How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindful Living Can Change Your Life
Mindfulness 101: A Beginner's Guide
How to live a more balanced, sustainable and fulfilling life—even when things get busy, stressful or overwhelming.
I love to dance.
In fact, I love to do a lot of things.
I love to be cozy and
content at home with a book.
I love yoga.
I also really love getting out into
nature, you know, going to the beach,
hanging out in the forest or by a river.
These are things I naturally love doing.
So I make time for them as much as I can.
They nourish me.
They feed my soul.
Think about the things you love doing.
Maybe it's cooking or reading that
you enjoy, or maybe taking walks on
the beach or painting or gardening.
Whatever it is that you love to do,
hopefully you're able to make enough time
for it in your life to enjoy these things.
The things that make you happy,
the things that feed your soul
and recharge the batteries.
Isn't just about the
things that we love to do.
There are certain things we have to do.
You know, we have families to take
care of, jobs to do, errands to run.
Some of these things can be really
nourishing and rewarding, but some of
them, we just have to get them done.
And it's a bonus if we get
some joy from the experience.
In a balanced life, we're able to keep
all the plates spinning, so to speak.
So we can have some time with our
friends and family, we have time
for our hobbies and interests, all
while holding down a job and keeping
some semblance of order at home.
If our lives are in balance,
there should always be time
for the things that nourish us.
But life, hmm, isn't
always so balanced, is it?
Sometimes work takes over or something
unexpected happens, like a family illness,
or maybe we allowed our personal to-do
list to get a little out of control
and take over our lives so we can feel
like we're under constant pressure.
I'm sure you can think of a time in
your life when that work-life balance
started to unravel a bit, or you
started to find every day a little
more tiring than the one before.
If that sounds familiar, you may have
been feeling what we call burnout.
Something, I think, we all feel
from time to time in this busy
frantic world that we live in.
But burnout you have to be careful of,
because it can really creep up on you
if you let it, and it can make it harder
and harder for you to bounce back into a
more balanced and positive way of living.
That's when you risk falling into
what Swedish psychiatrist, Marie
Asberg calls the exhaustion funnel.
So if you imagine a funnel, like
the one you have in your kitchen at
home, the top of the funnel is nice
and wide and this represents where
your life is at its most balanced.
At the top of the funnel, you're
able to make time for the things
you love doing alongside all
the things you just have to do.
So you have the fun things you
could say and the less fun things.
So going dancing is balanced out with
doing all the housework and your fullwork
day or care-taking day is balanced
out by a walk in the countryside.
Now, it's not a strict weighing
scale, but basically here at the top
of the funnel, you're able to make
enough time to do the things that
nourish you and fill you up along with
those things that might deplete you.
So you have balance in your
life and it feels at the top
of the funnel, sustainable.
You could live like that for a long
time and keep the batteries charged.
Now, if you start to sink a little
bit further down into that funnel,
life starts to get a bit narrower.
And this is where it can start to
resemble the exhaustion funnel.
So perhaps you had a big deadline
at work and you need to work late
a couple of days to finish the job.
And that's not so bad in and of itself.
But quite often, it's the start
of a descent into burnout.
So let's say for a few nights you
skip yoga, skip time with friends
or walks in nature and you start
to work through your lunch break
rather than taking proper breaks.
You know, if this sounds
familiar, it's not just you.
We've all been there.
But how do you feel afterwards,
after a couple of days?
As the batteries and not being recharged?
I know for myself, first thing
that happens is I start to feel
a little bit more fatigued and I
start to get a bit more irritable.
I also start to lose focus at
work and I start to lose energy.
And if I'm not getting enough exercise
and I'm missing social contact,
my mood really starts to drop and
everything starts to seem harder.
You know, life starts to lose its sparkle.
Can you relate?
That is how burnout starts.
First, we decide to give up a few
of the, what we might call, optional
things in life, just for a while so we
can meet all the expectations on us.
But then we start to feel lower and
lower physically and emotionally because
we're giving up the most nourishing
things in our lives, the things that
really sustain us and give us joy.
Your journey down the exhaustion
funnel from here gets deeper and
deeper as you decide to give up more
and more of the things that energize
you, lift you up, and make you happy.
