Burnt Out Not Broken
What I’m starting to learn (well ‘trying’ to at least), is that I have more power than I give myself. No, I’m not talking about Superwoman powers because although I ‘think’ I can do it all, I cannot. I’m talking about the power of perspective. What screws us up sometimes is the idea of what life is supposed to be, and when it doesn’t happen, our world falls apart. But good news - we can control our perceptions and our responses to those things that happen to us in life
I’m trying to see obstacles as a way of challenging my perspectives. Thanks to Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle Is The Way, I have a new mindset to apply in my own life. Let me tell ya, it has been a STRUGGLE (at times)! It's one thing to know, and it’s another to apply.
I recently shared a post on Instagram about a little trip I took to escape by myself and recharge. I thought, wow, this is great! My own cottage with a fireplace and a lakefront view - the perfect atmosphere to do some soul-searching. Well, needless to say, the level of energy I had at that point was enough to stock the stove of wood, crawl into my pjs and maybe put in an hour of reading and writing. Most of my time was spent sitting. Sitting and watching the fire burn. I couldn't really think and writing almost felt like work. As I sat and watched the fire burn fiercely, it made me think about when I felt that way - invincible, driven and on fire. Instead, it has a slow burn to a lacklustre flame. Just enough fuel to make it to the next day - surviving, not thriving. How did I get here? Well, it didn’t happen overnight ... and so I reflected on the past year.
2017 was a year of some new beginnings, discoveries, and challenges, including separation – separation in relationships, work and most importantly, a separation of myself. You see where this is going, huh? ... In fact, my last blog ‘Sea-Change,’ was a true testament that I was not managing well. In my quest to “not leave ‘me’ behind,” I oftentimes did just that, as I attempted to stay on top of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Those attempts have cost me something - my mental health. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are times when sacrifice is important and beneficial, however, in my case, I let it go too far.
Now, I’ve been faced with a decision - an opportunity to make important life changes (my obstacle). The old way is not working for me, and burnout is a b*tch (not the offensive kind - the kind that is extremely difficult and unpleasant ... that's the Merriam-Webster definition). Instead of fighting it - I'm deciding to use the power of perspective and see this obstacle as a gift.
In what feels like one of my most vulnerable moments, I am not ashamed to say, I have burned out, and I am burnt out. But as difficult as it has been, I can no longer keep running on this hampster wheel of busyness, where it debilitates my ability to be effective in my relationships, my work but most importantly, in my own self-care. However, I am thankful for the important life lessons and discoveries that I have received because of the journey I am on right now - and this is exactly where I need to be.
Self-care is an ongoing commitment - and for me, it’s something that I have to continue to work on each day. In doing so, I will focus on more (guilt-free) time for myself. I will take good care of myself through exercise and a healthy diet (sushi is healthy, right?). I will set personal boundaries as a way of not overloading myself - carving out downtime in my schedule, not taking on too much work, and learning to say ‘no’ (and sticking to it). I will find ways to minimize, and ease the feeling of being stuffed.
I’m looking forward to 2018. Not because of the #NewYearNewMe movement but because 2017 gave me some valuable lessons to take on the road ahead. Every day is a new day to try again.
Founder of Life Out Loud
Martina has over 10 years’ professional experience working as a Personal Development Counsellor and Instructor and holds a diploma in Social Services (Addictions Counselling concentration) from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), as well as a BA (hons) in Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University.
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