Ask a Coach: On BurnoutFeb 18, 2022 06:00AM ● By Terri Kozlowski
Introducing our new Ask a Coach column where you can ask one of our three consulting coaches about just about anything! A new column will appear every month on our website and once a quarter in our print magazine. To submit a question, go to bit.ly/naa-ask-a-coach. ❧
I feel pretty burned out from dealing with all the stress in my life. What can I do about it?
Most people think burnout is about feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, primarily due to stress. But two additional components to burnout can also play a role: cynicism and blame.
If you are looking at life through a negative lens of pessimism, you are undoubtedly turning disapproval inward as well. You allow the egoic voice to overtake the soul’s whispers, and you feel unworthy. You believe you aren’t good enough because you’re not keeping up with your to-do list. As a result, your harsh self-judgment gets projected onto the world.
Destructive attitudes create a negative filter through which we perceive our environment. But when we look through a hazy lens, we miss out on the joys in our lives. We don’t see the love that surrounds us because we’re focused on the darkness. We perceive the world as “us versus them.”
This inner turbulence then leads to blaming ourselves for not handling all we think we need to deal with in our lives. So we lose interest in doing our best, and we only do what we feel we have to do so we can get by. As this cycle continues, burnout occurs. What’s worse is it permeates all areas of our lives, including our health.
There are warning signs of being overly stressed. You might find it difficult to concentrate, have less pride in your accomplishments, or have a hard time seeing your goals. You might also get frustrated with those around you because you are tired and have tense muscles. Do you have any of these warning signs of burnout?
The Road to Recovery
Like burnout, recovery is a gradual process. It begins when you realize you’re stressed and you are willing to heed the warning signs. Start the reversal process by looking for ways to manage the stress. Then rebuild your resilience by taking care of yourself.
Seek authentic connections and support within your tribe. Asking for help is a sign of strength, and those who love you will want to see you move past the stress in your life. Let them help in whatever way they can. Reconnecting with others can also help you become more aware of what’s going on in your life. It also gives you a more positive and helpful perspective as you reframe the story you tell yourself about your circumstances.
Once you have the clarity, you can reevaluate your priorities and set some boundaries to help build and maintain a more relaxed lifestyle. Being able to tell others that you cannot take on any more responsibility is key to helping you deal with current obligations. People, even co-workers, recognize that one person can only do so much. So be open and honest with those in your life about not taking on more.
Finally, to build up your resilience so you don’t burn out in the future, you need to add some self-care practices to your routine. Self-care is everything you consciously do to tend to your mental, emotional and physical health. While it’s a simple notion, it’s something frequently overlooked. Basic self-care is vital to improving mood and reducing stress. Here are some practical tips for making the most of your self-care:
Choose your focus. Get clarity about what you plan to focus on for the day. First, create a to-do list and prioritize the items on it. Then, move items that can be done on another day into specific dates on your calendar. Once you’ve pared down your to-do list, take on the first item and stay focused on it for 40 minutes. Then take a five-minute break. This work schedule allows your brain to remain attentive without distractions for peak productivity.
Burnout can feel overwhelming, but it’s not insurmountable. When you understand the causes and implement these strategies, you can recover and learn ways to prevent burnout from occurring in the future. ❧
Native American Terri Kozlowski is a certified life coach and author of Raven Transcending Fear. She hosts the podcast “Soul Solutions,” which is available on many platforms. Contact her at TerriKozlowski.com