If we are doing the Misery Olympics, sometimes I have a pretty sh** time too and I feel breaks are underrated, aren't they?! Read this to find out how do I get over burnouts.
Hey, productivity nerds! If you are here for your unstinting devotion on finding tips on how to read better, utilize time optimally or eat healthy, you are in for a loss. It's all about doing nothing and recovering from BURNOUTS.
We find ourselves so frequently unhappy - especially during COVID, working from home, trapped in the hamster wheel of accomplishment and approval.
What do you do when the thing you do — the work you love — seem meaningless?
Burnouts happen when you attach the prefix 'Over' to anything - be it overworking or overthinking.
Physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment or alienation from work-related activities, reduced creativity, difficulty sleeping and/or eating properly are some of the symptoms of burnouts.
The easiest way to get over it is to TAKE A BREAK and I took A VACATION!
A vacation from cooking, from writing blogs, from replying to everyone on social media, from working out regularly and many other things.
It feels like when we open our eyes in the morning, life is just waiting to tip a fresh avalanche of 'Do not forget' and 'Remember' over us.
Please tell me you have heard enough about Work-Life Balance too?! Cuz I AM DONE!
At this point, I am reminded of this book by David Whyte called The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship where he juxtaposes an immensely insightful inquiry into these three primary commitments we all make in life.
I am yet to finish reading the book BTW but you should read this:
The current understanding of work-life balance is too simplistic. It might not be a question of balance. Some other dynamic is in play, something to do with a very human attempt at happiness that does not quantify different parts of life and then set them against one another. We are collectively exhausted because of our inability to hold competing parts of ourselves together in a more integrated way.
Is it really necessary to quantify everything?! How do you recoup creativity when your mind barely has any breathing space?
My heart melted when I read what Anaïs Nin said about creativity:
"Creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness.
Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them."
I feel the best work I do and the best ideas that pop in my head is when I am bored; when I am living in an excess, experiencing the transcendence of time as an infinite resource.
So, I did JUST THAT!
Here are some practices that helped me getting back on track (I mean for real):
JOURNAL: There's no great pleasure than to pour out what your heart feels. My partner gifted me this exquisite journaling book which has prompts about every mood - sadness, fear, anxiety etc. Write, write extensively! Without judgement!
GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS : There might be things you enjoyed as a child - dancing, gardening, watching creepy shows- all those guilty pleasures. Go back to them!
I grew up around so many plants in our home, hence I did get back to the roots and planted a hell-lotta plants, so much that I call myself Green Fairy now.
See, I was not kidding! We re-potted them, pulled out dried leaves & mixed some fertilizer and watched F1.
DIGITAL DETOX : I would be honest, I did not practice a full-blown Digital Detox where I uninstall all the social media apps (Yes, including Whatsapp), I have done it in the past and it's been quite an experience but this time I tried to stay away from my phone at a stretch, for hours, kept it in a different room and did not bother about it.
It does give you mental solace, improves focus and reignites creativity.
EXPLORE : When you are bored of being in the same rut, doing the same things, GO CRAZY!
Play a new sport, watch a new sport, trek, try new recipes, go for cycling, watch stand-up comedy yada yada yada!
I started reading more poetry and finally subscribed to The New Yorker. I am determined to read more magazines now.
Anne Lamott echoes this sentiment with exquisite, poetic rawness:
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.
DO NOTHING : Rephrasing it in Alan Watts words,
We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can’t slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.
In a culture of compulsive workaholism, in an age when we have commodified our aliveness succumbing to productivity-fetishism, leisure is brushed aside as a luxury whilst this unburdened contemplation, this stillness is primordial to regaining that spark of creativity.
Again, rephrasing it in Josef Pieper's words:
Leisure lives on affirmation. It is not the same as the absence of activity … or even as an inner quiet. It is rather like the stillness in the conversation of lovers, which is fed by their oneness.
Also, since I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman and his book 'Art Matters' -
Whenever I feel fazed out, out of ideas and out of inspiration, I keep going back to this book.
It is literally 'THE READ' of the year. Full of radiance, positivity and inspiration.
To all the readers and artists out there, you should definitely read this masterpiece.
I feel much better now, on track to write more blogs :)
Let me know how do you tackle burnouts?