Burnout. At some point in our life we will all face periods of burnout. The sad reality is we rarely recognize when we are in burnout mode until it is too late. By then the damage has been done. An extended period of burnout creates “purpose creep”, which is the slow drift away from our center to a place of frustration and disengagement.
Recognize the Signs
To avoid personal and professional burnout you should be aware of the signs. Being able to respond early to purpose fatigue increases your overall effectiveness. Here is what you should look for:
- Muscling the Morning
If you find yourself forcing the mornings for extended periods of time, this is a warning sign of the early stages of burnout.
- Moving through the Motions
When your days begin to feel like you are just moving through the motions, you are showing signs of burnout.
- Missing the Moments
You have entered full-blown burnout mode when the moments of the day lose their joy.
It is possible to find renewal in the times that feel like chaos and truly restore life back to its purpose-center. These three steps create the framework to finding your mojo once again. Applying these simple steps on a frequent cadence can be a significant preventive maintenance plan to protect you from the energy sucking moments associated with burnout.
At times we just need to rest. I am not referring to the time we spend sleeping (which needs to be at 6-7 hours per night but that is a separate blog). What I am referring to is taking time away from the daily routine to let our mind, body, and soul rest. Your first thought may be, “oh, a vacation”. Not exactly.
While vacations are needed and good for recharging the batteries, they can frequently be slammed with added stress and anxiety. Try setting aside short periods, 24-48 hours, of electronic free time to allow your mind, body, and soul to rest. I know many of you just broke out in hives at the thought of an electronic free day. Trust me, it is possible and can be refreshing.
Reflection is all about remembering. Think back to the last point in time you remember feeling fulfilled. I refer to these moments as purpose-markers. There are two purpose-markers you should consider.
- Messages: For me purpose-marker messages come from the wisdom of my faith. Reading, studying, and listening to the wisdom of my faith helps me remember the times when I have been completely centered.
- Moments: Often moments come from reviewing past journal entries, photos, a pivotal book, or talk.
Each person is different when it comes to reflecting. Some prefer to be alone while others need a sounding board to reflect out loud. Either way, find your last purpose-marker as a point of reference.
Purpose-marker moments in time are filled with inspiration. When we are purposed-centered we spend more time being inspired which is the spark for passion.
You can’t always replicate your last purpose-marker but you create new ones. Your reflection will identify the areas of life from where inspiration comes from. Spend time refilling on what inspires you. If it is art, go to a museum. If it is literature, find a good book and dig in. If music your thing, update your playlist or better yet, go find the real thing and attend a concert. If you enjoy serving others, spend the day volunteering.
The refilling process does require help from others. Someone on your personal Board of Directors is a good place to begin. However, life at times requires the help of those trained in helping us unpack our reflections. Personally, I find the time I spend with my professional counselor/coach some of the most rewarding time of refilling.
The point of being refilled is spending time in your sweet spot surrounded by the moments in life that inspire your soul. What is the final step of the refilling process? Write it down. Record the current moments because these life stories will become future purpose-markers.
If you are muscling your mornings, moving through the motions, and missing the moments, it may be time to retreat, reflect, and refill. Life is much more enjoyable when we spend the time required to #BeOnPurpose.