Monday, July 15, 2013

Take back your power

Have you ever been burned out? Careers aren't the only causes of burnout. An extraordinarily busy family life can just as easily cause burnout as can a stressful, high-level career.

Burnout isn't anything you want to ignore. In addition to sucking the joy right out of your life and looking very much like depression if it goes on long enough, it left unchecked, it becomes that much more difficult for you to take charge of your life again.

A fairly recent book by Joan Borysenko, Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive, chronicles her journey through burnout  and back out again. She also includes the stories of and quotes from a Facebook community of others who have suffered through burnout. One especially good quote comes from Jan Carmichael Davies: "Sometimes we need permission to surrender to the feelings of burnout in order to take stock, be gentle with ourselves, and begin to safely rebuild our lives. Too many people these days keep powering through, toughing it out, until they collapse. They don't feel that they have permission to stop and put themselves first."

Borysenko said another Facebook friend told her that she used to think burnout "was an admission that something was wrong with her." But now that woman sees it "as an invitation to come into alignment with a more elegant expression of her gifts, relationships, and overall life energy."

Isn't that a beautiful way to see burnout? That woman is taking a negative in her life and seeing the possibilities in it. What would happen if you did that, whether it's with your burnout or with some other situation or disheartening part of your life? What's going on right now for you that might be inviting you to "a more elegant expression" of your "gifts, relationships, and overall life energy"? I'm asking myself that same question since this whole idea intrigues me.

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