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Burnout To Brilliance: Crafting a Self-Care Lifestyle

#corevalues #criticalthinking #hope #selfcare Sep 11, 2023

Have you ever been tempted to fill a day with play before work? 

What if it could recharge your batteries allowing you to accomplish everything that must be done? 

Well, In a society where work is often (read: always) prioritized over play, I’m here to turn that idea on its head.

This all got started one day this summer as I worked feverishly on a full business rebrand, message dial-in (or niche down, if you prefer), and podcast pivot. The amount of work, number of things to learn, deadlines to set and (of course) meet, all became overwhelming. 

One morning I pretty much just said “screw it,” threw on my yard working clothes and headed out for 2.5 hours of back breaking, sweaty work in my overgrown garden beds and fire pit. 

The resulting clarity of mind and energized body with which I returned to work was startling. 

So much so, that I began changing up my routine when I could and took a long hard look at how I was doing my work. I’m now convinced that this radical shift could energize my success.

But how did I get there? What pushed me to the edge where I threw up my hands and marched outside to literally pull up dead daisies (dead though they were)

I was raised with the good old fashioned “Protestant Work Ethic.” You know, the one that says you don’t get to play until you’ve finished your work. You also don’t get dessert before dinner, or anything else that requires you to “put in your time.”  I’m not alone here, it's so common for people to push play to the sidelines until work is completed that we have a society full of burnouts. 

The problem is that when you do that on a consistent basis, you lose the ability to see when your own battery needs recharging. You get used to pushing the limit each day, thinking you just need to do one more thing in order to “be productive,” and by the time you do get to recharge, you end up with a battery that will only charge to 80%. 

You start each day, or project, in a deficit, never quite able to catch up.

That’s where I was. 

I was ignoring the warning signs: frustration, quick trigger anger, lack of enthusiasm, and even setting more goals than I could actually achieve. 

The ability to identify when you're running low on energy is crucial. We all know that ignoring signs of exhaustion and persistently pushing yourself to work will obviously lead to burnout. But self-care is still an afterthought. 

It’s time to acknowledge its essential role in maintaining your productivity and overall well-being. By understanding and acknowledging your energy levels, you can identify when it's time to step back and recharge.

But that’s a whole other issue, isn’t it? Recognizing what refuels you is critical to effective self-care. 

For me, oddly enough, it’s completing projects.

 Projects that make my space feel peaceful, finished, welcoming, and complete. The process of working through a problem, figuring out the solution, and creating change in my physical environment just sets my soul at ease. It charges my battery. 

What activities energize you? It could be a quick workout session, reading a book, or simply spending time with loved ones. Identifying these activities and integrating them into your daily routine is an important step towards achieving a balanced work-play lifestyle.

Knowing what you need isn't enough - you have to do something with that information. 

I know what works for me, I’ve known for years. But I still pushed myself to the point that I had to abandon my work and get viscous with my garden in a state of desperate need.

But what do I mean by “Play?” 

Anything that recharges your battery. Anything that brings you joy. Anything that causes you to think outside your problems and gives you the ability to think more clearly.

Which brings me to one of the biggest challenges my clients face:giving themselves permission to put down the work and engage in “play.” 

The conditioned belief that work must always come first is so deeply ingrained that breaking away from it can be difficult, but it's crucial to your health and growth. 

I walk them through a simple three step process - simple, but not necessarily easy. 

  1. Figure out what recharges your battery.
  2. Identify the signs your battery is getting low.
  3. Write your own permission slip to recharge in a way that will make you more productive.

The traditional work-first approach is not the only path to success - and it may not be the best path for you or anyone else.

If that means you flip the work-play idea upside down and play first (each day), so be it. 

When you figure out what works for you, you can energize your success and achieve a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

So - leave a comment and answer me one of those three questions:

  1. What recharges your battery?
  2. What are the signs your battery level is low?
  3. Share your permission slip to recharge in a way that will make you more productive!


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