Because of the nature of our work, psychologists observe a lot of sad moments in human life, but some of the saddest moments I have witnessed in my career have been watching bright lights grow dimmer and dimmer until they eventually burn out. I'm referring to high octane women who once sparkled, loved their lives, pursued their passions, and in doing so changed lives only to fall victim to the stress and fatigue that all too often come along with giving so much of oneself.
Burnout is a cunning thief that robs the world of its best and its brightest by feeding on their energy, enthusiasm, and passion, transforming these positive qualities into exhaustion, frustration, and disillusionment. But the good news is that burnout is not a terminal condition. Although it certainly requires a change in lifestyle, once burnout is recognized and attended to, it can become a positive force in your life, a chance to rediscover yourself and shine brightly once again.
If you've become a victim of burnout, here are a few steps you can take to reignite your flame and shine brightly once more.
Finally, a word of general advice--rediscover your passion. Every high-achieving woman I have ever known had one thing in common--a passion. If you're like most victims of burnout, that passion has probably lost its meaning, leaving you feeling physically exhausted and emotionally depleted. But rediscovering it (or finding a new one) with a new self-awareness that it doesn't have to be all-consuming can be the spark you need to reignite your flame. This may mean you have to redefine your roles at work, home, or both. It may mean that you have to find a way to redistribute the load you're carrying. Or it may mean that you have to find a new passion, one that will offer more balance so you can enjoy life the way you once did.
These are all answers you must discover for yourself, but there is one thing I am sure of--if you tackle burnout as you've tackled all the other challenges in your life, you'll succeed. It's not in your nature to do anything else.
© 2011 Sherrie Bourg Carter, All Rights Reserved
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