Is it Worth it if You’re Empty?
Fatigue is a common enemy of us all
Way too often we find ourselves not just tired but physically and mentally exhausted. By December 26th, so many, especially leaders, are just looking forward to a little quiet time and rest. I mean who wouldn’t be; after 12 months of dealing with organization and team issues, family matters, the tensions of a politically charged election and company growth, etc. It’s exhausting just thinking about it! Then a new year rolls in new goals, visions, projections, and even more expectations. Whew!
Not only can this be exhausting it can lead to burnout. Someone said “Burnout is when long term exhaustion meets diminished interest.” How does this happen? Quite easily actually; if exhaustion isn’t checked, burnout can and will quickly settle in. I’m remembering a friend who recently came for a visit. As she loaded her bags in the car, she sighed deeply. I asked what’s wrong? She said “I’m tired” and, as I looked at her, I knew it was the kind of tired that would take more than just a couple hours sleep to fix. She went on to say, “My soul is tired.” This was coming from a woman who spends more time in a hotel room than her own bedroom. On any given week she’s on a plane. A highly intelligent, overachiever, with a high demanding career and business. This is an all too familiar reality and pace for most of us. So when she said this, not only was I concerned, I also wondered what could we do to move her forward?
As I considered her and the many like her, I came up with a few questions that will be helpful in looking ahead. The goal here is to refuel you this last week of the year and prepare you to show up fully in the new year. This might mean you have to cancel the New Year’s Eve celebration you were planning. Lol!
Answer and take action on these questions this week:
- Who can I spend time with that gives me energy?
- When can I intentionally carve out time to just rest?
- What can I do that gives me real life/joy/happiness?
Hard and meaningful work are important. But burnout is real and preventable. If we don’t take the time to be introspective and ask ourselves the right questions, we are bound to repeat the same behaviors. It becomes a continuous and dangerous cycle.
As you look ahead to the new year, what are some things you can do to prevent burnout?
- What will I intentionally do differently in 2017 to help me stay refuelled?
- Don’t just hit the couch or “Netflix and Chill” thinking this will refuel you. Think back over 2016; what were the things that gave you life, energy, and joy? How do you do more of it? Also what things did you find simply exhausting but thought were necessary? Can they be delegated or deleted?
- Know the difference between good versus important; this will prevent an overcrowded schedule.
- What are the important conversations you need to have and with whom?
- Don’t evade difficult conversations or decisions. Often we avoid these scenarios and in doing so it takes up too much mental space, time and energy. Say what needs to be said and move forward. Make a decision and if you regret that decision, take it as a lesson learned.
- What changes need to be made in order for you to have the professional or home life that’s most fulfilling?
- Don’t let life just pass you by. When you look back at the end of next year will have more memories or fleeting moments? Who did you spend time with and what did you spend your time doing? Do what matters most to you, not others.
It’s naive and unrealistic to think we can run at full speed and give fully of ourselves without ever refuelling properly. We all like to check things off our to do list and pride ourselves on results. But self care is a must! Are the results worth it if you are empty? Boundaries are all too important and necessary for self care. If we try to do it all, we will burnout. Don’t go thru the motions without your soul being apart of the journey; stop, get still and quiet, ask yourself the questions above and refuel for the next leg of your journey!