Burnout is on everyone’s mind.
The key to addressing burnout is incorporating boundaries and mindfulness practices before you reach this point. The practices are simple, but enacting the discipline is the difficult part.
People tend to burnout because they don’t have healthy boundaries and may not even understand their boundaries. We also don’t talk enough about how energy expenditure plays a factor in exhaustion and stress.
What are healthy boundaries?
Regarding work, it’s having a strong sense of self and your values, so you know how to communicate them to your colleagues and supervisors. It’s clearly understanding how much you want to give to your career, job, and organization. And being able to share and enforce these boundaries with others.
You feel supported by your colleagues and team and don’t feel like work is overwhelming.
(I know some of you are rolling your eyes. Most organizations are overwhelming, I get it, but it doesn’t need to be that way.)
Energetically, it’s important to understand how some tasks, people and projects draw more energy from us than others. This is different for everyone, so you’ll need to self-evaluate. An easy task you’ve done a million times requires a low level of energy whereas, a new project you’re doing for the first time will require more energy. Further, you could be working with a specific person who is exhausting you because they frequently complain or don’t pull their weight.
It’s important to identify what is taking more energy and to find a balance. Just knowing which things require more energy from you will give you an idea of what areas of your life need more attention. Mindfulness practices help you pause and recognize when you need a stronger boundary to prevent stress and later, burnout.
As RYT-500 yoga instructor and program lead at Equinox Bethesda Jen Lee explains, “Meditation has helped me release nervousness or anxious energy by calming down my breath and state of mind. After meditating even for a few minutes, I feel more centered, grounded and in tune with what is making me feel stressed.”
When I first started thinking via the perspective of energy, I’ll admit I found it confusing. But the more I started to think through that lens, the easier it was to understand and manage supportive or discouraging stimuli.
Continue reading for more tips on managing energy and stress to prevent burnout.
I am deeply affected by my environment and how others feel. Why is that? How can I stop feeling pulled in different directions?
You might be an empath. Empaths can pick up the mental and emotional states of others. You may find yourself a very empathetic and compassionate person. Maybe lots of friends and colleagues like to ask for your advice.
Oftentimes these sensitive individuals, are feeling other people’s emotions. You will need to create better boundaries for your own mental health. It could look like telling a friend that you aren’t in the best state to listen to their problems or taking more time to rest in between social commitments. Carving out time for yourself to rest and reset your energy will be important.
Spending time outside in nature and finding ways to ground will be great for those who feel very affected by their surroundings. It’s also a good opportunity to evaluate how the people in your life make you feel. Do the people you see most often uplift or bring down your mood and energy? Distance from those that don’t support you and spend more time with those who make you feel energized.
I can’t stop worrying about all that I need to do at work. I feel like I need to work all the time, but I also feel overwhelmed and need to rest. What can I do?
Most of us are conditioned and taught to put work first in our lives. But this is just one way to live — albeit it’s the most familiar. It’s hard when you first decide you need a better work-life balance. If you can’t bring this up to a supervisor or change jobs, you’ll need to manage with your mindset.
The anxiety of your workload and the need to feel like you’re doing enough is causing the anxiety. Try giving yourself more mental space this next month by setting some clear intentions.
Try a new way to approach work. Maybe it’s becoming more proactive or blocking out more time during the day to do actual work than be in meetings or checking emails. What you need is a new perspective. If you hate your job but can’t leave, try to find things that make it enjoyable.
I know I may sound crazy, but I’ve done this before. I’ve hated a job but set the intention that I’ll have a better time at work, have better conversations with colleagues, and find small ways to enjoy the day and the role and it worked.
Your mindset determines everything so it’s up to you to set the tone of the day and for your life. Ask yourself: How do you want to feel?
Ask Alice is a column by Alice Hu of Woo Woo Company. Get all your spirituality and woo-woo questions answered. Or ask any question to get a spiritual answer back. Alice Hu is the founder of Woo Woo Company, a guide to all things woo, spiritual, and holistic health. Connect with her via 202-918-3414 (to join in on abundance meditation challenges), “Into the Woo” podcast, or [email protected]. Alice works with clients 1:1 to help them discover their purpose and navigate their Saturn Return to live a life beyond their wildest dreams. She also offers Career Clarity Readings.
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