I was recently on the phone with a working mom, and she wanted to share something with me… something that she was too embarrassed to share with her peers. As a life balance and leadership coach, I’m used to hearing “confessionals” from high achieving women.
As she struggled to get out her words, it was apparent that my client could no longer keep a lid on what had been bubbling up for weeks.
Since sheltering in place, this mom of three was growing weary. She told me that she found herself constantly worrying about how life would look after the SIP orders were lifted. And on top of that, she was frustrated that the strategies that worked well before the pandemic, are now proving to be completely ineffective.
“I secretly wonder if I’m losing my mind,” she confessed to me. “I’ve always been someone who got things done. People at work know they can count on me to quickly produce quality work. However, since the pandemic, I can’t seem to focus. My head’s all over the place.”
She continued, “Before all of this, no matter what the issue was, I could fix it. I’m the problem solver in our family, and I’ve kept things running smoothly. But, lately, I just haven’t been able to make decisions and I feel like I’m spinning in circles. I think I’ve lost my edge.”
Leaning in and powering through when the world seems like it’s falling apart, isn’t getting us what we want, is it?
During our conversation, I first assured this top performer that she wasn’t alone AND that she wasn’t losing her mind. And then I went on to explain how each of us can feel balanced and confident, even when we sit in uncertainty.
I’ve long been known to be introspective, so it’s no surprise that lately I’ve found myself pondering what this Global Pause has to teach us. And as a former educator, I’ve been curious to uncover the learning in all of this.
As I see it, there’s a major flaw in our current hustle culture.
We’ve been counting on the wrong things.
Some of us counted on the consistent rise of the stock market.
Many moms had become laser focused on the particular activities their children were enrolled in. And they took on their kid’s grades as part of their own personal to-do list.
Business owners were tempted to focus only on the number of clients on the roster and the amount of contracts in the books.
However, if this virus has taught us anything, it’s that we never really had control over those things.
Leaning in and clinging harder
won’t control our external environment.
We ARE in control of our internal environment.
And we can free ourselves from burnout
When we lean in to our beliefs and
Cling to our personal boundaries.
If you’d like to feel a sense of contentment in good times and in bad, then here are 4 steps to prevent (or heal) burnout and honor your personal boundaries, even in uncertain times.
1. SCHEDULE QUIET REFLECTION: Consider many of the most successful and fulfilled people you know. The one thing they most likely have in common, is that they intentionally set aside time to sit in quiet reflection. High achievers know that growth doesn’t happen on the run. We grow only when we pause to reflect on our past, envision our future and plan to take action in the present.
What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.
So, if preventing burnout during challenging times is important to you, you must schedule quiet time for reflection. Here are some concrete examples of how that might look.
- Create rituals around reflection. Schedule 10 minutes in the morning, before your day begins, to decide how you want to experience the day ahead. And then, later in the day, take 10 minutes before your head hits the pillow, to reflect and assess.
- Build in margins between meetings, rather than scheduling them back to back. Use these 10-15 minutes to reflect on what came up in the prior meeting, and use that information as a basis for decisions in upcoming meetings.
2. CHECK IN: To recognize your unique personal boundaries, ask yourself these key questions. They’ll help you discern between what society values and what exemplifies YOUR values.
- Where has the pressure been lifted in these past two months?
- What are you secretly thankful NOT to have to do, since SIP?
- When do you feel most at ease and content?
Your answers are clues to what beliefs are important to you and your family. Use them to set the right boundaries for you.
3. TRY ON SOMETHING NEW: With everything temporarily halted, there’s little social pressure to keep on keeping on. We’re all being given a bit more grace. And since no one’s expecting perfection, why not try out a new habit or routine?
- What would you like to try that, up until now, has been elusive? (meditation, yoga, personal development, establishing a healthy sleep routine)
- Are there new family rituals or rules you’ve been wanting to institute? (kids fold and put away their own laundry, each family member plans and makes one meal per week, kids independently get themselves up and ready each day)
- What practices align with your family’s values and beliefs? (getting out in nature, nightly read alouds, online family game night with extended family, regular worship services, one on one time with each child)
4. DECIDE WHAT TO BRING FORWARD: Don’t cave to the pressure and rush back to normal. Take the time you need, use your beliefs as your compass, and choose what you’re bringing into your post pandemic life.
We feel burned out when our calendars control our lives. Once you decide to control your calendar, a sense of balance will return as your daily actions reflect your values.
Maybe you’ve dreamed of…
- More connection with and presence for those you love
- A simpler cadence to your day
- A healthy respect for rest
What will you choose to bring forward
and what will you leave behind?
COVID 19 has been a masterclass in life.
During the Grand Upheaval, we’ve endured a lot. And it would be an opportunity lost if we didn’t learn from what we’ve gone through.
If you know you want apply what you’ve learned during this extraordinary time, and you’re looking for an effective system that encourages a daily rhythm of reflection and action, you need to check out the Living Fully Balanced Life Planner.
This planner was designed to encourage high achievers to plan for the future, reflect on the past, but most importantly, act on the present.
Balance is when our daily actions
Align with our core beliefs.
The Living Fully Balanced Life Planner will help you do that.
Before the end of the WWII, Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”
The pandemic has indeed been a global crisis. And yet, maybe we’re finally recognizing that
Learning to pause provides us with much more
than leaning in ever did.
LEARNING TO PAUSE IS THE KEY.