The work of recovery from burnout is a spiritual journey reclaiming of the core self, of restoring the soul.
I share because if you are where I was – past burnout into breakdown – I want you to know, and I truly believe this, that burnout is a spiritual awakening and emergence. It is a divine alignment of your soul path to the goodness, promise and wellspring of God (or whatever you conceive that power to be). I am not a traditionally religious person. Whether we call it God, Universe, Higher self – at some point it calls us to align with it. To break away from the illusions of our world of false beliefs, scarcity, struggle and isolation and connect firmly to the power of the divine that flows through us.
That is wellbeing. Once you are connected to that power. Once you feel it’s power coursing through you – when you see how it loves you, supports you, grows you, keeps you, rests you, comforts you, exalts you – you know that it is love. Wellbeing is love. You exist in love, through love, because of love. You are an expression of love.
It doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the throws of burnout. But think of it as a spiritual excavation. The universe gives you a pick-axe to chip away at everything that obscures your authentic self. The self that knows how to live without burnout, without self-neglect and self-berating, without the false beliefs and ideas projected onto us from our society, our families of how we should be, how we should live. Burnout is an opportunity for total self-liberation, soul-liberation.
When you choose wellbeing, the entire universe conspires to support you, your teaching and your students. But you have to make the choice and back it up with actions. You have to do the work of extracting yourself from the patterns that create burnout.
Start simply. I mean it’s not really a 3 or 5 or 10 step process, it’s a journey, but this isn’t a course, it’s a blog post, so here are 4 key ideas that are helpful.
Key 1: Purging. It is cleansing. Make a list of everything and everyone in your life – teaching and non-teaching. It if supports your wellbeing, keep it. If it supports stress, get rid of it. This alone will bring up a lot of feelings and questions. Get a journal. Journal it out – or do art – something to express it. Find someone you can talk to who can guide or coach you through the processing
Key 2. Resting. You need lots of rest. To process, to recover, to allow your body and spirit to rebuild. We underestimate our needs for rest. Our body needs to rest, the more you work, the more you need to balance with rest. Rest is not idleness. It’s prescriptive for wellbeing and recovery.
Key 3: Attending. Attending to you needs. Especially all the unmet needs. And begin to meet them where you can. Give yourself permission to attend to yourself.
Key 4: Dreaming. What do you dream for yourself? What’s your vision for a happy, fulfilling life? Who are you going to thrive for (maybe your children, your family, or yourself)? What do you think is the divine dream for you?
These 4 keys are always useful to help you get unstuck.
You have to commit to yourself. Completely. Unapologetically. Fully. You have to love yourself enough to save yourself.