Refund my Money for 2020, please.
It's the first full week of February. The honeymoon period of "New Year, New Me" excitement has worn off. You've forgotten what your resolutions are and your vision board is half crumpled in the trunk of your car...the same place you stashed it as you left that awesome vision board party with your girlfriends, all fired up and ready to take on 2020 like a #BOSS.
You had the best intentions.
"This year is gonna be different," you say as you eagerly sign up for the platinum membership at your local gym, stock up on Keurig pods so you can make coffee at home and put that Starbucks money into your new savings account, purge your closet and haul your donations off to Goodwill, plan out healthy meals and compile a grocery list, and set your weekday alarm an entire hour earlier than normal to get in your quiet meditation time before the day gets hectic.
YOU. ARE. READY.
So what happened?
It's February 8th. The year is still new. It's a whole new decade for crying out loud! And yet you find yourself snoozing your alarm every morning, rushing out of the door without your coffee, stuck in the drive- thru at Starbucks glaring at the poor, frazzled barista, making it into work just in time, and spending the entire morning waiting for your lunch break or the end of the day or the end of the week. Instead of hopeful anticipation, you wake up each morning with a sense of dread. You don't even consider that the day will be great. Your expectations are low. You're just trying to "make it through" the day.
And then the guilt squeezes its way in- 'Why do I feel this way? I'm blessed. I know that. I have my family, great friends, and a home. I'm blessed to have my job when so many others can't find work. So why do I feel so unsatisfied, so disconnected, so detached?'
Maybe you're experiencing BURNOUT.
Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. It is a state of chronic stress that leads to:
physical and emotional exhaustion
cynicism and detachment
feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment (Psychology Today, Nov. 2013)
If any of that resonates with you, you're not alone. So many women are finding themselves worn out, depleted, and empty. Running on fumes. It's as if burnout or exhaustion is the standard by which we measure accomplishment. If I'm not falling apart, then that must be an indication for me to keep going. It's like a little game I play with myself: how far can I push myself before I completely lose it? The problem with using burnout as an indicator is that you don't realize you've overworked yourself until it's too late. It's that you have to get to an unhealthy place in order to know you should have stopped yourself a long time ago.
We don't allow ourselves to feel and acknowledge when we're getting close to our limit. And if we do happen to feel it- that inner knowing telling us to "get somewhere and sit down," as my granny used to say- then we dismiss it, ignore it, or condemn it as sign of laziness. We silence our inner voice and we add just one more appointment to our calendar. One more email to send. One more phone call to make. One more social event to attend. One more favor to do. One more project to finish up...
But the key to fighting burnout, dear friends, is LESS. And before y'all take this, run with it and misquote me, let me be clear:
I am not telling you to quit your job.
I am not telling you to stop cooking and feeding your kids.
I am not telling you to stop volunteering at the homeless shelter.
I am not telling you to stop doing laundry.
I am not telling you to flake out and not show up to your best friend's birthday dinner.
I am not telling you to give up on your side hustle or your blog.
I am not telling you to throw caution to the wind and abandon your responsibilities.
What I am saying is the opposite of burnout is ENGAGEMENT.
So if you find yourself feeling completely detached from your daily activities and unable to experience genuine fulfillment, you may need to reduce the amount of time you spend doing things that do not bring you joy and be intentional about adding more of what you love to your life. Some things are non- negotiables. Others are not.
I'll be the first to admit it. There are quite a few things I allow to take up space on my calendar that are unnecessary. Things that I hope end up getting cancelled so I don't have to attend them. Things that I feel obligated to do because I don't have anything else scheduled. Activities I think I should plan because Bean mentioned it that one time 6 months ago and I don't want her to be scarred for life. #momguilt Events I attend because someone was "nice enough to invite me in the first place." Projects I take on even when I'm exhausted simply because I can't think of a "good enough" reason to decline.
Those are the things to consider eliminating and replacing with things that feed your soul, nourish your spirit, and replenish what you so willingly pour out every single day.
a coffee date with that friend who always makes you feel seen, heard, understood, and loved.
curling up in your favorite chair with your favorite blanket and that book you've been wanting to dive into.
catching a zumba class with that instructor you really like whose energy and excitement is contagious.
an unspecified number of uninterrupted hours at your nearest Target ALONE, complete with a chocolate croissant and your fave latte. #Tarbucks
writing out your vision for that new business idea you have.
spending quiet time outside, getting some fresh air, and mindfully taking in the beauty of the world around you.
The time you spend doing things you enjoy is not wasted. It is an investment into your overall well-being and you have to believe that the investment is worth it. You have to believe that you are your best self when your tank is full. You have to decide that you want to give to others from your overflow, not your deficit.
So let's start taking the small steps to beat burnout and become fully engaged in these precious moments of our lives.
Action Item for this week/ weekend:
Identify something that you enjoy doing and put it on your calendar. Commit to doing it within the next 7 days.
Comment below what you're excited to incorporate into your week! I can't wait to see everyone's ideas!