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Burnout - Issue 213
August 19, 2011
|Hi there! ....
This week: As far as our lessons go this week we’ve had many ‘interruptions’ and yet it has been a fabulous week. Monday was a little different because I had some major projects I needed to work on in the office, Tuesday we went into the Court House and saw what happens in there, Wednesday we went to a Book Week session at the library. We met an author/illustrator – her presentation was one of the best talks we’ve heard given by an author. Thursday Daniel had a little extra to do with mowing around the mango trees, Friday the kids had to do some weeding down in the Sandalwood block, plus we are on morning tea roster at Mainly Music and church this week so that meant extra baking. All good things to happen. It is easy to say that ‘school’ didn’t happen this week, but the kids learnt heaps – they were just out and about while learning! Do you recongise these activities as prime learning opportunities or do you see them as interruptions? If you see them as interruptions, they will put pressure on you but if you see them as learning, your days will be light and enjoyable.
Live life with your kids!
If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.
Burnout - Avoid it!
Burnout – it is the feeling of being exhausted, unmotivated and even disinterested with the very things that previously energised, enthused and excited. Burnout is real and it something that we need to be aware of so we can avoid it or recover from it.
I heard a story that gave me an insight to this concern. The story goes like this: There was a farmer who rode into town and his dog decided to follow him. Once the farmer arrived, he hitched his horse and wagon up in front of the general store. He looked behind him and there was his dog puffing and panting into town. The store owner gave the farmer a hard time - how could you let your dog get so exhausted just by coming into town. The farmer looked at the dog, and then at the store owner and said - it is not running to town that made that dog tired but all the zig zagging it made on the way. Every gate and every hole that dog had to investigate. This reminds me of us mums - we zig zag here and there - and we also get exhausted, just like this dog in the story. It isn't the doing that is tiring - it is the zig zagging along the way. So let’s take that thought as our motivation and consider what are our zigzags? What are those little investigations on the side that aren't really necessary?
These little zig zags have two effects on us
The dog in this story – his main thing, should have been getting into town. But instead he got distracted to the left and to the right. What are the distractions for us? I’m not even going to list possibilities, because what is one mum’s distraction will be another mum’s main thing. You have to be honest with yourself here. What distracts you? What takes up your time, emotions and energy, and yet you know it isn’t productive time? What intrigues you and pulls you away from your plans for the day?
Maybe you don’t even know your main thing – for this I will make some suggestions.
There are things in our life that are ‘main things’ beyond these three relationships. Can you identify them? If you are honest – are there too many main things in your life? If everything is a priority then really there are no priorities. It reminds me of the saying Keep it simple sweetheart.
Letting go of these distractions or lesser priorities is a hard thing to do. And yet, for the sake of our health and the health of relationships it is something we need to consider.
Richard Swenson in his book, Margin*, says, that being a doctor one of the most common complaints his patients suffer would be fixed not by taking medication but by them reducing the activity in their life, by giving themselves some “margin”. Margin is the space to breath, the space to live life, the space to enjoy what is truly important. And yet we tend to clutter up every moment of our days, and wonder why we hurt so much. Margin is not about being lazy and irresponsible it is about looking after ourselves while we focus on what is important.
As a mum, if you are feeling the effects of burnout – if you are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, unfocused etc then can I suggest a time where you trim down everything and focus only on the main thing. When I go through times like this I trim down everything and give myself time to recover physically, stimulate myself mentally, refresh myself spiritually. How can you do this as a mum with kids around you? Here is my short list
So the key things to remember are:
Will we be like the dog – zig zagging here and there –being involved in everything, and finding everything incredibly interesting and fascinating. We will arrive at our destination, but we will be exhausted. Or will we be like the man on the horse – he just kept on going straight down the road knowing that his goal was to get to town. He knew the distractions were there (he saw what the dog saw but he made a different choice). He kept his eyes forward as he travelled down the road. Where are our eyes? On the goal or on the distractions?
*Margin by Richard A. Swenson, MD – I highly recommend this book.
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