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Avoiding Burnout by
Learning to Slow Down
Avoiding burnout is something that many of us need to be aware of with the fast pace of our lives. We live in a society that often perceives downtime as laziness, and laziness as practically the root of all evil. There is so much emphasis on doing, achieving, and doing more, it is no wonder that various degrees of burnout have become such a widespread issue.
Burnout was once typically associated with very high-pressure careers, but it now is affecting people from every walk of life; both in relation to work and also on a personal level. A very important facet of avoiding burnout is creating balance in our lives. One challenge to creating healthy balance is overcoming the mantra we are frequently bombarded with of ‘more, better, best.’
There is an enormous pressure that we tend to feel to be able to ‘do it all,’ and ‘have it all.’ Very often we don’t even stop to question whether the ‘all’ is stuff we actually like and want; we just believe that in order to be successful, and worthwhile, we must have and do what we have been conditioned to believe we should have and do. This is a recipe for burnout if ever there was one, and from time to time, who hasn’t found themselves shouting internally (or aloud!), ‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’?
Even if we are at a point in our lives where we have stepped off the more-better-best treadmill of trying to live up to fairytale ideals, avoiding burnout is still something that can be an issue. We may have decided what is truly important in our lives, but we can still become caught up in the feeling of never quite arriving. The desire to do the best we can in various aspects of our lives can be a very positive thing. It helps us to keep learning, growing, and trying; but it can also encourage us to feel that we have never done enough, or are never good enough. Learning to appreciate what we are already doing, and how far we have already come, is vital to creating and maintaining healthy self-esteem, and avoiding burnout.
Slowing down is also essential in creating a balanced life. Constant activity is exhausting, and if we are serious about avoiding burnout, we need to deliberately slow down the pace of our lives. I love the phrase, ‘don’t just do something; stand there.’ This is a total reversal of the phrase many of us have been raised with - ‘don’t just stand there; do something!’ How liberating it is to give ourselves permission to let go of the belief that we are wasting time if we are not actively doing something.
I want to share with you the following verse of affirmation that I have used to help myself slow down. A huge part of avoiding burnout is becoming willing and able to quit driving ourselves to the point where our bodies step in and force us to slow down or stop by becoming ill. Listening to a recording of these words of affirmation has been extremely powerful for me in becoming increasingly able to stop pushing myself to be in constant action, and to slow down and truly enjoy all the aspects of my life that are important to me.
I allow myself to slow down. I accept that I need to take time to rest, relax, and just enjoy my life. I release the need to push myself to be doing more, and allow the actions to flow through me in their own perfect time. The periods of inaction are equally important as the periods of action. I allow myself to reflect, and to recharge my energy during moments of stillness. I acknowledge that some of my most important tasks are best accomplished by slowing down. I have more than enough time for everything in my life.
I affirm that I am living exactly as I need to, and that I only need to allow myself to relax, trust, and listen, in order to enable the right amount of positive action to flow through me. I step out of my own way, and release all stress, tension, and feelings of inadequacy from my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul. In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, I am doing everything I need to do.
By learning to focus on what really matters in our lives, appreciating ourselves for what we are already doing, and slowing down, avoiding burnout and truly enjoying our lives becomes a whole lot easier.
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