Together let’s practice a Mindful Pause. Stop. Breathe. Think. Choose. We stop, and set this time aside for a moment of self-care content. Let’s take just a couple of cleansing breaths to anchor us into the present moment. Breathing in present moment awareness…breathing out distractions in body, mind, and spirit. And let’s think…
Today we’ll be thinking about: Positive Disengagement
Not what you’re used to hearing?
We hear a lot about the importance of engagement in work. For productivity, satisfaction, and shared culture. Today I’m here to raise the warning flag for those high achievers and doers of the world that are easily swept up in engagement by their own passion and dedication to their work. It’s easy by training, habit, and devotion to dismiss or somehow believe that we are not vulnerable to burnout. Many love their work. They thrive on being busy. Until they can’t. They are shocked to find themselves overwhelmed, fatigued, sometimes addicted to unhealthy coping behaviors, and suddenly very unproductive, unhealthy, and confused.
I just listened to an interesting podcast by a coach that specializes in burnout who relayed the hazard of wearing yourself out in service of your work. The podcast hosts carried on the conversation and – I found it interesting that one of their take-aways was of being aware of the emotional presence you bring to the work you do …as if enthusiasm, interest, zest, or passion for your work somehow has a protective effect of burn out.
I would argue that there is a tipping point to engagement. And over-engagement is one of the hazards and vulnerabilities of burnout. What is missing is the awareness to recognize your tipping point and having the skills to put the reins on ambition, drive, curiosity, passion, zest , and joy. You can actually have too much of a good thing…and perhaps become resilient to a fault.
This brings us back to the priority of self-care. It is a discipline that requires prioritization and practice. Self-care is never a selfish act. It is a personal and professional responsibility. What would your personal and professional life look like if you directed your drive toward prioritizing self-care? My husband, a busy cardiologist, has worked very intentionally over the years to include self-care as a essential element of his medical professionalism. Actively disengaging from work and engaging in rest, relaxation, and other creative outlets has re-energized his professional career.
So a point I want to make that I feel is often missing from the conversation is… self-regulation is necessary whether the stressors are good or bad. Sustained engagement can be stressful if not interrupted for moments to pause and restore yourself. It’s not just anxiety over complicated tasks or people …or disinterest or dislike in the work that piles up that leads to burnout…it is also the projects that you are so passionate about that you don’t stop yourself to take a break to recover.
Concluding today’s Mindful Pause, we Choose. Take a moment to check in on your mood and energy throughout your day. Develop a repertoire of self-care strategies that meet your need in the moment to shift back into a sustainable mode….becoming a master of your moments…not a victim of your day.