Permission 2 Play
Wow wow wow, the past two weeks of my life have been busy busy busy! I finished my second semester of grad school just last week and the new semester began TODAY! Finals week was…well ..
I took the entire 8-day break to recover (from burnout) and regroup.
What is burnout?
Anyone can experience burnout–from work responsibilities, demanding relationships or even overwhelming tasks. Undoubtedly, we all feel burned out from time to time. Life can be more hectic than not depending on.. the time of year, the planetary alignment, the unexpected curve balls that come barreling our way.. to name a few. It’s inevitable. And this inevitability calls for us to explore ways of managing such extreme exhaustion.
As an empath and C-PTSD survivor, feeling burned out makes even breathing a challenge. Not only do I feel impossibly fatigued and unmotivated, but I also fall into a suffocating space of confusion and imbalance. I’ll lose sight of who I am, the dreams I’m striving to meet and any positive perceptions of purpose or confidence that I carry. Sometimes, I don’t even realize I’m experiencing burnout. This state is dangerous for empaths because we become more susceptible to falling into depression and experiencing heightened states of anxiety and self-destruction.
Will I feel better after a good night’s rest?
The popular opinion in combatting a state of burnout is sleep. Rest. Relax. Recover. Do nothing. Just sleep. When you feel burned out, getting more shut-eye is indefinitely essential for body fatigue. However, states of burnout are not purely physical. You’re experiencing mental and emotional overwhelm as well. It is very possible that you will sleep too much when in this state.
Oversleeping not only affects the obvious, like sleeping schedules and daily schedules, but you can actually wake up feeling more tired. more exhausted. more burnt.
The truth is you still dream at night. You still unconsciously process your day. And passing out due to exhaustion is not the same as naturally winding down and drifting to sleep. Your brain doesn’t simply shut off when you’re asleep. Your mind is still active and highly functioning. But because your energy is more depleted than usual, these unconscious tasks may leave you feeling drained by the time you awake in the morning.
So how can I bounce back after feeling burned out?
I honestly spent the first 3 days of my “break” sleeping. I was taking 3-hour long naps; I could barely keep my eyes open. However, every. single.time I’d wake up, I’d feel just as tired if not more.
It wasn’t until day 4 that I pumped air into my stability ball and decided to keep myself up by doing artsy shaman work on my computer. I felt more lucid and less zombie-like while I was creating.
The next day I practiced Trauma Sensitive Yoga awakening techniques. Since I’d sworn off chairs for my stability ball, I did the exercises on my ball. I’d done this routine once before, but my ball allowed me to bounce up and down and unlocked a fascinating playfulness inside of me.
In our competitively driven society, it’s so easy to forget to let your hair down and have fun (outside of bars and alcohol).
But what does it mean to play?
Simply to enjoy your imagination.
Do something to your own liking. For amusement and giggles. For me, bouncing on a stability ball while flailing my arms around and blasting my favorite song on repeat was pure entertainment. For you, maybe an adult coloring book, or a friendly game of Jenga, or ding-dong-ditch or prank-calling your friends will ease your state of depletion!
Playing in a way that opens your heart will change your state of being. Your mood will lighten, your mind will clear and you’ll physiologically feel relaxed. Burn out happens when the busyness of day to day life swarms your sense of fun-to-getshitdone ratio. Clearing space for recreational activities is so important in maintaining a healthy work/life/play balance. During burnout your “get shit done” brain has basically melted! Essentially, creating opportunity to let your inner child take the wheel for a change.
What does your inner child want to play? And What ways can you commit to adding “play time” into your schedule?