I’ve recently been hearing a lot of people say they feel completely burned out.
Burned out at work, with their responsibilities, and tending to life in general.
I understand what they’re going through because I’ve been there myself. It can be easy to feel alone and confused when you’re in the midst of it, so I’m writing this to offer a new perspective…
FIRST, it’s important to understand:
True burnout is different from being stressed.
Burnout doesn’t go away after a long weekend or a bubble bath.
♦️ True burnout builds over months or years of feeling under-resourced, under-supported, undervalued, and/or under-appreciated. ♦️
It leaves you numb, disconnected, cynical, alienated. As you go about your day, you may wonder, “Does any of this even matter?”
➡ If you’re navigating this yourself, please know there’s actually something very interesting (and hopeful) about the place you are right now. 🌅
Burnout is NOT a character failing or another problem to be solved.
It’s a spiritual turning point.
Author Stephen G. Wright describes burnout as a spiritual crisis…a collision between our deepest authentic self and our worldly priorities.
During burnout, we come face-to-face with the truth that the two are wildly out of sync.
Something needs to change.
Or rather, it will change – one way or another, whether you want it to or not.
So we’ve got a choice:
1) If we keep going in the direction that created the burnout, there may likely be changes we don’t want. For example, a difficult health event, a breakdown of important relationships, or an inability to continue working.
2) We can hear this as a spiritual invitation calling to us from our deeper wisdom, and choose to follow where that invitation leads.
If we do the latter, this period of time can be one of the most potent, important crossroads of our lives. 💎
As with all life, so much of the outer begins to change when we attend to the inner. Burnout is a time that delivers us right to the heart of the inner world that needs our attention.
Never is it as easy to see what we’re angry about or where we’ve lost trust in others. We can more easily notice what brings emotion, disconnection, relief, peace, interest, and so on.
Becoming aware of our internal experiences in this way is invaluable and will serve us well along our recovery.
If you’re going through burnout right now, here are some questions and activities that can help you deepen the relationship with your true self and initiate movement in a healing direction:
QUESTIONS: Spend some time writing down your answers.
> What will your life be like 5 years from now if you continue along the path you’re currently on?
> Where are your own basic needs for rest, play, creativity, or spiritual connection not being factored into your life?
> What beliefs are keeping you stuck in over-giving, over-working, making others more important than you, or tolerating a lack of vital support or appreciation?
> Are you holding double standards for yourself when it comes to how much rest and recreation time a person needs?
> What are the opportunity costs of continuing to burn yourself out? What will you be missing out on?
Engage in activities that put you directly in touch with deeper parts of yourself: like writing, somatic therapies, time in nature, connecting with animals or children (unless that’s part of your burnout), making art (whether through painting, music, or cooking beautiful food).
☝🏼 Above are just some questions and activities to help you build connection with your deeper intelligence. But I encourage you to take whatever insights you gain or emotions that emerge, and get support from trusted friends, advisors and professionals to help you work with them.
Remember that your burnout is not a problem. It’s a gift from your spirit, heralding a profound opportunity for your life to come into greater harmony with your truest self.
PS. To dive deeper into this topic, you can read Steven G. Wright’s powerful and healing book on burnout online at no cost: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324726573_Burnout_-_a_spiritual_crisis