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Burnout prevention starting place (Been there. Please avoid.)

Burnout prevention starting place (Been there. Please avoid.)

I feel sad when I see friends going, going, going, and feeling stuck in that mode, month after month, year after year. 😰 It often happens even when they are their own boss in their own business. I want to tell them: “Pump the brakes, please. It will be OK.” Please take burnout prevention seriously.

Staying in the white water section of the river too long can do more damage than good. Some white water is normal, but week after week is too much. And we pay a price.

I paid the price many years ago, umm, more than once. I was so.wiped.out. Yep, tears were involved many times. Getting off that treadmill is hard. I get it. #RecoveringWorkaholic

I am so grateful that it’s different now most of the time.

These days, I only have short stints of white water periods here and there, and most of the time is a pace that feels manageable. Not stress-free, but not overstressed scheduling. Breathing room is important to me, and essential.

The burnout prevention starting place:

  1. Admit it’s been hard to breathe and take it seriously.
  2. Tell yourself it doesn’t have to be like this.
  3. Take some slow breaths right now. (I’m not kidding. 3 breaths is surprisingly helpful.)
  4. I know you’re craving a big vacation but don’t wait for that. Find a little time to chill within the next day or two.
  5. While you’re on that little break, let yourself fantasize about a longer break and put that longer break in the calendar in the near future. It gives you a light at the end of the tunnel.
  6. Don’t pressure yourself to do too much before you get a good break. It’s hard to function well without breathing room.

Here’s a one-minute guided breathing break for some loving support today.

white water section of the river
Going with the white water rapids sometimes is OK and maybe an adventure that helps you grow, but staying in that place long term is too hard on us.

My own white water stretch lately.

A few days after I wrote the short post above, I’m now in a week with some of that white water feeling, and whoa, feelin’ it. But, you know what’s so great? I *know* it’s temporary and I can see clear waters ahead.

That sure makes a difference. I trust this temporary nature because the way I set up my work normally has plenty of breathing room. Know this is temporary helps me handle it for now.


Now I have to add another addendum. By the time I hit publish on this note, it was two weeks since I wrote it and I’m only just now seeing the calm waters ahead. That lasted longer than I thought and my body is saying, hey what’s up? I’m glad my body speaks to me.

Maybe I let some of my self-care habits slide when it got choppy in those waters? Or is it the darkening light as we move into winter? Or that I’ve had such a full schedule? It’s a lot of things together that added up to less room to breathe. 😮‍💨

So, that’s my signal to take a pause and regroup. I then prioritized assessing what’s up, and have made some adjustments in my calendar. I’m building in more rest than usual until the pendulum swings back to calmer waters and I can assess again from there.

So that’s what white water periods look like for me these days. It’s good to write about it and affirm that I have the ability to reassess at any point and make adjustments. I like remembering I’m in charge of my own yes’s and no’s in life.

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Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

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