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  • Writer's pictureTed Bradshaw

Something to think about, something to do


The idea that burnout is for people who don't have the stomach or the stamina is pure nonsense. Often it’s exactly the opposite. You are actually more likely to experience burnout when you are someone who tends to expect a lot of yourself. Here's why:

 

Imagine you are on a long walk, carrying a heavy load in your backpack. You know it is hard but you feel like you can carry on.

 

Then, someone next to you asks if you can carry something for them too. You can see that they are struggling so you say OK. Your load becomes that little bit heavier and you might be sweating a little more but it's alright, you can manage.

 

Your back starts to ache quite badly, but a couple of the other people around you are struggling so you don't complain because you don't want to bring them down. Instead, you smile, you put on a brave face, and you offer to help them, maybe carry a bit of their load for a while, you tell them to rest.

 

People ask you if you need a break too but you don't want to bother anybody so you say it's OK, you can manage.

 

The more you expect yourself to be strong and resilient, the more likely it is that you will carry on beyond the point you would expect of anybody else. If it were anybody else, you would understand if they were struggling and advise them to take a break, but if you can't take that advice yourself, it is this that eventually means that while you might last a little longer than others, when your back eventually gives out, it will give out big time.

 

It's not about being weak, it is about expecting yourself to be strong. It is about not having a break until the job is done, even if your body and mind are creaking.

 

Something to think about 

 

Often we "push through" because we just want to get to the finish line. We ignore the signs and signals from out bodies and minds (tension, bleary eyes, back pain) because we feel like maybe we can rest once we have just finished that next time. However:

 

Looking after your mind and body actually makes you more likely to be able to finish and finish well.

 

If you were focusing more on looking after your mind and body so you are more likely to be able to carry on, what small things would you do differently this week?

 

Something to do

 

This week, try out putting down your backpack before you have reached the finish line. Try out having a break to refresh and recharge before you have finished all your tasks (or maybe even halfway through a task).

 

Thanks for reading! Until next week,

 

Ted

 

P.S. A good short break is having a tea or a coffee (which you might have anyway) and practicing for five minutes only having that tea or coffee. Not having it while you answer some emails, just smelling, feeling, tasting this drink.

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