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
Rich offers proven ways to exercise renewal and recharge your reserves of energy and focus, all which can help with burnout.
Hi, it's Rich here.
I've been asked to answer the
question, how can I avoid burnout?
So let me start by saying, throughout
my life and work, I have definitely
experienced profound feelings of burnout.
I've also found some useful ways to
recover from burnout and to prevent it.
And so I want to share some
of those with you today.
Really, it's three things which
I'll speak to each in turn.
So the first is radical self care.
The second is cultivating
support from others.
And the third is resetting expectations.
So let me speak about each of these.
But as for this experience
of burnout, I certainly have
examples of it, as I said before.
I remember that I once delivered
a huge body of work in a previous
organization in which I worked.
And I was literally reinventing
an important business process.
And after landing that project and
getting great feedback about it, the
thing that happened was that there
was an expectation for the next thing.
A kind of that's great, but what can
you do for me tomorrow kind of thing.
So that didn't feel great.
And definitely it led me to feeling burned
out as I tried to move to the new project.
That's normal because the human
mind and body doesn't naturally
operate in an unrelenting pace.
We need time for rest and recovery.
I mean, look at the best
athletes, they need recovery time.
Without it, we have a
recipe for hurt and burnout.
So before I dive into the suggestions
I made, first, I just want to
answer the question at the outset.
What is burnout?
So given today's world, which has
sometimes been described as a VUCA
world, which stands for volatile,
uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.
I think we can certainly agree that
all those factors are in full effect.
Burnout has become an
increasingly prevalent phenomenon.
So much so that the World Health
Organization recognizes it as a, I think
they use the quote that it's a syndrome
resulting from chronic workplace stress
that has not been successfully managed.
And they diagnose this
as an actual disease.
In fact, the three symptoms of the
disease of burnout that they list
are number one, exhaustion, feelings
of energy depletion, or physical,
mental, and or emotional fatigue.
The next one is disengagement,
not feeling engaged with your
work or very little excitement
and motivation that's sustained.
And finally ineffectiveness, a kind
of reduced productivity or efficacy.
So no matter how much you try to
focus or how hard you try, you
just can't seem to be productive.
I don't know if that sounds familiar
to some of you, but like I said before,
I've certainly experienced that many
times over the years in many different
contexts, whether it was in school
or in a job I had, or other contexts.
So resolving burnout often requires
changes also, not only within
yourself, but within an organization,
which I'll speak to towards the end
here, around resetting expectations.
But let's begin with the first suggestion
I had, which is to prioritize self-care.
It's what I call radical self-care.
It's too easy to fall
into a busy-ness trap.
So perhaps one place to start is
considering what wellbeing means
to you, what it looks like, and
which factors impact your wellbeing.
For me personally, for example,
having a little bit of flexibility
throughout my daily and weekly
schedule is really important.
I like to be able to take walks sometimes
at lunch or to leave work a little bit
early to pick up my son from school and
spend time with him in the afternoon.
Perhaps playing some sports or even just
hanging out, even playing video games.
Whatever it means to you, just
having an understanding of what
wellbeing is and how to prioritize it.
Now consider all the contributors to
optimal wellbeing and then take a good
look at your current schedule or routine.
How are you spending your
days and weeks and months?
There are definitely some factors
that contribute to wellbeing.
These include things like physical
exercise or movement, mental training
or mindfulness practice, adequate
restorative sleep, consuming natural,
unprocessed, balanced foods, time
with family and friends, spending
time in nature and / or natural
environments, and so many, many more.
All of these are considered nice to
have, but sometimes discretionary.
Well, because I suppose the
demands of work and life are really
great, are really high, that is.
The reality though, is that these aren't
just nice to haves, they're must haves, if
in fact we're going to perform our best.
The body and the mind, they have an
inherent need for rest and relaxation.
Have you ever had the experience where
you're trying so hard to solve a problem
at work, you lean into the work, stay
late, miss your evening meal, and keep
looking at your computer screen searching
for an answer, but it doesn't come.
And it could be that the next morning you
decide to take some fresh air and take a
walk before you get to work, before you
get to your desk or onto the computer, and
sometimes a solution magically appears.
This happens to me all the time,
and it happens to me a lot when
I'm walking my dog, actually.
I like to walk my dog on the beach.
We happen to be fortunate to live in
San Francisco, not far from the ocean.
And in those moments of just open space
and expansiveness, a lot of things
kind of come together and gel for me.
So consider ways that you can
create your own routine around
self-care and prioritize those.
Not as nice to haves,
but as need to haves.
This is what I mean by radical self-care.
On the second suggestion, which is
getting support from others, it's
another key to avoiding burnout.
It's really about connecting with your
network, with your community, with
your loved ones, with your friends.
If you have a close, trusted friend
or partner or colleague, share with
them the things that can trigger or
even upset you, the signs, if you
like, that you may be burning out.
And give them the permission to check
in with you when they notice the signs.
And encourage them to encourage
you to exercise self-care.
For example, encouraging them to
invite you for walks, or to catch
up, to watch games on the weekend,
or just to spend time together.
Many of us aren't so good at asking
for help or even noticing that we may
need help to slow down, especially when
we're in the midst of a really important
project or working with a tight deadline.
So giving permission to a trusted
friend who truly cares for your
well-being, to help keep you
accountable, and offer suggestions
for self-care is a great strategy.
It also will have the positive effect
of strengthening your relationship.
And social connections are a
key contributor to wellbeing.
Finally, I just want to say a few
words about my third recommendation,
which is to reset expectations.
Consider that burnout is also a
systemic problem within organizations.
Cultures of organizations
sometimes promote and reward us for
working all hours under the sun.
And they sometimes punish us or make
us feel less adequate for not doing so,
for needing to take time and have some
flexibility and exercise self-care.
So consider how you might utilize
flexible working and setting
expectations within your organization,
especially about meetings and work
hours and see what that's like.
See how that plays in your organization.
See if you can have conversations with
colleagues or managers or leaders in
your organization to reset expectations.
If that's not possible, and the culture
of an organization or a group that
you're involved in is, what we would,
call toxic and not welcoming to your own
wellbeing, then it may be that you have
a different set of choices to make, a
different set of considerations., Perhaps
ones that prioritize your wellbeing.
And that doesn't have to
happen all of a sudden.
But it can be that it begins the
process of being more planful on
creating the causes and conditions
for your own wellbeing and the
things that you need to support that.
And I wish you well, as you work
to exercise some of the skills
that'll help you prioritize
self-care and prevent burnout.
Again, be kind to yourself
throughout the process, knowing
that all of us are prone to burnout.
The demands in life and work can be
great, but that there are also ways
you can exercise with mindfulness
and with self-compassion to avoid
burnout and to be your best.
So thanks for your time today.
Be kind to yourself, and be well.
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