Seeking balance can lead to burnout
Be Happy Life Coaching
Personal Development, Life Coaching, Life Coach
A few years ago I believed that living a balanced life meant that I needed to exercise, meditate, play and work in equal amounts and with the same intensity. I was chasing “balance” and drove myself as hard to be “balanced”, as I did at work. “Of course I am balanced”, I would argue, “I am looking after myself in between working 12 hours a day, exercising every day of the week, getting up early to meditate, staying up late to finish deadlines or attend social functions, and then rushing to have a massage before racing back to deal with my 1001 responsibilities. What more can I do?” The more I tried to force my “well-being” into my hectic schedule, the less energy I had.
What I am learning is that balance requires not only that I add what is good for me (such as meditation and yoga) to my To Do List , but also – and more importantly – to take an equal amount off the List (Thanks Laurie Folie for this amazing tip). This can be an actual activity that seems urgent but is not important, or it can be letting go of something, or both. For example:
To do: Write Blog
Don’t do: Procrastinate by spending hours on the internet “researching” for my blog (and then only freaking myself out and to a stand still)
Let Go: Need for blog to be perfect.
This practice allows Non-doing to become as important as Doing. It was a difficult shift for me because I wanted it all… But when I unpacked what “all” was, I discovered that what I wanted was the feelings of contentment and fulfillment. All this doing only resulted in feelings of tension, exhaustion and frustration – and a body that cried out ENOUGH!
I am working on living a more mindful and gentler way, where I allow more things to unfold and use my willpower and force less often or at least in a more discerning way. It requires letting go of my need to be control. Now I practice trusting that if I create some space for non-doing in my week, the creative juices will flow, allowing me to be more effective and productive. Astonishingly, I found myself with more time… I noticed that as soon as I force things (fear driven), I tended to get stuck in freeze mode, had to drink a lot more coffee and relied on my adrenalin to meet deadlines. After decades of functioning like this, it is no wonder I ended up with depleted adrenal glands that resorted to producing poisonous cortisol as a backup. This new way of doing/non-doing allows me to live a full life with greater ease – rather than driven to burnout.
INVITATION: What three small changes can you make to practice trusting more and controlling less? What three small things can you let go of and not do today?
A note to all of you who, like me, tend to be too hard on yourself: It is a new way and requires practice. Expect to fail. I watch out for signs and signals from my body that I am using an outdated mode of being ( in my case it is when I carry tension in my neck and shoulders) – and simply try again next time round. Remember it is about being gentler, not about doing things perfectly.
I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email with any burnout related questions. Email Me or check out the next First Aid for Burnout Prevention workshop in Cape Town.
May you be at ease and happy!
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