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Reframing Burnout


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First I want to say that Mark your recent comments are on the cutting edge of where I am at:

“The other path is to work on acceptance. Which is to say - not taking the feeling personally. Sometimes you're just going to get your buttons pushed and you will feel crappy. And when you feel crappy your brain - which tries to make sense out of things - will try to find a "reason" for why you feel that way, and you will find it easy to believe that the reason you feel bad is because you are bad. But this is just after the fact rationalization that your brain is engaging in. Your brain is not you. You can learn how to get better at stepping back from the feelings and watching them rather than simply being defined by them and embedded inside them. The method for learning how to do this is - more or less - various forms of meditation. If you can separate yourself from your feeling just a little bit it becomes much easier to tolerate the feeling, and it passes quicker too because you struggle against it less.”

My therapist taught me how I can use my very active imagination to help me unblend from overidentification with some of my feelings. Meditation helps too. It is a continual process, though, sort of like having to wash dishes all the time. The work is never “over.” And sometimes I run into trouble and definitely need help, having tried but am unable to do it myself.

Here is one that has me stuck. Others might relate to this too: Nothing I do, all the effort I pour out every day in my job (making me exhausted every night), is ever enough. I will study to do things smarter. There is always more that I don’t know. I will buy or make stuff to help. There is always more out there I could be obtaining or making.

I will do relaxing things sometimes to get my energy back only to leap up and go exhaust myself anew! I really am struggling with this. It is so much a part of who I think I am that I’ve had no luck taking a step back in any way that lasts.

I work in the schools, but anyone in a helping role at home or in a job might relate. I want to feel the job I am doing is “good enough,” that I can leave it when I leave, and that I can actually have time for a personal life, and that I am “good enough” at that too. Whew!

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It's a kind of perfectionism, I think. You're certainly not alone in never feeling like you've done enough, or that your work is good enough.

What are the consequences of not being good enough? What is feared will happen? How would you recognize when something was good enough? Are there even standards you've got nicely defined in you head or is it just that you couldn't possibly meet any standard that was worth meeting?

It's hard to address this sort of thing in the abstract, so maybe if you can provide a few details we can help you take it apart better.

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  • 4 months later...

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