy and productivity.
Our clients have discovered a number of other ways to make use of the system. They suggest you take a mental glance over your Burnout Shield dashboard when:
Your “rumble strip” personal warning signs show up in your life, as described in the first section of this chapter.
When you’re considering dropping a pleasurable activity out of your life. Do the Burnout Shield benefits of this activity outweigh the areas where it stresses your Shield? If so, you might consider putting that activity back in your life as soon as you possibly can.
You are “speeding,” or even tempted to overstretch yourself again. In fact, if you’re considering any new project or commitment, take it through a quick mental whirl around your Burnout Shield, asking the same question as above: Do the Burnout Shield benefits of this activity outweigh the areas where it stresses your Shield? If they do not, and you still want to take it on, your next question to ask your Shield: what can I do to protect my Capacity?
You feel you are running out of gas. When your energy or interest flags, that’s another good time to do a quick mental review of your Shield. What strategy would help, right now? We both do this, every day. With our go-getter attitudes, we really need these reminders to help us “walk our talk!”’
© 2017 Marnie Loomis and Beth Genly
There you have it. A video, and a book excerpt. If you're exhausted, I hope you'll consider relying on your Burnout Shield.