The Burnout Queens Wisdom: A highly sensitive woman has heard these many times over….You’re too moody, smart, sensitive, serious, idealistic…did you know… you can turn ‘too’ into ‘so’? Repeat after us… I’m so compassionate, intelligent, intuitive, creative and dynamic…embrace your sensitivity, it is the foundation of who you are.
Ok, here goes, deep breath…..I’m going to write about balance. I’m hesitant because all we hear about is ‘work/life balance’ and that just seems like a somewhat silly distinction to us. Then there’s always that ‘perfect pie’ of balance (you know the one) or talking about balance like it was a utopia that you would find one day if you did all the ‘right’ things.
For a while we stopped even using the word balance because it had somehow been hijacked by the media and everyone was now on the search for the latest and greatest way of finding Balance (that’s balance with a BIG B).
So we’ve been trying to make this point for years, that there is no ‘perfect pie’ of balance, balance is not a single destination that you find one day (in this Burnout Queen’s life most likely by tripping over it!) and there is far far more to balance than the duality of work and life, frankly that one doesn’t even make sense to us.
There is far more to balance than the simplistic duality of work and life.
Having said all that, it doesn’t mean we don’t believe in balance. For us it comes in the form of an inner balance, an equilibrium. We dubbed it ‘living balance’ many many moons ago and you know what, it still fits what we want for our lives, and for yours.
It’s a bit of a play on words, living balance, because you live it day in and day out (yes even on those not so good days) and it is a living thing. Imagine a 70s lava lamp and you’ve got it!
Living balance is never static, it shifts its shape and weight; stretches and shrinks, rises to the top only to sink to the bottom; it’s all over the place! Between you and me, that’s exactly what balance in my life is like!
Here’s the BOQs very own definition of living balance (no capital letters please):
living balance, v: living with equilibrium between your needs, wants, values and beliefs, merged with all aspects of your ever changing slightly crazy external world. adv: taking action based on a deep inner knowledge of who you are (quirkiness, imperfections and all), what you want, and what you need. n: a lifestyle that brings inner strength, courage, and bounce-back; an energy source and an energy flow. adj: a harmonious, calming, less stressful way of planning and doing.
That about covers it!
The truly wonderful thing about living balance is that it emanates from the centre of your being. It’s source lies in being true to who you are and having a considerate and respectful awareness of your feelings, needs, wants, values, and beliefs. Living balance allows you to focus your energy on creating dreams, building success, fulfilling potential, having life adventures, and enjoying it all. Sounds big, but it’s not extraordinary, it’s built on embracing ordinary everyday life, big stuff and small stuff, the stuff that simply keeps life ticking along.
Living balance is definitely all about you, the inner you translated honestly and genuinely into your outer world. It also requires flexibility, resilience, and the willingness to embrace and transcend change. No more trying to be in five places at once, worrying about making the right decisions, stretching yourself to the point of snapping, and slowly but surely inching towards burnout.
When you live with living balance you are able to give your best to yourself and to each and every significant person in your life.
So, can you find tranquility, harmony, and equilibrium in a perfectly manic 24/7 world? Absolutely, but it means seeing balance in a whole new light. We’ll say it again, lava lamp!
There, done, putting it out there once more. Balance, living balance. The kind of balance that allows you to embrace life’s challenges, ups and downs, idiosyncracies, and imperfections with not a ‘perfect pie’ in sight unless we are talking lemon meringue and then we’re in!
“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” (Clare Ansberry)
It’s August already and The Burnout Queens are enjoying Beauty. That’s the theme of this month’s ‘Hello from London and Lewes’.
Beauty is close to our soul. We long for it, search for it, and try to create it wherever we are (it’s part of the intentional life design we talk about). It couldn’t be more true when it comes to the little English gardens we discover on our many walks. We always take the time to pause and look because they fill us with such delight. We often say, ‘how beautiful is that!’ or ‘what a gorgeous idea’. These little gems redefine the meaning of garden and beauty.
There’s no time like the present. Gardeners here don’t wait until they buy the house with the perfect front or back yard to build a ‘proper garden’. Any inch of space serves as a blank canvas to create the colour and pleasure of a garden. It’s truly a style unto itself. We love it and never fail to be surprised!
No lawn at your front door? Then curb appeal it is…
Live above the street? No park in sight? There is always a little green-thumb spot at the back of a shop to enjoy…
There are gardens roadside and gardens at the back of the pub (they even have competitions for these ones)…
There are gardens that hang and even gardens at the top of castle walls.
Take a page from the Brits, something right under our nose no matter how big or in these cases small, can create something divine. So lovelies…
Don’t hope, wish, or wait…create beauty wherever you are.
