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Recovering from Burnout — 18 Tips for Restoring Balance

Burnout syndrome endangers many people who work in high-pressure jobs. Learn to recognize its symptoms and how you can start recovering from burnout today.“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz

The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with you, except for a little high blood pressure and fatigue. But you know there’s something seriously off. You’re not yourself. You drag yourself out of bed. As you walk around the house, you mutter “I’m just so tired,” but you can’t figure out why. Could it be you’re suffering from burnout?

Are you uncharacteristically short-tempered? Has your positive attitude been replaced with critical comments? Do you exercise less? Drink more? Have you lost touch with friends?  What should take minutes now takes hours. Sounds more and more like burnout!

No, it’s not all in your head. Less than a week ago, the World Health Organization posted their 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases, listing burnout as an occupational phenomenon. They state that:

“Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.”

Burnout syndrome contributes to heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and premature aging. This is not something you want to ignore and hope goes away!

Some professions, (e.g. medical, legal, teaching, social work, entrepreneurship), are more prone to causing burnout, because they demand all you have to give and then more! You could be fulfilling responsibilities that are clearly out of the bounds of your job description, without being compensated for them. You may be working in an unsupportive or toxic environment. Perhaps you’re asked to compromise personal values and beliefs. On top of that, you may have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Did you notice WHO said burnout results from “stress that has not been successfully managed”? That should give you hope, because you can learn to manage stress and start recovering from burnout, with a few adjustments to your life. Right now, you may feel like you can’t do one more thing! But, please, take steps to get your life back in balance.

How do you start the process of recovering from burnout? It all begins with a practice of mindfulness to check in with yourself throughout the day. Here are some other suggestions:

  1. Learn stress management skills. Yoga, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation techniques, reconnecting with nature, and utilizing the power of gratitude are all helpful.
  2. Tune into body sensations. Focus on your body’s response to movement. For example, stretching releases tightness and tension.
  3. Talk to someone. Find a good listener who isn’t going to try to “fix” you or judge you.
  4. Rekindle friendships. Phone someone and schedule a lunch date, or better yet, go for a walk with your friend and get some exercise, too.
  5. Limit contact with negative people. Your may have to work with them, but you don’t have to eat lunch or hang out after work with them.
  6. Learn to speak Positivity.
  7. Reframe the way you view work. Focus on how you help others.
  8. Set boundaries that support your valuesLearn to say “no!” and rediscover your happy place.
  9. Develop curiosity about emotional distress. Think of it as a learning tool.
  10. Take time off and get away. Ovid wisely said ~ “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
  11. Stop the tech addiction. The world isn’t going to end because you completely disconnect from your devices at the end of each day!
  12. Feed your creative side and find a hobby.
  13. Get restorative sleep
  14. Make exercise a priority. Aim to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes/day. Mix it up with activities you like.
  15. Eat healthfully. Just cut out one harmful item and add one healthful item at a time. It makes a difference.
  16. Avoid narcotics, nicotine and alcohol. Stimulants and depressants alter your brain chemistry. The temporary euphoria isn’t worth the negative effects.
  17. Find a better job. It took courage, but I have never regretted shifting my practice to coaching women!
  18. Work smarter. Hone your time management and organizational skills.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie reminds us, “Say NO to the demands of the world. Say YES to the longings of your own heart.”  Are you ready to make that shift? Does recovering from burnout feel too overwhelming — you don’t know where to start? I’d love to help you create a plan that gets you to where you want to be. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Set Mindful Intentions. Add Sustainable Actions. Create Lasting Change.

You can learn how to turn mindful intentions and sustainable actions into your Recipe for Lasting Change, as you answer these six very important questions.“Integrity is when your good intentions meet your actions — on a consistent basis.” ~ Amy Chan

Have you caught yourself saying, “I intended to __, but I just didn’t get around to it”?  We’ve all done it. In the 60’s and 70’s there was even a wooden Round Tuit coin created to help us end procrastination. It didn’t work so well. I find that setting mindful intentions work much better. But that’s not the whole story.

To get to the bottom of the problem, it’s important to identify what stops our intentions from becoming reality. We all have the same amount of time, so we can’t really use “not having enough time” as an excuse. If you’re like most people, there are 5 basic things that get in our way:

  1. You lack clarity on what your intended results were meant to be.
  2. You had insufficient planning or no planning at all.
  3. You lacked knowledge or skills.
  4. You became sidetracked or distracted, with too much information.
  5. You gave up because an obstacle arose and you didn’t seek an alternative method for achieving your intention.

Do any of those reasons describe what you go through? I’ve discovered that my practice of mindfulness reinforces my ability to set intentions and follow through with the action required to create a lasting transformation in my life. But this skill didn’t come to me overnight. I’ve been practicing for a number of years. Now, however, each time I set mindful intentions, it’s a lot easier to make them become reality.

