Feeling Exhausted? Burned Out?
Feeling Exhausted? Burned Out?
This past Sunday I got up early, had my coffee and finished putting some clothes in my bag that was already at the door ready to go. I hopped in my car and drove 90 minutes north of LA to Ojai – one of my all time favorite places to be because of the majestic mountains that surround the town and the lush landscape – to my dear friends’ house. But really I’d been looking forward to this particular Sunday for weeks to attend a class to learn more about my new hobby. A triple win! A great class, in Ojai, where I could also stay with friends.
I drove up on the freeway in the grey June gloom of the low hanging marine layer of clouds we in LA know so well, and turned off on Route 33 that leads to the heavenly valley of Ojai. Suddenly the clouds of the marine layer parted and the California sun was shining once again. I turned up the music and put the windows down.
Too Much Life?
Kids and their activities, demanding work, the house, the spouse, the maintenance of life…It never seems to end. We may love it all (or most of it) and we can be dragged down by it. Being a mother is central to who I am and creating a loving, nurturing home for my family and friends has been at the heart of my being. However, I, like most of the women and men I work with, need a way to flex new muscles of creativity and connection.
I’ve realized over the past few years, though, just how vital a diverse life of mind, body and heart expanding activities are. Always hungry to learn new things, conferences and classes have always been in my calendar, but the actual doing or making of something, creatively, has become more central to my sense of well-being.
Many of my clients are high achieving men and women who are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the demands of their work and home life; it may appear the solution is to trim certain things out of their lives, but in fact there’s a necessary shift of focus. Rejuvenating activities, or non-activities need to be introduced to heal these weary beings! Then with some well chosen intentions and right actions, the way is cleared for new choices and opportunities to appear. Right, you say, sure. Tell that to my wife, husband, boss, kids. Not only do I know this is possible, I have seen it happen again and again.
Elements of a Life Giving Life
Exercise. Clean eating. Laughter. Purpose. Creativity. Connection. Sleep. Security. All of these aspects of life are essential to a healthy body and mind. A rich life. How are you doing on all of these fronts? Really? I thought about this as I worked alongside the others in the class I attended on Sunday. Some of the women had 10 or 13 year olds, some had grand kids, all were looking to stretch their skills. All of us were delighted to make something we could easily just buy: a dress. For 5 hours we worked on our project and finally, with real joy, modeled our new creation. The dresses were perfect, and our sense of accomplishment and energy? Soaring.
A Dopamine High
This kind of novelty, connection, achievement is good for all of us – it boosts the brain’s organic chemical, dopamine, essential to feeling good. Maybe for you it’s not sewing but welding, or birding or wood crafting or photography. Human beings are living organisms that grow and change and slough off old cells. We need this renewal.
My challenge to you
Make a commitment to yourself to replace those cells with something fresh and energizing that will challenge and delight you. Choose something that will renew you to you, and in your life with others. Do it with your spouse or a friend if stepping out alone is too daunting. But do it. Don’t let your energy drip away. Use it well. This is your life.