If you continue doing this, you end up
doing only the things that drain you
and none of the things that nourish you.
And if you keep doing that, you end up
at the smallest and narrowest part at
the bottom of the funnel where you've
gradually let go of all the things
that give you joy and nourishment.
Now you're getting really close
to burnout if you stay here.
And what it's like here at the bottom
of the funnel is usually you're trying
to do as much as you can, there's lots
of doing, doing, doing, but you're tired
and drained of energy, low mood, and
often feeling anxious about some of the
choices that you've decided to make.
So you might be feeling guilty about
missing a school event with the kids,
maybe feeling socially disconnected
because you've stopped having time with
friends and fun with people you love.
And the more you strip out all the
fulfilling and sustaining aspects of
your life, the more you feel burnt
out, unhappy, depleted, and lost.
Eventually if you stay here long
enough, you hit total exhaustion and
get to a point where you actually
cannot function well anymore.
This is burnout.
Now the trouble with
this is it's not easy.
Once you hit burnout and you're completely
depleted, it's quite hard to bounce back.
You'll already be tired and unhappy,
but also often living a life that's full
to the brim and has a bit of pressure
and expectations from other people.
Sometimes when people hit this
point, they start turning to other
bad habits to help them cope.
Drugs, drinking, sleeping tablets,
to name a few, bad eating habits.
Now, if you're hearing this and you
think you might've fallen into the
exhaustion funnel, do try to show
yourself some self-compassion to
help you begin to find your way out.
Even if you're just looking
after yourself a little bit more,
just looking for those signs of
tiredness or stress changes in mood.
This might give you the clues you
need that something's not right
and then you can start to respond.
So after all, if your best
friend was showing the symptoms,
you'd look out for them.
So why not apply the same kind
attitude towards yourself?
And something really important to
us always remember is that it, it
really is vital to take care of
yourself when life is getting busy.
This is how we stop falling into
the exhaustion funnel and how
we regain and stabilize that
sense of balance in our lives.
And here's the really good news.
All of those enjoyable and
energizing things that you love
doing are not just optional extras.
They're not just luxuries.
These are the things that allow
you to function at your best
when life is staying in balance.
These are the activities that increase
your psychological wellbeing, help you
face the challenges of day-to-day life.
These are the things that
sustain you, bring you joy.
So it's important and vital even
to try to find time for them.
Try to keep an eye out for identifying
if you start to feel more exhausted.
And notice why you might be
feeling tired and stressed out.
So what has changed in your life?
What are the things that maybe are new
or have changed in their timeframe?
Maybe there's more draining
things in your life.
Maybe there's a busy phase at work and
it started with one overdue report and
now it's morphed into you regularly
skipping your yoga or exercise or
bailing on nights out with friends.
Maybe your movie nights
been postponed a few times.
So just as an act of kindness
towards yourself now, always tuning
in to: have you fallen into any
routines that are draining you?
Are you doing enough things
that are nourishing you?
When you identify the things that are
draining you in life, you can start
to work with them more skillfully.
Perhaps eliminating some of them or trying
to do what you can to regain balance.
You might be able to implement
the simplest of self-care
boundaries and rituals.
Things as simple as switching your phone
off at eight o'clock at night, so you
won't be tempted to reply to any more of
those work emails or look at social media.
Often the most draining things
could be traded for more
sustaining and nourishing ones.
So just having a, a think about that.
Is there parts of your life where you
could bring in more of those sustaining
things, more of those nourishing things
to keep lifting you up and lighting
you up, keeping that balance again?
So, and soon when you do this, the
positive energy from bringing more
sustaining activities into your life
will help you feel more balanced,
more focused, and more content.
With self-awareness and self-compassion
like this, you can discover so
many things about yourself that
you may not have noticed before.
You can keep noticing what's nourishing
you and what draining you, what lights
you up and what's depleting you.
And this deeper awareness of yourself
will help you stay clear of falling
into the funnel's black hole.
Through these kinds of more mindful
living, we can make wiser choices, keep
things in balance, and then we can live
more happy, healthy, and nourishing lives.
And life is meant to be nourishing.
It's meant to be enjoyable.
After all, life isn't just a to-do list.
It's meant to be enjoyed.
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