Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.
A happy and productive person is one who understands that his or her job is not the purpose of his or her life. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything that allows you to recharge your batteries away from your typical routine. No leave, no life.
There is always more we can do in ministry, but God is not asking 'Can you do more?'. He is asking 'Do you love me?' Some of those extras are not always as vital as we think them to be.
In our secular world, we no longer see eternal paradise as a carrot at the end of the stick of life, but try to cram as much as possible into our relatively short time on the planet instead. This is, of course, a futile endeavour, doomed to failure. It is tempting to interpret the modern epidemics of depression and burnout as the individual's response to the unbearable nature of constant acceleration. The decelerating individual - who slows down instead of speeding up, and maybe even stops completely - seems out of place in a culture characterised by manic development, and may be interpreted pathologically (i.e. diagnosed as clinically depressed).
Burnout at its deepest level is not the result of some train wreck of examinations, long call shifts, or poor clinical evaluations. It is the sum total of hundreds and thousands of tiny betrayals of purpose, each one so minute that it hardly attracts notice. When a great ship steams across the ocean, even tiny ripples can accumulate over time, precipitating a dramatic shift in course. There are many Tertius Lydgates, male and female, inhabiting the lecture halls, laboratories, and clinics of today’s medical schools. Like latter-day Lydgates, many of them eventually find themselves expressing amazement and disgust at how far they have veered from their primary purpose.
When you can begin to see the similarities between you and your work colleagues in respect of ‘being human’ and the collective challenges we all face, it makes life much easier to deal with, especially when met with overbearing behaviour.
When emotions turn and stay sour, when thoughts become cynical and judgmental, good and compassionate treatment is on the line. Helpers who become sour and cynical tend to begrudge their high need clients for their neediness. There is a risk that helpers become too well-practiced at taking a bleak view of those they have avowed to assist. There is a temptation to begin to blame clients for their failure to improve. If treatment ends pre-maturely, with either a client never returning to treatment or a helper 'firing' them out of frustration, there is a tendency for the client to take the fall. Of course what we are talking about here are signs of burnout.
Sometimes you gotta say what's in your heart... And you have to stand for what you believe. No matter what. ~'Dr. Michael C. Anders
Hello? Do you see me? I'm working as creatively as possible and you want more and more and I'm out of juice and if you send me one more email I'm going to walk into the ocean and swallow water.
The Self Care Formula is simple-NITO(5R). Nutrients In & Toxins Out in the 5 Realms (Mental, Emotional, Physical, Environmental, Spiritual).
Like gratitude, authentic appreciation in the workplace is a realisation that can be nurtured and accessed with daily mindful practice. By and large, people who are grateful, happy and enthusiastic are going to demonstrate better performance than those who are unhappy and unappreciative. There is increasing evidence that a grateful mindset amplifies happiness and mental and emotional wellbeing.
When the weeks have built up with frustration and immense stress and one of your co-workers, a manager or an employee triggers irritation or angers you, knowing how to respond in a mindful way can pay huge dividends. Knowing how to not take other people’s emotional baggage personally and intuitively sensing when to bring up concerns and when not to is an expression of emotional intelligence. This is all possible if we are being truly mindful.
To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centred. A major component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with love, care, dignity and make your wellbeing a priority. With self-compassion, we still hold ourselves accountable professionally and personally, but there are no toxic emotions inflicted upon and towards ourselves.
The human brain is incredible in its capacity to heal and rewire itself. The human brain can be shaped and trained to be more resilient, calm, compassionate and alert—we can condition ourselves to be successful. Through mindfulness meditation, we can literally re-wire our brains through new experiences, which modify our neural network and our neural chemistry. Mindfulness also enhances gamma synchrony and improves the function of the human brain.
Things sometimes go our way and sometimes they don’t. All we can do is apply ourselves to our profession, giving our very best effort but emotionally letting go of the outcome. Why? Because if we obsess about an outcome, we cannot possibly honour the present moment.
First and foremost, if we maintain healthy emotional boundaries and direct love and kindness inwards, we are taking care of ourselves and secondly we are giving a subliminal message to others about how we wish to be treated. People tend to subconsciously treat us how we treat ourselves.
It is impossible to control outcomes or results, although most of us have been programmed from a very young age to believe otherwise. The idea that we can perform actual ‘magic’ causes tremendous dysfunction, unnecessary suffering and prevents the development of emotional resilience.
Maybe (Taoist story)A classic ancient story illustrates the importance of equanimity and emotional resilience beautifully. Once upon a time, there was a wise old farmer who had worked on the land for over 40 years. One morning, while walking to his stable, he noticed that his horse had run away. His neighbours came to visit and sympathetically said to the farmer, “Such bad luck”.“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The following morning, however, the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “Such good luck,” the neighbours exclaimed.“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The following afternoon, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses and was thrown off, causing him to break his leg. The neighbours came to visit and tried to show sympathy and said to the farmer, “how unfortunate”. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The following morning military officials came to the farmer’s village to draft young men into the army to fight in a new war. Observing that the farmer’s son’s leg was broken, they did not draft him into the war. The neighbours congratulated him on his good luck and the farmer calmly replied, “Maybe”.
Conscious breathing anchors us into the nowness of life and gives us a fresh outlook, no different from how a baby observes reality without mental commentary. The baby enjoys watching the world and human activity without any limiting mental concepts spoiling his or her perception. Naturally, we all have to evolve from the helpless state of babyhood, but to be able to tap into that wonderful ability and truly BE in the moment is immensely liberating.
Stress, burnout and strain on the human heart are all increasingly taking their toll for millions of hardworking people. However, even someone who is working in a job that simply ‘pays the bills’ can turn mundane and stressful tasks into pleasant activities with a slight adjustment in attitude and by adopting a daily mindful practice.
