Burnout: A Chance for Growth

I love to push myself and I love a good challenge. I often find myself wanting to do a lot of new things all at once. It may come as a surprise though that I am not actually a very competitive person. My drive comes from wanting to learn and know more. It also comes from my desire to help others. Honestly, both of those are the main reasons I wanted to start this blog. I am not a very tech savvy person to begin with but I wanted to learn. I also believe that my experiences and stories may resonate with others and help them along their journeys as well. Another motivation factor was reading articles spouting statistics about how most new blogs “fail” within the first year. Challenge accepted.

I have had this type of approach for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it is totally fine, I just love to learn! However, sometimes this drive pushes me too far, too fast. I am talking about burnout. This also goes hand in hand with my giver personality. When I am paired with a taker I give and give and give until I go past the point of no return.

Sparks Fly: Burnout, its real and overwhelming my friends.

In some cases in my life, burnout has been the only thing that has stopped me. There is nothing like the brick wall that burnout builds for you to run into to bring you to a screeching halt! Every time it has happened, I was given the precious opportunity to take a good look at my life and decide if what I was doing was right for me.

Ways to Grow after a Burnout:

As a side note these are all also ways to prevent burnout in the first place but sometimes it is hard to evaluate when you are already running at full speed. No judgement here.

Set Boundaries Use the knowledge you gain from your burnout to set boundaries in your life. Look back and think about what limits could have prevented this from happening and then put them into action in your life. Some examples include not working past 6pm on a weekday or not working on weekends. Have clear cut rules for saying “yes” or “no” when a new opportunity comes your way.

Maintain Space When I am fed up and done I throw EVERYTHING aside. Now is the perfect time to really make sure that you only let back in the things that YOU truly care about. Often the things on our plates that do not need to be there were placed there by someone else or our fear of someone else. Schedule time for yourself first and do not give that space away.

Create Self Care Habits The space that opens up after a burnout is great for putting into place new, beneficial habits. Great options include exercise, journaling, or reading. This can even be meal prep for the week so you do not find yourself wasting money eating out or eating unhealthy. This may be out of the norm for you and it is okay to feel like this is selfish, at first, but trust me you need to take care of you first.

Watch Out! Red Flags When you start to notice that you are giving in “just this once” on a firm boundary that you have set or your calendar is filling up but you aren’t feeling fulfilled or your daily/weekly self-care habits have slowly faded out of the picture, STOP. These are huge red flags that you are once again on the fast track to burnout. Give yourself permission to reconsider everything that you have taken on and if it needs to be there. If it doesn’t, LET IT GO!

If you have experienced burnout in your life, know that you are not alone. Do not take this time to be hard on yourself, I promise you are NOT a failure. Instead, take this time to grow and discover. This is the universe’s way of getting you to stop and put you back on track. We are all here and fabulously unique for a reason!

How have you personally grown after a burnout? Please share your experiences and tips with us below!

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Mindful Creations: My Adventures into the World of Art

I stopped creating years ago because of fear. It’s funny to look back now. I never fancied myself as an artist. Despite the fact that my “work” was chosen to adorn the ceiling of the elementary art room and my artwork was chosen as the cover for our 6th grade yearbook. There were much, much better artists than me who, in my eyes, deserved the honor I received. In fact some were angry when I was chosen because I was not an artist. When you are told repeatedly that you are NOT something, you unfortunately start to believe it. As I advanced in my studies I was not “artsy” so I never pursued anything along that path.

Elementary Art: A portrait of my cat, Stripe.

I am slowly coming to terms with my love and passion for creation. That drive has helped create this blog. Some of my “creations” come in the form of my themes while teaching my yoga classes. More recently it has also stemmed into creating mindful pieces that go along with my practice and my life. A friend taught me how to make malas, and I was drawn in hook, line, and sinker. The act of making them brings me so much joy. Choosing the colors and the gemstones is so intimate. Beyond that, knowing that this is going to help someone in their spiritual and emotional journey, makes my entire heart smile.

Some of my creations have been born out of necessity. I have been making what I lovingly refer to as Jar Hugs, which are basically Mason jar sleeves. I love simple crotchet endeavors and I love drinking out of Mason jars. However, I tend to break glass and Mason jars are not inherently very insulating. Combining these two things together resulted in my creation of Jar Hugs, keeping my beverages not only safe but also cozy.

