It's Okay to Burn Out
I want to be transparent: I'm feeling early signs of work-related burnout. For me, this shows up as physical symptoms (inability to focus, exhaustion) as well as in weaker-than-usual boundaries (not being able to "turn off" mentally after work, forgetting to schedule in self-care and community-care time). Of course, these are also self-reinforcing behaviors: the more I lean into them, the worse they get.
Long ago, I gave myself permission for burnout to be okay. If you build communities, you're bound to push yourself a little too hard sometimes. You do it because you care. There is so much good in that. Burnout comes from such a sweet and tender place and, therefore, the only way to care for it is to approach it with that same sweet tenderness. You can't reason your way out of it.
Over the years, I've found that the more I've treated my feelings of burnout with kindness, the shorter they last — a symptom of burnout that once might have snowballed over weeks now dissipates over a day or two.
Now is time for some radical, stop-in-my-tracks-and-put-my-sh*t-first self-care. For me, that looks like a combination of both self-care and community-care, involving:
Getting outside for walks and hikes a few times per week
Reading fiction and non-work magazines
Spending time with friends and asking how I can support them and receive support
Delegating everything I can to project partners
Listening to upbeat music
Being instead of doing
Pruning my to-do list to only the 20% of items that are most likely to bring me energy and move my (or my client's) work forward
After I've rested a bit, I can get back to listening deeply to others, leading, and creating community from a place of abundance. But, this week, I'm practicing radical self-care and focusing on the above. If I give to myself, I can give of myself more powerfully.
I'd like you to join me if you're feeling even a little depleted. Comment below and tell me ONE thing you'll do to care for yourself this week. If you're not feeling depleted, tell me your secret. :)