Bummed, burnt or just plain beat?
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Lately, my life’s been feeling like an endurance contest — deadline after deadline with piles upon piles of work. I’ve been away from home for months working on a project that’s now nearing completion.
The weather hasn’t helped — it’s been a rainy, cold summer in the mountains. And, I’m temporarily living with an asthmatic roommate who needs the air-conditioning on full bore to counter the humidity just so she can breathe. It’s winter instead of warm! Almost unbearable for this hot summer-loving gal.
It’s got me pondering: am I bummed, burnt or just plain beat?
When we’re wallowing in funky feelings, it can help to pause, determine what we are feeling and needing and take appropriate action. To be clear, I’m talking of “normal” mood fluctuations in this article; not severe depression or suicidal ideation. These are mental health emergencies and need immediate attention (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255).
As much as we think pushing on even harder may remedy our discomfort, stopping may be the best first thing to do. We can give ourselves “permission to pause.”
In silence and solitude, perhaps in a resting pose for 20 minutes or standing in an empty stairwell at work for only a few moments, we offer ourselves space to relax, renew and regain perspective.
By taking that break and granting ourselves a breather, it may become obvious that we are simply physically exhausted. Then it’s up to us to figure out how we can rest more, sleep better and schedule differently.
This is not necessarily an easy fix. Yet, I now prioritize sleep over every other health behavior habit. If there’s seemingly no time for anything else, I at least try to get enough rest.
By recognizing I lean towards overfunctioning in an effort to ensure things get done and done well, this tendency of mine allows underfunctioners to continue to operate suboptimally. Top that off with me being more of a giver than a taker, and it’s no wonder I can feel like Sisyphus. Burnt out. Toasted.
When such is the case, I need to somehow shift my modus operandi. Become more comfortable with “good enough”? Communicate more clearly regarding expectations, timing and deliverables? Pick my battles? Be more careful with whom I associate?
It’s vital to critically assess what changes we need to make. Otherwise, we risk staying stuck on repeat. Think Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day.”
We all can feel a bit blue on occasion. Could it be hormonal or that we’ve ignored our self-care regimen (healthy eating, regular exercise, meditation, social connecting, laughter, etc.) for too long? Might it be the gray skies? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts more than 10 million Americans.
Are we being bullied in some way or navigating an unfamiliar environment without strong support? Perhaps we’re swirling in uncertainty and seem a tad lost? It can be hard in the thick of it to find our way out.
Bottom line, for me, coming back to center begins with pausing and sorting through my feelings. If I am bummed, burnt or beat, what is it I need?
Then, I attend to what can I do right now. Refocus on my mission/purpose AND envision/affirm that I am already living it. Remember what has helped me in the past and take one of those (no matter how small) actions towards my goal. You can, too.
From the Yoga Sutras, 1-21, “The more intense the faith and the effort, the closer the goal.” — T.K.V. Desikachar
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