How can you set mindful intentions that overcome the five previously mentioned obstacles?

Don’t kid yourself that setting mindful intentions will magically create lasting change. That is only half of the process. Without follow up actions, your mindful intentions will not serve you. As a quote from E.F. Schumacher reminds us,

“Our intentions tend to be much more real to us than our actions, and this can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding with other people, to whom our actions tend to be much more real than our intentions.”

Let’s take a trick that great writers use…in any good story, writers answer the questions: Why, Who, What, Where, When, and How? (Yes, I rearranged the order of questions they normally ask. When you set mindful intentions, Your Why should always come first.) We can apply those same questions to our Mindful Intentions + Sustainable Actions Recipe for Success. Here’s how:

Find Your Why. Why are you here? What one thing energizes you, challenges you, and helps you live up to your full potential? When you clarify this, you blow the door to possibilities wide open!  

Find Your Who. There are some things you’re skilled to do; other things you can delegate to more experienced persons. Don’t be afraid to share your vision with others. The synergy you create together will be phenomenal!

Find Your What. Take baby steps to get you from point A to point Z. Perhaps it’s something you’re working on internally. Maybe it’s a skill you need to learn. Choose three important goals to work on and tell an accountability partner that you’re going to have them done by a certain day. By the end of a year, you’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish!

Find Your Where. Start from where you are right now. Don’t compare yourself to where anyone else is, because we are all at different stages of growth on our journey through life. You are enough!

Find Your When. Waiting for a better time or for everything to fall into place is a mistake. Your time is NOW, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article! Keep asking yourself, “What one thing can I do right now that will inch me closer to my desired results?

Find Your How. Get very specific with outlining your tactics — what step to be accomplished by what date. Track your progress in even small things, because it’s so easy to forget what you have accomplished. Take inventory of all of your resources — monetary, emotional, physical, and spiritual — and spend them wisely on things that really matter. You can do this!

Now I’m going to throw in an extra point that ties together the preceding ones.

Find Your Zone of Genius. When the above items are aligned, the struggle will end. Instead you’ll greet each day with excitement and anticipation. Each day will be a celebration of who you are. You’ll fall in love with life all over again. That is the reward for matching mindful intentions with sustainable actions. It’s magic!

If you’re still searching for your zone of genius, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you achieve the life you deserve to live.

In a Mental Slump? 11 Ways to Boost Your Energy Naturally

Don't rely on energy drinks! Learn to boost your energy naturally.“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” ~ Aristotle

How much would you pay to stay energized all day? According to one analyst, people are spending BILLIONS of dollars! “In 2017, the energy drink/shot market was $13.4 billion. The forecast through 2022, is that the market will reach about $16.9 billion.” Unbelievable! This quick fix isn’t sustainable. I recommend you learn to boost your energy naturally. You’ll go further faster.

Mental energy depends on how well you care for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health, as a whole. If you want to boost your energy naturally, it’s important to address all aspects of your life. This somatic approach requires a greater awareness of self. I’d like to share some simple, but meaningful, ways to start assessing your progress towards boosting your energy naturally.

Boost Your Energy Naturally – Body

1. Get restorative sleep. You might be used to existing on five hours of sleep, but it’s going to catch up with you, because the body and brain needs seven to eight hours of all the sleep cycles to clean and restore themselves. Tune into your body and support it with the rest it needs.

2. Eat a healthful breakfast. Mindfully listen to YOUR body and see what energizes YOU. Some people love oatmeal; others feel energized after a fruit-filled, green smoothie. If you’re eating the wrong kind of food for YOUR body, it will set you up for major mental slump! Start the day with healthful food and you’ll more likely make healthy food choices throughout the day.

3. Keep moving. Being sedentary is a real problem today. It’s important to be mindful about how your body is reacting. Do you feel yourself slouching? Then it’s time to straighten up and stretch. Daily practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques helps stretch your body and increase your awareness. Are muscles getting tense? Time for some breathing exercises and a short walk. Getting more oxygen boosts your energy. Doctors recommend, at a minimum, 30 minutes of exercise daily, 5 days a week.

4. Stay hydrated. Feelings of hunger and tiredness are often symptoms of dehydration. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, take a long drink of water. Sugary, caffeinated sodas and energy drinks do more harm than good. You’ll gain some health benefits from a moderate consumption of tea or coffee. Just remember that drinking caffeine six hours before bedtime may compromise the quality of your sleep.

5. Keep power snacks handy. Fruit and a handful of nuts are great energy boosters when you feel the afternoon slump coming on.

