Someone recently told me that I’m “in the grind” in this state of my life.
That’s all fine and good and it actually makes me feel a little bit better because it justifies a lot of the work I’m putting in, but how long does the grind last and will I let it stop me from living my life and experiencing the things I love?
Automatically, while writing that last sentence, my mind fired up a grand ol’ “NO.”
Nothing will keep me from living my life after I fought so hard to build my happiness up to where it is now.
But when you hit inevitable burn-out from working so hard, which option do you sacrifice: work that you’re passionate about or loving relationships? Or do you have to?
There are a couple different frames of thought on this topic…
A few weeks ago, I touched base with a trusted friend of mine who is doing amazing, world-changing things, and he gave me some great advice:
You have to remember what’s important, and that’s the loving relationships in your life.
And he’s completely right.
As much as I want to do all the things I want to do…
As much as I am passionate about helping as many people as I can…
As hard as I can work and as many hours as I can put in trying to be who I want to be…
I am not myself when I shut myself off to those I love.
What does that mean?
When I shut myself off from the world in order to jam through a tough period of writing, training or any other work that takes intense focus on my part (because that’s what I do), I feel myself slowly being drained of life.
I feel like I start wasting away, as if I were pushing through a marathon without eating beforehand.
I run out of fuel. All that juju that pushes me to want to help people wanes. That fire that drives me to put my most creative posts out there for you dims and flickers.
When I start running on empty, I can’t give you ME.
Because all of me is going into that project.
So I’ve decided to reset my priorities. I’ve decided (again) to spend more time with friends, family and the love of my life to bring back that balance I’ve been missing lately.
…but is “balance” possible?
Danielle LaPorte (one of my main inspirations) is on the other side of the spectrum. She says that there is no such thing as work-life balance.
And if this is true, I should stop trying to find balance, because like her, my main goal in life is to live an adventure.
I thought I was supposed to find balance between work and life, but now I’m hearing that I should go all out in life in ALL areas?!
Lots of questions are running through my head:
How can I go full on in life, spend enough time with those I love, AND fulfill my passionate drive to “work?”
When you’re doing what you love, how do you find balance within your relationships when you’re so fired up about the work you’re doing?
How do I keep burn-out from leaving me an exhausted puddle of stressed-out goo?
This is our subject matter for today’s post, folks. Figuring out how the hell to do my life’s work without giving up my life.
I usually write posts about finding your passion and igniting that flame inside, but this post is more for those of you who have found it… and gotten swallowed by it.
Today, I’m going to go through some of my thoughts on this idea of balance, and how to find it without giving anything up. Here are some solutions to create some semblance of order in the midst of a chaotic life.
You can live an adventure without going stress-balls crazy. Just watch…
Change the way you think about burn-out
Let’s concentrate first on the mindset around burn-out.
You’re tired. You’re stressed out. You don’t know if you can handle anything else on your plate.
The key to avoiding burn-out may be in changing the way we think about it.
Rather than avoiding it, fearing it, why not play around with accepting it and moving through it?
Here’s a new proposition to you (and brand new to me, too):
Love your burn out. Embrace it. Roll around in it.
Think of the reasons you’re burnt-out.
For me, it’s because I’m:
training clients I love full-time
writing in my free time
hanging out with the people I care about most, and those who inspire me daily (online and off)
drinking way too much coffee because I love it so much
So I’m stressed out. Being this stressed is my choice. I choose to do everything that I’m doing. I have no one else to blame for those decisions.
Realizing that the way you’re feeling now is due to choices you have made is an amazing revelation.
Relax into it and, instead of fighting it, let it be what it is. Let this time be super-stressful. Let yourself be tired.
You might find that you overcome burn out faster if you let it run it’s course.
Find Stillness in Your Own Way
The “stillness” that Danielle LaPorte mentions doesn’t have to mean refraining from movement.
Personally, I find stillness in movement.
Like I’ve told you guys many-a-time, I work my brain out when I work my body out. My brain finds stillness when I run or do yoga.
For me, being still is finding and embracing that lightness of thought.
It’s finding that focus so that I am not thinking about my day, I am thinking about how my body is moving. I am thinking about how steady my breath is. I am repeating my mantra to keep my mind from wandering.
Stillness is something that can be found even in the most chaotic times, and it can ground you when you think you’re losing control.
There is no one way to find stillness of the mind. In fact, what works for your best friend likely won’t work for you.
Here’s a vast array of activities that may bring you stillness:
listening to music
sitting, holding hands with a loved one
However you find stillness, make time for it in your busy schedule.
Take the time to just BE with yourself and recognize that you’re still here, you’re still on the ground. Create space around the chaos.
So you’ve accepted your burn out for what it is and you’re still uber-stressed out?
Back off the work for a day.
As much as you love it, you need to have boundaries.
You can’t work all the time. You just can’t.
Like I said, your brain works like your body: if you overwork it, you’ll break it.
You can stop now, or it will stop you on its own.
Some habits that I’ve formed from experience:
•Turn off your phone during dinner.
•Schedule one day to fully devote to being with your significant other.
•Prioritize lunch dates with friends who encourage you.
•When considering nixing the vacay plans because you’re scared to take time off work, ask yourself, “What will I remember later in life: this trip or getting all my projects done on time?”
If you’re already incorporating the above habits and you’re still feeling burnt-out, consider taking a full day off from all responsibilities.
Trust me. No one will die if you don’t answer all your emails today. The world won’t implode if you say “no” to the PTA meeting. And believe it or not, your kids might even have fun if you schedule an activity for them while you lay out in the backyard reading a trashy magazine.
You aren’t lazy if you take a day off. In fact, you’ll probably be more productive if you do.
Give the world the best YOU by making yourself a priority.
Because, when it’s all said and done, you’ll remember the moments you are present for. You won’t remember slodging through today’s emails.
Random as they may be, those are my thoughts on possible solutions to leading a “balanced,” passionate life and encountering burn-out.
I’m still mastering the art of this myself, so I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!
What are your thoughts on balance vs burn-out?
If you have any tips, please do share. :)