3 Lessons from a Burnout
Ok. I've decided I'm going to blog weekly. And do it every Monday. This time for real.
I write almost daily on my journal but so much of it I have a need to share for whoever is curious enough to read this.
Where have I been the last few months? Studying for an ontological coaching certification that lasts about 8 months and the rest of the time, pretty much getting by. I got sick and went through a huge COVID false alarm right after that last post I wrote, then I had to get surgery, my health took a while to stabilize after so many antibiotics and fever explosions. And then the new year, 2021, came along and I've been slowly but steadily getting back on my feet since then.
My health circumstances forced me to completely stop doing everything (except for the study of ontological coaching which really expanded my growth in so many ways): my blog, my podcast, my collaging, my photography, and even my job. But it wasn't just my health. Mentally, I was exhausted too. Emotionally, I wasn't at a right place. I was no longer motivated or inspired to do any of it. At first I was frustrated and judgemental of myself for feeling this way. The voices of fear and judgement didn't let me find inner peace.
"Here you go again wasting time... You're never consistent... You always lose perseverance... You're never going to make it if you keep this up..."
But when I decided to kill these voices, stop judging myself, and allow myself this time to just BE... important lessons came my way slowly but surely.
And I decided I wanted to list out these lessons for not only any one who may come across this post but for myself to remember as well, whenever I see myself coming close to this version of a burn out again.
Here it goes.
My worth does not depend on my DOING, but my BEING:
I had put so much value on what I could accomplish in order to have some sense of self worth that I became addicted to work, to doing things, obsessed with not wasting time. So not only would I burn out and lose consistency and motivation but I'd also become completely frustrated when I didn't get the results I hoped for or when they didn't come fast enough. I was always stressed out because of this.
When I stopped doing any of the things I valued myself for, I was forced to find my value from WITHIN instead of from external factors. And something magical started to happen. I started to love myself for who I was, for simply being - and stopped depending on the accomplishment of my goals in order to feel worthy.
2. Falling in love with the PROCESS is more important than getting to the destination:
I was driving with a podcast on one day (forgive me for I do not remember which one it was but I strongly believe it was The Tim Ferriss Show) and I heard this from one of his interviews:
"The more you can divorce your emotional attachment to outcomes and future destinations and just concentrate on doing the best job with what you got right in front of you and fall in love with the process, and that process being an expression of that value system and what you care about, that’s where you’re in a position to succeed."
(Forgive me for I cannot remember who said it and I cannot find the episode... learn from my mistake and do not ever quote someone without writing out their name...)
That hit me so bad I had to stop the car and write it out on my phone in my notes app. I was way too concerned with the result for my efforts than I was with loving the actual process. And hearing about this author's struggle with achieving success for the book he had written made me come to terms with the fact that I may not see the fruits of all my crops until a very long time, maybe not even in my life time, who knows... and if I am to pursue this path of creativity than I have to be okay with that.
I've also heard many writers say that most write because they have to, not because they want to be famous or have money. They simply do not have a choice but to write. That urge to create and to not be at peace until you do it, that's something I feel constantly. And to be happy just with living to feed that itch without a concern for the recognition that is always nice to receive for one's creations - that is what I needed in order to stay consistent.
3. You must be patient enough to find your own balance, your own rhythm, your own routine, your own productivity schedule:
This one takes time, practice, and trial and error. I'm still working on it. I can still easily fall down the rabbit hole of putting too much on my plate, set up high expectations for how much I can accomplish and then judge myself for not fulfilling those expectations. I can still fall anxious if I don't feel like I've done much one day or one week.
But I'm getting to know what my rhythms are and balancing myself between discipline and being kind to myself. When I need a break, I let myself have it. I listen to my body more. I set smaller goals each day when my energy is low and take full advantage of the days when my energy is high. I try to be realistic and I'm not greedy anymore about wanting recognition right away. The whole falling in love with the process helps me to not rush and to take it easy and slow. Slow and steady is better than sprinting to crash and having to completely stop to heal and recover.
So there they are. 3 major lessons that I have been incorporating to my days now in order to prevent another burnout and to achieve consistency, my biggest challenge of them all. I'm learning to enjoy life more, be present, to love myself - and to also live the life I dream of living. It's not easy. I sometimes wish I could be a far more simple person who made money from something they enjoyed. But hey, I know I'm going to get there and maintaining that belief during the hard days will be something I commit to doing from now on. Letting myself rest and vent when needed without judging myself is a huge part of that too.
Where am I now?
I've managed to manifest a job that I don't love but that gives me a reasonable income, I'm apartment hunting because I eventually would like to move out and live in my own place, I'm about to become certified as an ontological coach, something I am passionate about, I am in a loving relationship with a man who supports me, I got a very interesting photography gig I am so excited about and I hope to start getting more of those again, and I've organized my entire workspace and bedroom so that I can have an environment that motivates me more to get work done. I'm working on my projects on a consistent basis and am not freaking out over one week of not getting much done.
Some days are hard and I feel hopeless. Other days I feel on fire. All those days are okay and they will continue to change in this sort of cycle. (Maybe it has a lot to do with my menstrual cycle too, haha.)
I look forward to writing this every Monday.
I'll see you next week,