A few truly amazing women who work and volunteer in the birth community recently asked me to facilitate a small group for them, something that would lend itself to helping them get done more of what they want to be doing. They want to be free of the energy-time-sanity black hole that seems almost inevitable in this kind of work. As we were launching this week, I asked for conversation starters. One woman asked if me to write something about avoiding burnout. Um, yeah, we could start there.
So I panicked a bit, mostly because this is a huge conversation. All of my work is about moving toward freedom, which is the opposite of burnout. Luckily, I’m not in the mood to dig into the seriousness of all of that. Instead, let’s pretend we are talking about cars.
Rule 1: Meet and master the vehicle you’re driving.
If you don’t know yourself — your gifts and challenges, your personality, your beliefs and what is driving you, and the way your history impacts you emotionally — you aren’t able to use you (the tool) very effectively. You can’t win the race if you don’t know where to put the key or the fuel or how to put in your favorite music and rock the super-sweet stereo system. And once we learn these little lessons about how we work, it helps if we keep that information close and put it into practice regularly. This is about living as efficiently as possible, getting the best results out of your time “behind the wheel” of this body.
Rule 2: Maintain the equipment properly.
If you are not treating your body, mind, and spirit in a loving manner, you can’t possibly expect it to be reliable. If you don’t give your body what it needs to thrive, it simply cannot thrive. We all know about the easy ones — sleep, exercise, healthy food, etc. — but are you nurturing your creative spirit, connecting regularly with the Divine? You know you need to change the oil every 3,000 miles, but are you really maintaining yourself on the deeper levels?