Until September enjoy the rest of summer. No go ahead and do it…
At least once a year I am compelled to sit down and write about what burnout is, and isn’t. I keep thinking I won’t have to do this again (it feels like I’m being redundant) but then I read another article, or two or three, about burnout that makes me seriously consider pulling my hair out. Then I remember how much that is ultimately going to cost me at the beauty salon (poor Pascal, my stylist, moaning “My beautiful, what have you done” as he does when I take scissors to my fringe) and I start writing.
Burnout is not just stress on max. Burnout is not about having too much to do (what woman doesn’t?!) Burnout does not result from a failure to prioritise. Burnout is not about having crappy juggling skills. Beware, my darlings, there are plenty of male ‘experts’ (and sadly quite a few women coaches) out there who will still tell you that burnout is all of these things. They will also tell you that you just need to…
♦learn stress management ♦ improve your coping ability ♦ prioritise appropriately ♦ make better decisions ♦ establish proper work/life balance ♦ just take a little time off and get better at self-care♦
Uh huh, sure, ok…
I must say, this ‘advice’ absolutely puzzles me since all of the women I know and have worked with for over 3 decades have been genius at all of those things. If they hadn’t they wouldn’t have been so amazingly successful at parenting, partnering, their profession, well at everything.
Burnout sneaks up on you when you are busy, very busy, but it is not the busyness that causes burnout.
Burnout happens when you have lost your centre, your dream, the vision of what your life was going to be. Burnout is a result of having lost your stride, which doesn’t mean that you still aren’t doing everything in your life.
Some women have learned to burnout from the time they were little. Burnout finds its roots in beliefs, expectations, perfectionism, not being front & centre in your life, and having a burnout personality or what we fondly call your BOP factor.
The danger of burnout is that once it gets a foothold it develops a life all of its own and you, my lovely, are along for the ride.
Burnout doesn’t cause your life to fall apart, when you are burned out you really don’t care if you hold it all together.
In fact I will go as far to say that you kind of consciously let it go. The meaning has gone out of your life, you feel discouraged, disappointed, disillusioned and ultimately so disheartened that you ask yourself, “what’s the use of holding it all together?” and you let it drift. Then the drifting becomes a raging torrent and you panic.
You feel sick, depressed, and spent. You feel so overwhelmed you don’t know which way to turn. You feel so exhausted and lost that you ‘figuratively’ sit down in the middle of the road and wait, tick tick tick…
You’re not even sure what you are waiting for, you just know that it feels like you are on hold. Then when you realise that nothing is going to change you sadly get up, slowly cause you are so tired, and set off down the road that takes you back to where you left off. It won’t be long till you are once again burning out.
Overcoming burnout isn’t about changing stuff, it’s about reconnecting with your dreams, your ideals, your passions. It’s about connecting with people that truly fill you up, instead of depleting you. It’s about finding work that has meaning and value to you in every little ordinary detail.
You will begin to live a life without burnout once you begin to respect and trust yourself more.
You won’t allow others to pressure you into things you don’t want or believe in.
You will say ‘no’ to work that doesn’t bring joy, meaning, value, and purpose to your life.
You will cherish relationships with those who love you for who you are.
You will release yourself from the torment of perfectionism.
You will stop burning out when you believe in yourself.
Yes, that’s when you will stop living a life that keeps you constantly dancing on the edge of burnout.
Now, one thing left to say before I go get that cup of tea.
Being a Highly Sensitive Woman (HSW) ups your chances of burning out. No not because you are flawed in any way, but because you are tuned in and turned on (if I may use an old 60s phrase). Being Highly Sensitive kind of means that you were born with the makings of a burnout personality and then given who you were you were likely raised and trained to burnout.
Your amazingly sensitive nature means you ‘get’ the inconsistencies in life and you feel the incongruency of how we are told to live and what you value. You are ‘tender’ to the angst of the world: you feel the pain of people, animals, flowers, and the planet.
Sometimes you just don’t get life; you don’t understand why the world has to live with so much hate and not enough love or peace.
You care about doing the ‘right’ thing, caring for others, doing a good job, and never ever letting anyone down. All of that, my love, makes you lovely but also makes you super-prone to burnout.
Now, here’s the glass half full! (You know us we always have one.)
You don’t have to burnout ever ever again. And listen up, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on any of the stuff you love to do, in fact we want you to do more of what you love to do. So please, even if you do it to just please us, no more listening to ‘experts’ telling you you must give up half of what you do, how you do it, look for less stressful work (what if you love your work?) or dial down your dreams. That is simply not our style and it certainly doesn’t have to be yours..
We know (cause we have both been there) that if you begin to live your life your way and embrace your life with a big beautiful bear hug you can leave burnout in the dust. Yes, my dear…
You can be the exception.
The Burnout Queens Wisdom: Are you happy with your life? What choices can you make to increase your happiness? When will you begin? How will you celebrate your success? Now stop thinking and take your first step.
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