“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long” — Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
As I was skimming through the enlightening pages of the Tao Te Ching my eyes fell upon the verse above.
In our modern, face-paced lives, we often fall prey to burning out. Stress and anxiety are growing — compacted by obligations, travel, deadlines, family, school activities, parenting, care-giving and the list goes on.
We try to squeeze in a yoga class at lunchtime or rush to the gym after work — perhaps take in a meditation on the train home — but even the list of what you must do to zen out can add to the stress!
That candle is blazing and we’ve lost the ability to just maintain a healthy flicker.
Here are 5 tips to ignite that wick into balance:
1.Keeping a Journal
I’m a huge advocate of keeping a journal.
Always keep one handy so you can jot down any ideas you may have that you don’t want to forget or get out what’s in your head, in general, so you can ‘tidy it up’ (schedule your time better in order to facilitate what must be done). This way you can also filter out what isn’t really important or what needs to take a back seat for now that can be readdressed later.
When you write down what’s bugging you (or things you still need to do), half of the stress is already alleviated and isn’t flurrying around upstairs, tap dancing on the floor-boards of your mind — driving you insane!
Related article: 7 Big Benefits of Journaling and How To Get Started Now
2. Keeping it Real
Right, now I’m talking to you — you know who you are. The person who has a million and one things to do and can’t find time for themselves!
There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to keep it real. Here they are:
- Is what I’m doing necessary?
- Am I overloading my life with appointments, classes, engagements, work?
- Are all these ‘busy’ things that I think I need to do adding to my quality of life or taking away from it? Ask the same for your child — are all the extra classes they are taking making them happy or stressing them out? Can they pick 1 or 2 that they really excel at and want to do instead of 5?
- Are there any things I can let go of to give myself more time to just simply be?
I’ve spoken to parents of children whose schedules are so chock-a-block full of extra mural activities, PTA meetings and functions that it left my head spinning. Sometimes just dropping 1 or 2 things from their schedule can help them and you to function better. If, for instance, you drop a class like ‘painting/craft’ — you can always make time to do something creative with your child over the weekend (it will be a fun thing to do for you and your child will benefit from your company and attention).
I have also spoken with people in the corporate world whose routines and work hours are beyond ridiculous.
These ‘things’ that we think we must do are only choices. They are not set in concrete.
It Can Happen! Listen to this…
A close friend of mine, who worked in the corporate world for decades and was slowly killing herself through unreasonable work loads and shifts that extending into the early hours of the morning (and being on call over weekends), quit her job and is now living her dream!
She has just got back from a retreat/course in Mozambique where she has become a yoga teacher — something that she’s wanted to do for ages. She only thought she couldn’t do it when she had trapped herself in thinking that things were impossible.
Now she is making better choices.
I tried to convince her for years that her job was zapping the life from her but she didn’t want to see it at first. She had children to school/clothe/feed and mortgages to pay off — a reasonable argument but not without a solution.
- What did she do when she quit her high paying job?
She started off slowly, doing things she enjoyed to do to make an income. She first started a home baking business and then went for her dream of becoming a yoga teacher. She down-scaled her home and sold off any excess debt incurring things.
- Was she scared?
I’d say she was petrified but I think the thought of living an unfulfilled life scared her more.
She never had time before to enjoy the smaller things in life — watching sunsets, taking strolls on the beach with her dog or painting a picture.
3. Keeping it Simple
Life shouldn’t be just about mortgages, paying bills, keeping up with the Jones’s and dying. It needs to have the juicy things in there as well.
One of the biggest, juiciest things you could do for yourself to destress is to go BE IN NATURE. It is where our bliss is. It’s where our connection to Source is always available.
The ‘busy-ness’ is not natural, the computers and electronics are not natural.
We can use them for certain things but don’t let them become your life, don’t let them take over. Most of the crankiness we experience is from sitting in front of a screen too long. It drains our very life force! Go be in nature if you want peace, happiness and bliss.
4. Know Your Limits!
Know where your cut off point is. If you’re stressed from a hard day at work, don’t come home and immediately swap your computer for a TV screen.
Take in some classical music, go for a walk around the neighborhood or in the park or even in your garden (if you have one), sip a glass of wine on your veranda and take in the sunset or the night sky — do something that will let you unwind naturally.
Watching TV may be something you think is relieving your stress but it is a form of zombification. It’s not a natural way to pacify your soul.
I’m not saying you can’t watch TV ever again. Just be more selective about what you watch, trim down how much time you sit in front of the box and try to take up a new activity like reading or painting instead of always reaching for the remote.
Remember: You can do most anything as long as it’s in balance.
Example: It’s okay to have an ice-cream cone every now and again — it can be a real treat. But when you have one or more a day, it’s no longer in balance and it is hardly a treat anymore.
5. Be Kind and Compassionate to Yourself
Don’t forget to include things like pampering yourself — whatever shape or form that may come in.
Take nice long, hot baths, get your kids to paint your toenails for you (if you’re a man, get them to give you a nice neck massage), take yourself and/or the family for picnics where iPhones are forbidden and give yourself guilt-free time and space to just sit and look at the wall if you want to (or read a book, enjoy your pets, think of 6 impossible things you can do tomorrow).
You don’t have to burn the candle at both ends or burn yourself out in this life. Find the balance, find the simplicity and find your key to a happy, natural, wholesome life.
If you feel you need to work hard to get the latest car, a grand house or the latest gadget/wardrobe then you may be sadly missing the point of life. You can still be rich and content in a log cabin driving a low cost reliable old skedonk and you’ll have far more time to enjoy the subtle pleasures in life that materialism may be robbing from you.
Think about it.
Burn out and into an early grave (possibly in vast amounts of debt) vs. living an abundant life your way NOW.
Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.
To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.
Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She also has just recently launched her official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates).
This article (5 Simple Steps to Avoid a Burn-Out — No. 2 is a Must!) was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksenand ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.