Burnout is real! Chances are, many of us have been feeling it and it has left us tired, exhausted, and unmotivated… but rather than fighting the feelings of burnout, one of the best things we can do is acknowledge and accept it! There is great value in taking time to acknowledge how far we’ve come and how much we have to look forward to – and to recognize how we’ve adapted to circumstances that we could never have foreseen.
I have found the practice of mindfulness to be particularly helpful in fighting the effects of burnout…and to avoid burnout in the first place! I will admit that I am fairly new to the practice though I have always known that mindfulness holds immense physical, psychological, and social benefits. In prior years, I had lived such a go-go-go lifestyle that I never gave the practice the time or attention it deserved. I rarely would acknowledge that I was run down until it caught up to me. But as this year prompted drastic changes to how I spend my time, it forced me to spend more time with my thoughts!
So, a few months ago, my university offered a mindfulness certification program and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. While I was initially not sure what to expect or if I would be fit for the program, I found it incredibly valuable! I learned that mindfulness is not some advanced concept or pinnacle of achievement, it is simply the practice of awareness, and that completely changed my perspective. It is paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with your thoughts non-judgmentally. It sounds so simple, but in the midst of our day-to-day lives, we don’t always give ourselves this gift of freedom and grace. We do not have to be experts at meditating or sitting with our thoughts to practice mindfulness. Simply acknowledging where we are at, or even acknowledging when we are having a hard time being mindful, is a practice of mindfulness!
The key to staying present, rested, and rejuvenated is to find a technique that works for you! It could be a minute of breathing once a day. It could be choosing to sit with your thoughts in the morning rather than jumping to social media or email. It could even be a check-in question. You could ask yourself, how am I really doing today? Or, what am I grateful for right now and why? Or it could be getting out and taking a walk, not brainstorming for what’s ahead but simply taking in your surroundings! There are infinite ways to practice mindfulness in ways that can inspire you.
While it is something I want to continue getting better at, I have come to understand the importance of the practice, especially through the ups and downs and changes that are bound to occur in my lifetime. Rather than overworking myself or pushing past feelings of stress, exhaustion, and anticipation, I am learning to accept and acknowledge my present thoughts and feelings. By continuing to do so, it will help me sustain my motivation and show up more present and authentic while encouraging others to do the same!
The key to mindfulness and overcoming burnout is finding what works for you and what doesn’t. Check out our Activity of the Month, “Start, Stop, Continue” to reflect on the actions that will help you avoid burnout!
*Meet the Author*
Caroline has been with Leadership Inspirations for 3 years. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Leadership Development and holds B.A’s in Psychology and Integrated Educational Studies.
Favorite Quote: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall
Fun Facts: 1) I’m from Seattle 2) I LOVE Golden Retrievers 3) I have celebrated Holi in India