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What is burnout? And more importantly how do I get a new wick?

Hey. How you doing, friend? Burned out, you say? You're feeling exhausted, really negative and resentful, huh?

Well, here's all you need to do to feel better.


-Make time for healthy foods and movement.

This is simple, right? All you needed was that tip. Ohhhhh, healthy foods, you say? And exercise is beneficial even for people who aren't professional athletes? Hey. Cool it, hypothetical burned-out reader. It's NOT easy, but do you want to feel better? There are ways to fit it in. Get some dumbbells and pull up a workout on YouTube. Go for a rigorous walk. I know it's cold; put a coat on! Beyonce has just as many hours in the day as you do. Getting your heart pumping feels good and it puts gas in your tank and endorphins in your bloodstream. It reminds you you're an animal at your core. And that's important.


-Get good sleep.

You can't? There's no possible way you can stop solving everyone else's problems and also you really like scrolling through social media at night? Listen. Something's gotta give.

Why is it so hard to prioritize your own well-being? Is this the example you want to set for your children or your direct reports at work? Over-function just so everyone else is comfortable and keeps you around? It's hard but you gotta trust that your kids, friends, roommates and coworkers can do their share. Give them a chance.


Over-functioning is actually a way of managing your own anxiety. You think that if you can just solve everybody's problems, you'll always feel needed and necessary. There is likely a pretty empty spot inside you where your self worth should be. Can we talk about that?

In therapy, we wonder and investigate how and when we learned that we were only noticed for our hospitality, our youthful good looks, our capacity for supporting friends in need. And we notice that we're still dancing as fast as we can, terrified that someone will see us sleep in, let the kid forget his homework, show our deep wrinkles or whatever and tell us we're not welcome anymore.


We learned how we were worthy years and years ago and our understanding of it feels necessary to survival, still. But when we wake up to a more current picture of ourselves

Brene Brown has written tons about worthiness- and its cousin, vulnerability. When we are tap dancing in order to prove our worth , we miss out on the (challenge and) opportunity for vulnerability. And vulnerability is not posting about how tired you are and you feel like you're failing. That's kind of a humble brag. It's vulnerable to do less. To commit to things that really are connected to your values and well-being and SAY NO ("You got a ri-i-i-i-ight to say no!"- anyone else remember that commercial? you still do!) to those requests and opportunities that aren't.


(That request will have to wait. I must remove my hat and lounge like a boss.)


You can't? You really can't? I can help you with that. I'm sure others can too. What do you feel about boundaries? Do you believe they would make you selfish?

You can't change behavior if it's connected to your core beliefs. So if you want to heal from burnout, look at yours.

More on that next time.

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