 

Boost Your Energy Naturally – Mind and Spirit

6. Feed your passion. I am passionate about doing Cross Fit and also helping my clients in my life coaching practice, so daily I find ways to engage in activities that support me. For example — because I want to improve at Cross Fit, I eat healthy foods; junk food or alcohol just don’t tempt me anymore. And because I want to give the best to my clients, I go on retreats that refresh me. Staying engaged and excited about life is paramount to feeling energized and inspired.

7. Clear out mind clutter. Drama wears a person out! Being focused keeps you from overthinking or worrying unnecessarily. When you simplify your life and remove unnecessary events, you’ll naturally boost your energy.

 

Boost Your Energy Naturally – Emotions

8. Remove energy zappers. Manage your mental energy like managing a bank account. Know what drains your energy and mindfully avoid them — be it a self-doubting thought, an unsupportive action, an unhealthy relationship, or the clutter on your desk. Choose to spend time on things that boosts your energy, like gratitude and positivity.

9. Vitalize your relationships. We need to receive and give energy to each other. Remember that there’s a lot of power in laughter. Let’s borrow AT&T’s slogan and “reach out and touch someone” emotionally and physically as often as you can each day.

10. Connect with the earth. Almost everyone has room for a small garden pot. There’s something energizing about seeing life sprout from a tiny seed. Try growing your favorite veggie or herb and feel the energy it’s drawn from the soil, as you eat it.

11. Reconnect with the sun. Sunlight is very healing. Just take precautions for your skin type, then get outside and soak up some Vitamin D!

None of these suggestions are hard. In fact, they’re all enjoyable! Concentrate on changing one tiny habit at a time. What do you do to boost your energy naturally? I’d love to hear your suggestions on my Facebook page. And if you’d like an accountability partner, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

7 Ways to Model Purpose Driven Leadership in All Aspects of Life

Purpose driven leadership reaches all aspects of life – marriage, family, friends, business, communities, and your own health and fitness, as you serve others.“Why did you get out of bed this morning, and why should anyone care?” ~ Simon Sinek

Who were you born to be? What puts fire in your belly? If you’re not certain, it’s time to clarify your purpose in life. As a child, you might have dreamed of being a singer or an astronaut. Purpose driven leadership wasn’t even on your radar. Teachers or parents might have even urged you, “You need to figure out what you’re going to do with your life!”

But before you can “do” anything meaningful, it’s important to learn who you really are, at the core of your being. When you connect who you are with what you do, you’ll be happy, fulfilled, and ultra productive, because you’ll have discovered your purpose. At that point, it will be easier to model purpose driven leadership. As Leonardo da Vinci wisely advised, “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.”  

Purpose is the natural flow of your gifts as you serve others. You may at times, ignore or hinder your purpose, but it’s always there, waiting to be expressed. Fully formed purpose driven leadership reaches all aspects of life – marriage, family, friends, business, teams, communities, and your own health and fitness. It’s being committed to use your talents, skills and passions for the greatest benefit. It releases positive energy and frees you and others to explore a world of possibilities. One thing to be mindful of: if you or others feel drained or limited by your leadership, what you may be expressing is obsession, rather than purpose.  

Here are seven ways you can model purpose-driven leadership in your life:

  1. Avoid distractions. As a multi-faceted human, you may be pulled in many different directions because of the diversity of your interests. It’s imperative to pause and reflect whether there is congruency with your core purpose. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with narrowing your focus and truly mastering one of your many talents. In fact, you’ll accomplish much more in the long run. 
  1. Align actions with purpose. It’s easy to be swayed by the opinion of others or the current trend. Personal development programs are helpful guides, if they allow for your unique individuality. It is a disservice to yourself and others, if you force yourself to be like everyone else. Yes, there are cultural and family norms to consider; however do so with the goal of discovering how the real you can support something bigger.
  1. Be flexible. Be mindful that your core purpose emerges over time. At different stages of your life, your purpose will evolve and deepen. Being wedded to an outcome will hinder your ability to course correct when necessary. If you sense there’s a deeper meaning lurking, mindfully slow down and listen.
  1. Connect with others on your core level. We all need to work with others to accomplish more than we can alone. Seek out those who have a similar purpose. Work at formulating a group purpose that connects with your individual purpose. People will respond to you as they see that you genuinely care and want to make a difference. You will inspire trust and confidence, as you lead others mindfully and thoughtfully. A tremendous synergy will be unleashed.
  1. Focus on service. The degree to which you live with purpose is in direct proportion to how much you serve others. Concentrate on providing value for others and you’ll feel more fulfilled.
  1. Strive for congruency. Are you purposeful in business but not at home, or vice versa? Being incongruent like this will drastically reduce your effectiveness. Strive to align all of your life with your higher purpose.
  1. Experience. Learn. Learn. Learn. When something happens that you don’t expect or welcome, focus on what you can learn from it. When you are living life on purpose, every life experience becomes your teacher and helps you discover additional meaning.