Through practising body scan awareness meditation, we can greatly reduce the detrimental effects of stress and make our working lives pleasant and enjoyable.
The word ‘pranayama’, often referred to as alternate breathing, comes from the Sanskrit meaning ‘extension of life force’ or ‘extension of breath’. At times, we are going to have days where we are bombarded with one task after another. This simple yet effective meditation only takes a couple of minutes and its calming qualities can be felt almost immediately. It is one of the easiest meditation techniques to apply. This practice is well worth applying at least three or four times a day (somewhere private) to develop emotional balance and evenness of mind, especially in the working environment.
The Happiest Man in The WorldThe French interpreter for the 14th Dalai Lama, former academic and dedicated meditator Matthieu Ricard, came into the spotlight in the field of neural science after being named “the happiest man in the world”. Naturally, there are many other men and women who demonstrate such equanimity, but the studies on his brain uncovered truly astonishing results. MRI scans showed that Matthieu Ricard and other serious long-term meditators (with more than 10,000 hours of practice each) were mentally, emotionally and spiritually fulfilled and displayed an abundance of positive emotions and equanimity in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain. When talking about his mindfulness training, Matthieu Ricard said with humility that: “Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time”.
We cannot control the mind by trying to force it to be peaceful or positive. Many have attempted this using a plethora of methods throughout the ages, but it simply does not work. Trying to fight the human mind is like walking into a lion’s den empty-handed and believing that you have a realistic chance of defending yourself.
Mindfulness (present-moment awareness) is deliberately focusing our attention on our thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and mental activity without losing awareness of what is happening in the present moment. It is essentially being in a state of present-moment awareness and maintaining clarity without being swayed or distracted by mental commentary.
The process of applying Mindfulness Burnout Prevention (MBP) in the workplace or any environment has a much more far-reaching effect than simply accessing equanimity throughout the vicissitudes of life. Continuous learning helps us to stay youthful, sharpen our mental faculties and wire new neural connections in our brain (making us better equipped to accomplish); it is also a sign of humility.
Learning to practise mindfulness greatly enhances our ability to manifest emotional intelligence and equanimity under pressure and to display calmness, empathy and adaptability when communicating with others, whether it be with co-workers, clients or the board of directors. Learning to apply mindfulness on a daily basis will significantly encourage a positive, creative and enthusiastic attitude at all levels in companies large and small.
The incredible benefits of practising and applying mindfulness and self-compassion in the workplace are being increasingly recognised by human resource professionals as well as the medical profession, as the stresses of competing in today’s global economy take their toll on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of many otherwise talented and enthusiastic individuals in the workplace.
Whether someone is a CEO of a major corporation or is serving meals in a diner, failure to adopt a mindful approach will mean that mental and emotional exhaustion could become a habitual condition. Whether someone is stressed about their stocks losing value or being able to pay their bills, the internal underlying conditions of stress and pressure are essentially the same.
Many of us have been unconsciously programmed to treat walking as a means to an end, especially while in the workplace. Naturally, a lack of mindfulness while walking leaves one hostage to self-perpetuating stress and anxiety. We rush (often while shouting into a mobile phone), completely missing the enjoyment of walking. Walking and breathing, if practised harmoniously, can be peaceful and thoroughly enjoyable. Even walking down a corridor or into an office or wherever we are working or being of service can be a harmonious action.
The moments of silence are gone. We run from them into the rush of unimportant things, so filled is the quiet with the painful whispers of all that goes unspoken. Busy-ness is our drug of choice, numbing our minds just enough to keep us from dwelling on all that we fear we can’t change. A compilation of coping mechanisms, we have become our fatigue. Unwilling or unable to cut ourselves free of this modern machine we have built, we’re dragged in its wake all too quickly toward our end. The virtue of a society’s culture is reflected in the physical, mental, and emotional health of its people. The time has come to part ways with all that is toxic, and preserve our quality of life.
Pride. The worst kind of fire. It starts somewhere below the gut, creeps through the liver, climbs quietly up the heart, and moves into the lungs. You never notice it until it’s too late. It’s uncontrollable by the time it gets to the head. There it rages, blowing hot air through the ears. It’s a spiteful hissing above the echoing vacuum between the ears. All thoughts get evicted or burnt. When the fire ceases, only black ashes remain. Imagine. Ashes in your head.
Technology, while providing us many advantages, encourages us to race through our days so that we no longer know what we'd do if we were to slow down. Labor-saving devices seem not only to have failed to enhance the quality of our lives and free up more time, but get between us and the immediate, sensory pleasures of life and increase the pressures on us to do more. Many of us feel cut off from life's blessings, from our neighbors, from the wonders of nature, and from our sense of our own significance in the scheme of things. Modern life leaves us spiritually starved
I'll always choose a teacher with enthusiasm and weak technique over one with brilliant strategies but who is just punching the clock. Why? An enthusiastic teacher can learn technique, but it is almost impossible to light a fire inside the charred heart of a burned-out teacher.
When you're a passenger on an airplane, you are told that in the event of a change in cabin pressure, you should put your mask on first and then assist your children. You can't help them if you are unconscious. A similar principle applies with your day to day health. Mothers tend to put others first. While this is admirable in one sense, it is not a good practice in the long run. You cannot strike a balance between your needs and the needs of your family if you are constantly run down. Stop abusing your body.
Burnout can be defined as a loss of enthusiasm, energy, idealism, perspective, and purpose; it has been described as trying to run a marathon at full speed. It's often the mothers who care the most who are the most prone to burnout.