I don’t know about you, but as a recovering-perfectionist it’s easy to find myself tempted to work until I burn out. Over the years, I have learned is burnout isn’t simply “just because we work too hard.” It can also be caused by us pouring from an empty cup and not addressing that our souls need a refresh because there are “more important things to do.” Burnout can be attributed to pacing ourselves well, but failing to make time for the things that fire us up that don’t “look productive” on paper. We can also find ourselves burnt out if we treat the life-giving activities that energize us as solely rewards for when we finish everything on our to do list or only if we complete our goals. If that “reward mindset” is present, we are making soulcare (aka self care) not just a reward, but a punishment.
My friend, pouring into yourself so you can better give to your why and your goals, along with continuing to cultivate a healthy relationship with your goals, should not be a reward – it should be built into the foundation of your goal setting.
This is why in every Goal Action Plan, we are asked the question, “How will I celebrate/have fun with this goal along the way?” Another way to interpret this question is: How am I going to stay refreshed while I make progress on this goal? (Don’t know what Powersheets are? Start Here!)
This month my top priority is to stay refreshed after finding the benefit of my personal burnout. There are not many pros to burnout, but the major benefit in seeing our burnout is the ability to acknowledge that we need to refresh our souls and the way we achieve our goals. When we don’t make time for the things that fire us up, we will find ourselves more exhausted than energized. Obviously it is a balance, but when we don’t make time for the things that fire us up, we risk burning out.
As a recovering perfectionist, I struggle to remember that our goals don’t always have to look productive to produce good fruit. We need to do the things that refresh our souls and that are life-giving because those things – that give us joy and peace and comfort – fill us up so that we can better give to our goals.
So today, I want to share three practical ways you can benefit from acknowledging your burnout; along with equipping you to build the grace of refreshment into the foundation of your goal setting.
1 Go back to page 9 in your Powersheets prep-work
The “What Fires Me Up” page is in my top 3 favorite Powersheets prep-work pages because it is so important to recognize our passions. When we are feeling uninspired, worn out, burnt out, or tired, these are activities we can come back to! Most importantly, by identifying these activities that as Lara would say, “make us come alive,” we can build them into our goal planning so we can intentionally avoid burnout and embrace joy in the journey!
Not everything on my page “looks productive on paper,” but making time to: enjoy the sunshine, cuddle our puppies, FaceTiming my mom, or dig into my garden refreshes my soul!
Practical Application: Make a point to go back to this page by creating a reminder in your phone or bookmarking this page; then in your monthly Prepare Well page, put one of those activities from that page in there! Make it a goal to do something each week that fires you up! By building in time for refreshing activities, you are making space to refill your cup so you can better pour into your goals! So go cuddle your puppy, go on a date, enjoy the sunshine it doesn’t have to “look productive” on paper, these life-giving endeavors matter too.
2 Adjusting your mindset:” refreshment isn’t a reward, it is a staple”
I’ve been reflecting a lot on the fact that there is so much good in the plans we make and in our Tending Lists, but what makes our goals come alive is what we do off of those pages. If we are pouring from an empty cup, we cannot give our best to our goals or our why.
There is nothing wrong with planning something fun to celebrate completing a goal or treating ourselves after staying on top of our to-do list, but it becomes a problem when we only do something that is life-giving as a reward. When we treat the things that fire us up as a reward, we are simultaneously making our imperfect progress a punishment.
I think we can get easily wrapped up in almost being “controlled” by our to do list and having that rule our lives. Whereas your goals and Tending List are meant to fuel you! It’s meant to push you while helping you enjoy and savor everything along the way. It’s not designed to be this controlling to do list that you’re stuck with. It’s a balancing act as you figure out how to best use your Tending List alongside your real life. While we need to prepare and be intentional – once we are prepared – we need to live those goals out, and we can’t live those goals out best if we are burnt out.
Practical Application: Schedule in time for the things that fire you up that are not associated with your progress. You can plan to celebrate your progress AND plan in time to refresh your soul to help you get to your end goal – this isn’t an either/or situation – both can co-exist and will even compliment one another!
3 Prepare to address burnout in each area of your life
Something that I encouraged the Grace + Goals Community to do on our last Community Coaching Call was to brainstorm one way they could refresh themselves in each area of their Cultivated Life Evaluation (page 10-11 in your 2022 Powersheets Prep Work.) This exercise prepared us for when we start to feel burnt out or uninspired to make progress in that area of our life.
Practical Application: Use sticky notes over each box of your cultivated life evaluation and write down one way you can refresh yourself in each area. Here are some examples: for Finances, make a gratitude list; for Focal Relationship, go on a date night; for Work, take a course in my field from a creator I want to learn from.
I hope these applications help you see the benefit we gain by learning from our burn out, along with actively stopping the burnout cycle through refreshing your souls proactively rather than reactively.
I’d love to know what you do to proactively fight burn out or what you plan to do after reading this post in the comments below!
In case you didn’t know, here on Living the Chronic Illness Life you now have access to the
which helps you tailor your goal setting and powersheets to seasons of uncertainty.
The 2022 Powersheets are sold out, but there is so much of the collection still available! I am #teamblooms this year and in this 2022 Collection my top three must haves are: the Goal Setting Sticker Book, the Snap In Wildcard Holder, and the SeaGlass Cultivate Tote Bag!
P.S. if you didn’t snag a set of 2022 Powersheets, keep your eyes out over the next couple months because typically you will see 6 month undated Powersheets Planner get added to the shop!
Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt while goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through Grace + Goals and The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, confetti, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and in 2019 she launched her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, where Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. She is on a mission to help other women learn how to trade guilt for God’s grace and control for confetti! You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com
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