Other creations have resulted from my sheer curiosity. I volunteered to teach a kids yoga summer camp this past summer. In my research it was apparent that our children are in ever increasing stressful environments and that having ways to find calm would be beyond beneficial. Insert glitter calm jars here. Simple enough, an 80/20 mixture of water and clear Elmer’s glue, plus glitter of varying sizes, stir together. Each child in my class received a glitter Mason jar with a Jar Hug to keep them safe. They had to keep them at the studio for the week so that they could use them during our time together and at the end of camp could take them home. It was amazing to watch them! If any individual ever felt like they needed a break they would separate from the group on their own, pick up their glitter jar, give it a shake, and lay there while watching the glitter dance its way back to the bottom. I had a group ranging from age 5-12 and every single one loved their jars.

Mindful Creations: Candle, Jar Hug, Glitter Jar & Malas

I do struggle with this blog and with my creations of finding that fine line between creating something to please others and creating something to bring myself personal joy and fulfillment. Regardless, I am falling head over heels! Shoving fear aside and coming into my own!

Some questions to ask yourself that might help you tap into your awesome creative self:

What did you make or enjoy doing while growing up?

Did you write, take photographs, draw or color, tell stories, sing, or dance?

Was there ever anything you wanted to learn to do like throw pottery or make stained glass?

When and why did you stop? Do you want to start that again or try something new?

What do you love to create? How do you express yourself?

Maybe your art is writing or drawing or gardening or so many other possibilities! Follow your hearts my fellow wonderers!

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Stop the Music: A Lesson in Attachment

I am about to tell you something that may shock you! Occasionally in my yoga classes I purposefully choose NOT to play any music! GASP!

This practice may be normal for you but in the studios I have been to, I assure you it is not. The only venue where a lack of music may be normal has been the large outdoor yoga classes in my area. Some classes are even entirely themed based on a particular genre of music. For example I have seen several places featuring Hip Hop Yoga.

Please do not misunderstand me here, I love music and I love having music be an option in not only my classes but also my personal practice. What I am suggesting here is that you take a step back for a moment and think about how attached you are to the music that is playing during your practice. For this reason every so often I leave out music for the entire class. We take our awareness to the loudest sound in the room, the quietest sound in the room, and all of the different kinds of sounds happening around us.

The first time I noticed this attachment was ironically not during yoga at all. Over two years ago the radio started going in and out in my car. Sometimes it would work and other times it wouldn’t. It was like all of the buttons, the CD player, and the radio itself were slowly giving up. After a few months of lucky days and super frustrating days, it finally completely stopped. There I was in silence. It was so strange not to have something on while driving. At first it drove me insane so I would set my iPod in my lap and listen to music while I drove. But after a while I began to love the silence. It gave me time and space to think without distractions. I did not even notice how big of an impact this was making in my life until one day I had to borrow my husband’s car and I had a radio again. I craved so much fast food that day it was insane. I had no idea how much marketing was being thrown at me in between my joyful sing-alongs! Now I go between listening to audiobooks on my phone while I drive or cruising in silence. I do not want a new car radio and I am grateful for this event happening in my life to change my perspective.

I know that for some, this is a very touchy subject. Again, I am not saying to live a life without music! As a yoga teacher I frequently receive comments about my music selection for class. Often they are people praising my selection and asking what the artists or songs were. Being perfectly honest, it does feel good when people enjoy the music I have selected, I guess that is some of my own attachment peeking out! Every so often however, someone will say that they did not enjoy the music I had chosen for class. They wish it was more peaceful or more upbeat or more “yoga” or had words, etc. As part of the eight limbs of yoga we come across Aparigrapha, which can be translated as non-attachment. This word can also mean non-greed and non-possessiveness. I find it funny that despite my practice, it took an electronic glitch for this to come to my awareness. Maybe this example does not necessarily resonate with you, but I do hope it ignites a curiosity about what in your life is holding you back with unnecessary attachment.

I am fairly certain this adorable little critter is grateful for “attachment” while hanging on my door.

Here are a few things that I am currently working towards letting go of my attachment towards:

  1. The Outcome. How often do we find ourselves doing something just so that we are able to get something in return? Or we do something expecting the end result to happen a specific way and then are upset when it doesn’t work out? It can be a big challenge to do something simply for the act of doing it. It is easy to forget about actually doing the action itself and not being present in the moment because we are so worried about the future outcome.
  2. Physical Belongings. This one becomes blazingly apparent when it comes to downsizing or when our favorite ____ ends up ruined. It can be very hard to get rid of things. What if we need them one day? But I spent so much money on that! My favorite ____ is irreplaceable! Does any of that matter? Are you being held back by your stuff? Is the item itself what you truly care about or is there something larger at play like a memory or a cause you care about that the item represents?
  3. Other People. How often do we attach our emotions and well-being to other people? How they act, react, and treat us has the potential to have serious implications in our lives. This is much easier said than done, but we cannot control how another person acts towards us. What we can control is our actions, how we react, and how we let it affect us.
Another tiny friend, also struggling with “attachment” issues.

