Those were the wise words a priest once told Brené Brown.
Full of the hope and attitude that she could change the world, Brené Brown, became burned out from her job as a social worker early in her career. Becoming nasty to those around her she felt were not as busy as she was, her friends took notice, intervened and convinced her should could not take care of others if she did not first take care of herself.
She came to realize she was burned out, but how could she slow down after having such a full schedule she wondered.
Burnout is prevalent in today’s world. With so much information literally at our fingertips, we are immersed in society’s messaging that makes us feel we are not doing enough with our time. And in our free time, we are learning how to be more productive with our time.
Brené is now always on the lookout for burnout. Desiring to live in the present moment to savor her time with family and friends, and aware she doesn't like herself when she's tired and resentful, she works to protect her mind, body and spirit.
She points out that simply getting enough rest is not the answer. She knows from experience that once you've built your reputation and life upon hectic schedules and lots of activities, slowing down can make us feel unproductive, or worse yet - irrelevant.
To successfully prevent burnout, we must dare to change the way we define our self-worth. We must realize our loved ones care about us because of who we are, not for what we do. We know we will be happier when we stop trying to please everyone, but it’s hard to have the courage to stand up to the fear of imperfection.
"When you stop living on stress and adrenaline, you may feel emotional, spiritual and physical discomfort (it's not unlike putting out a fire—the smoke makes it hard to breathe for a while). But that discomfort is worth it if you can finally get calm and comfortable in your own skin."
~ Brené Brown
To prevent the burnout, Brené suggests these 3 things:
- Dare to be honest about what burnout looks like. Are you being rude because you are tired or resentful? Do you fail to see the fun, or to feel playful?
Dare to set boundries. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should when it leaves you exhausted or short on time to do the things that really matter to nurture your health and wellbeing.
- Dare to create a clearing for yourself. Give yourself a regular opportunity to do things that help you center - to calm your emotions, slow your mind, and just breathe. It is imperative you give yourself the right to exercise, craft, write, or whatever it is that helps to clear your head.
Preventing burnout requires us to have as much compassion for ourselves as we do others. It is not easy to muster that courage, but it is essential if we are going to truly care for those around us.