Don’t Set Yourself Up
Seven years ago, I burned out. It was an out of body type of exhaustion that drained all motivation and numbed every bit of my creativity.
I was all things to all people: the person my pastor and father relied on to lead 3 major departments in the church, the project manager for a state-wide nonprofit, the grant writer for a flagship community center, an executive board member for multiple community organizations, and a listening ear for any friend who needed me. Working tirelessly, I tried my best to “change the world.”
Even though I had good intentions, I hadn’t yet mastered the art of setting boundaries. Spoiler Alert: Stop trying to measure your personal success and worth by the actions and choices of other people who you think you can influence. It DOESN’T work! You’ll get disappointed. You’ll be exhausted. And you’ll say, “To hell with it AND them!”…but not until after you’ve already burned yourself down on both ends, wasting valuable time, talent, and passion.
It’s an interesting and freeing moment when you truly understand the internal healing that comes from creating boundaries and practicing self-care. It’s much easier said than done, but I’m grateful for the journey because I can share these lessons with my clients. Creating boundaries is a practice that takes practice. As a woman, I recognize the social engineering that has contributed to my inclination to give all I have until I have nothing left. It is easy to fall back into autopilot if you’re not paying attention.
As I’ve shared my experiences with women, I am reminded that my I am not the only one who wrestles with “Super Woman Syndrome”. So, I’m sharing some of my best practices that bring me back to center.
7 Ways to Protect Your Peace
These are my 7 regular practices that I do to proactively avoid burnout. Take a look and let me know if you do any of the same.
- Talk to yourself more than you listen. Tell yourself at least 6 affirmations every day. The key is saying ones you BELIEVE. If you struggle with a self-body image, don’t say, “I’m sexy” 100x to start because you won’t believe it and will assume affirmations don’t work. Instead, start with, “I Have a body” and let the miracle of that settle in before you build your way up. Self-talk and a healthy perspective is the number one defense against self-doubt and insecurity.
- Meditate. There are many ways to meditate and there isn’t a wrong way to do it. Whether you are sitting silent or reciting a mantra you believe in, there are proven scientific benefits for the body and mind.
- Plug into your People. There are some people who drain your energy and there are others who leave you feeling thoughtful and inspired. Find the good ones and recharge! Avoid the others – on purpose.
- Journal. Writing can be very therapeutic when you let go of the rules and allow your mind and spirit to dump onto the page. You can workout a lot of thoughts and feelings that way. Usually, you already know the answer and it’s just buried under a lot of noise.
- Do a Physical Activity. Some people like traditional exercise and others need to sneak it in with a fun activity. But either way, being sore and drained can often be remedied by getting up and getting active!
- Listen to Inspirational Podcasts. My momma always said, “What you feed your mind is what your spirit grows.” Find art and affirmation that inspires you and surround yourself with it. Beauty and positivity matters.
- Schedule Staycations like Appointments. If you have a calendar for your kids, your job, or your community commitments, you need to write in a recurring day for yourself. Don’t even tell anyone what it is unless you trust that they will respect it. Then, reserve a room and get the hell out of dodge! Use it however you want, but prioritize time for yourself and protect it furiously.
I’d love to hear yours! How do you protect yourself from “Super Woman Syndrome” and burnout?
May your eternal flame be ever bright and light your way as you lead the world. May you never burnout!