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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Burned Out? Small Changes Make Big Difference

'If you do what you've always done you'll always get what you always got.' Henry Ford

Small Changes--The Secret to Regaining Your Balance

Feeling burned out by work, relationships or life? Want to regain that sense of balance and fire in your belly? It all begins with a single small change. 

Seemingly insignificant changes in your environment, perceptions or actions can alter the course of events and re-balance the power in relationships. By making small changes you create different results.

Where to Start

Burnout is especially problematic for service-oriented, heart-felt people who freely give of themselves without restraint--those of you who are the caregivers in relationships and hard-working, enthusiastic contributors in the workplace. 

Too much of a good thing--caring deeply and always being accessible--can quickly turn those strengths into weaknesses, and your unbridled enthusiasm into resentment when you fail to give it a rest.

If you are a caregiver by nature, start by looking for little ways to shore up your boundaries by compartmentalizing your work and life, and disconnecting from others daily. 

Think about it:

  • Are you always connected to work and people through your computer, I-phone or other devices? 
  • Do you check your work email when you leave the office?
  • Are you always available to work or others--taking phone calls or checking messages when out with others or throughout the night with your phone turned on by your bed (and text messages pinging on arrival)? 
  • Do you make yourself available to work when you leave for vacation?
  • Are you the first one in the office and the last one to leave?

Turning OFF in an ON Culture

Living in an always ON culture creates a fertile ground for burnout. Without appropriate boundaries you'll never get away from the overwhelming expectations of the outside world.

When you're always on-call  to others you fail to provide yourself moments of soul-saving, off-line silence letting you sit with your private thoughts and disengage from the unspoken expectations or needs of others.

To begin putting balance back in your life try altering the perception you need to stay constantly 'connected', then unplug from one activity that's keeping you 'always on'.

Choose One Small Change

  • Turn your phone off at a set time before you go to bed. 
  • If you just can't resist turning your phone back on when you leave it by your bed, put your phone in a location that makes it too much work to get out of bed to check it...preferably in a different room.
  • Separate your work email from your personal email. 
  • Do not check work messages at home.
  • Turn off the computer in the evening and on weekends.
  • Do something different. If you are home in the evening and just can't resist checking your computer or phone for messages, take a book or journal out to a coffee house. Leave your phone home.
  • If you tend to stay home waiting for that person to call, make plans with someone else--just get out of the house.
  • Leave work at a predetermined earlier time for one week. Let others know you will leave at that time.

For Relationship Burnout Seek Silence and Separation

Where is the OFF button for establishing appropriate boundaries in your personal relationships? What do you do when you're burned out trying to make a relationship work? 

If the harder you try to fix a relationship, the worse you make it: 

Stop. Pull Back. Do nothing. Do something else. Spend time with someone else.

Try seeking silence and separation so you can hear yourself think--and set appropriate boundaries according to the spoken rules of the relationship.

Sometimes you don't need to talk more to solve a difference or problem. You need to put it down, separate, and create open space for everyone to breath and think.

But what do you do when someone you're interested in romantically says  "I just want to be friends", then proceeds to text you well after 11 pm or wants to get together at 10 pm? 

While you may want to push the limits of the relationship, you will only burn yourself out by accepting the 'we're just friends' while still acting as if you are more than that. 

To maintain balance in your relationship (and leave the door open to the possibility of a love relationship developing) you need to set appropriate 'friend' boundaries by working off the spoken 'friend' rule.

Friends spend time in the daylight and early evening. Lovers spend time late into the night.

When you play by the 'friend rule' you take the 'I only want to be friends' person at his/her word and you relate like friends--without allowing the other person to inappropriately invade your life like an intimate--you don't date; you don't take phone calls or text messages after 10 pm; you spend daytime and early evening time together, not late night time together--and you freely date other people and talk about it. 

Do not allow other people complete run of your life by allowing them to act on both the spoken and unspoken rules. Whatever the spoken rules are those are the ones you play by--not by what you think is really going on (the unspoken rules).

Silence IS Golden

Bounce back from feeling burned out--seek silence and re-establish boundaries by changing one small thing. What adjustment will you make to regain your balance?

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

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