What have you found in your life to be a problematic attachment and how have you found ways to let go? How do you balance the line between enjoyment and attachment?

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My Life-Changing Discovery: I am an Infinite Wonderer

My whole life there has always been this expectation to choose something, become an expert, and have that be your lifelong career. Despite the changing views on this topic, this still seems to be the mainstream sentiment. It is far more likely now than ever before to be let go from one or more jobs throughout your career. Sure you can move to a position elsewhere doing the same tasks, but do you want to?

Career advice I have been given on several occasions was never to be a “jack of all trades and master of none.” I feel that this sentiment is bad advice. I also think it’s a little bit wrong. I am a jack of many trades and master of some. We all know about the standard life path, pick a career and keep it, but how many of us are still in the dark about all of the other possibilities?

A wonderful friend introduced me to this new to me concept after I had been let go from my “career” job. You know the one I went to school for and was destined to work in forever, yes that one. My whole world changed. What exactly was this new and exciting thing? Well it goes by many names: Renaissance Soul, Polymath, Multipotentialite, or as I like to say Infinite Wonderer. I had never heard of any of these things before so of course I started reading and learning about this idea. It made so many things in my life make so much more sense! Why was I not told about this sooner!?!

There is definitely a range of people when it comes to this scale. Every single one is important and invaluable wherever they find themselves on this spectrum. On one end are those who like to delve entirely into a subject and never come up for air. They are irreplaceable experts who know so very much about something extremely specific. On the other end of the spectrum are people like me, who will forever be Infinite Wonderers.

I love to learn for learnings sake. I get excited about new things all of the time. I love the challenge and the steep learning curve that comes along with this path. I am interested in a lot of different things and I want to do all of them. This is both a blessing and a struggle. What do you want to do and what makes you happy are simple questions that become complicated rather quickly. I want to learn how to garden and become a beekeeper as well as learn about wild edibles and living off the land. I also love learning about personal finance and delving ever deeper into understanding yoga. Starting this blog was part of my wondering soul. I also still feel a connection to my “career” of chemistry. I was driven to it because of the challenge it brought and how fascinating it made the world become.

If any of this sounds familiar, know you are not alone. If this sounds nothing like you, know that there are a lot of us out there. Building an understanding of this spectrum is not to point out differences, but to gain respect and understanding of one another. Let’s stop trying to put square pegs in round holes. Why not fit people to their roles? Know and use their strengths. We need experts as well as people who know a decent amount about several things so that we can all engage with one another.

Beautiful Tree Flowers
Finding perspective can make a huge difference in your life.

Recently, I have found that these four questions have helped me find a lot of perspective and clarity in my multipotentialite life:

What was I able to accomplish in the past year (or two or three, whatever time frame you desire)? When I think about moving forward sometimes I have this paralyzing fear that there is not enough time. I have so many things that I want to do that it can be really difficult to figure out which way to go and instead of going anywhere at all I just stop. What I have found recently is that when I look back I am always amazed at what I was able to accomplish. I know that a year from now I will look back with that same admiration. There is no reason to live in fear. Just do something! Anything is more productive than being a couch potato!

What season is it? This question helps me direct which activities that I personally prefer to do in the spring vs summer vs fall vs winter. For example the spring, summer, and fall are more ideal for me to invest heavily in gardening endeavors than in the winter. I guess I could probably build a greenhouse but for right now this opens up my winter for other activities. In the winter my desires change to those that are more snuggly and indoor in nature. Like reading or crafting. Take a good look at all of the paths that you currently want to take, is there a more ideal time of year to do them? If so set that goal aside for a bit and focus on something else for now. This question does not have to be limited to literal seasons, you can look at it as stages in your life. Setting aside one of your desires is not the end for it, you are just focusing efforts elsewhere for a bit.

What do I NOT want to do? Luckily there happen to be a lot of things that I do not want to learn or do, at least for now! This helps me put my projects in perspective. Using this lens, I have found that there are commonalities to the things that I want to do. Yoga and mindfulness are not that different from taking charge of your personal finance in my opinion. Knowing where your money is going and if what you are doing with it lines up with your values is a very mindful action. Loving healthy food is not disconnected from gardening. I grow the things I want to eat!

What skills do I want to learn the most right now? This question really makes me take a critical look at all of the jobs and hobbies on my plate. This helps me try to figure out if I am benefiting from them or if I have outgrown them and need to move on. I am not trying to say that you should not do something because of sheer enjoyment but when there are a lot of possibilities bouncing around this can help you find more focus.

I want you to know that wherever you find yourself on the spectrum I am here to be part of your Infinitely Wonder Full journey. Part of the revolution to truly understanding and appreciating one another will come through knowledge. What questions have you found helpful to find a new perspective in your life?

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