After experiencing one of the most horrendous events in human history, Viktor Frankl said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”  When we lack purpose, we become consumed with our immediate circumstances, which can overshadow our reason for living. Every time you make an excuse, place blame or get distracted, you make room for apathy and despair.

Purpose is an endless journey of exploration. We invite you to join us at our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. We’ll help you clearly define your purpose driven leadership path.

18 More Tiny Habits that Transform You into the Person You Want to Be

Here are18 more tiny habits you can use to transform yourself into the person you want to be. “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to wake up one morning and … POOF! … you’re thinner, smarter, richer, stronger, more successful? It sounds so good to take the easy way out, without having to work for it, without discomfort or struggle.  

The trouble is that, if that happened, you’d feel more discontent and less self-confidence. You’d have no self-esteem, because there would be no victories and no personal discoveries. There would be no need for creativity or determination. You’d be a very shallow version of yourself. As Ovid said, “Habits change into character.” Life would become meaningless, because it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important. It’s what you learn along the way that matters, not what you produce, when you’re done. Because we are never done, until we’re dead.

Transformation is a process. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Dramatic breakthroughs won’t change your life. Tiny habits will. To change your life, start now and start small!  

Earlier I shared some microhabits that can make a huge difference. Let’s expand the list. Here are some more tiny habits to practice daily:

1. Tiny intentions. Each morning ask yourself, “How can I make today better?” It’s such a waste to just “get through” a day. Each day is an opportunity to find joy and fulfillment.

2. Tiny acts of friendship toward your future self. Acting on what you want in the moment has led you to where you are now. Who do you want your future self to be? Strong and vibrant at the age of 70? Then commit to making choices for the benefit of that future self.

 3. Tiny blocks of time. Organize and do similar tasks together. Some examples – do all of your errands in one trip; chop up a week’s worth of vegetables and put them in baggies; have a set time for answering emails and returning phone calls. You build accountability and momentum that way.

4. Tiny pauses. Before you react to a strong emotion, enquire into your state, without judgment. What emotion are you feeling and where did it come from? Then determine what response will benefit you the most.

5. Tiny pit stops. Just as a racecar must stop during the race for gas and maintenance, you must make time to refuel with nutritious food and restorative sleep.

6. Tiny health choices. Take the stairs. Walk a little further. Drink one more glass of water. Eat one less unhealthy snack. These choices all add up to better health.

7. Tiny measurements. Track and measure your progress. You want better finances? Record every penny you spend. You want to lose weight? Record your exercise and food intake.

8. Tiny pushes. There will be times you don’t feel like doing something …do it anyway! Go a little bit beyond what’s expected. Dress a little nicer. Try a little harder.

9. Tiny connections. Reach out to one new positive influencer, in-person or online. Great relationships simply begin with “Hello”. Be open and see where it takes you.

10. Tiny deletes. Avoid people who drain you and don’t support you. Clear out the clutter in your home or office, one piece at a time.

 11.Tiny check-ins. Make a practice of mindfully observing your patterns. Why are you procrastinating? What led to that unhealthy behavior? What inspires confidence?

12.Tiny self-assertions. If you have difficulty standing up for yourself, start mindfully saying “no” more often. Preserve your time and energy for the things that really matter.

13. Tiny communication adjustments. Notice when people misunderstand you. Are you speaking consistently and clearly? Are you being silent, when you need to speak up? Notice and make a correction.

14. Tiny doses of inspiration. Instead of mindless screen time, read uplifting books before bedtime. Read about people you admire and what they’ve overcome to get where they are today. You’ll wake up with renewed inspiration.

15. Tiny motivations. There is power in thinking about a motivational quote each day. I share inspiring quotes on Facebook and Instagram, because they put me in a better state of mind.

16. Tiny attitude shifts. Remind yourself, “I am responsible for me and my life. No one makes me feel this way; it’s how I’m choosing to react. Life isn’t fair, but I can make mine better. If I don’t like it, I can change it.”

17. Tiny praises. Be your own cheerleader. Waiting for praise from someone is a recipe for disaster. If they don’t notice, you’ll be crushed. Celebrate each win.

18. Tiny pivots. Sometimes your path isn’t getting you to where you want to be. Be willing to course correct so you stay aligned with your big “Why”.  When you have a powerfully, motivating reason, you can do almost anything.

Are you feeling overwhelmed – not knowing what to do first or what will make the biggest impact? If you’d like our help to define your most meaningful plan of action, join our Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. It is going to be transformational!

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