When talking about burnout, we often associate this word with the picture of a fire. If you only ticked a few (less than 10) statements, you are probably in a phase of your life when you are enjoying making fire in your fireplace and you are happy to see the flaming.
You are enjoying the warmth, you take delight in watching the fire, and all you wish is to stay there all day long. You bring your armchair nearby, you take your books, your diary with you, you eat by the fire, you make phonecalls by the fire, and you arrange your whole life around the fire. It is all well, but keep in mind: there is life outside of the room as well, things are happening elsewhere too.
There is no difficulty yet. Just keep in mind that while being near the fire gives you warmth, it can also make you thursty. Fire is not only beautiful, but it can also be dangerous. You have to make sure that you stay in control, keep it among clear boundaries so that it provides you what you want to recieve.
If you give it too great freedom, it can go wild. You might not even notice a tiny ember jumping out and it is enough to set the carpet and the furniture… And eventually the whole house on fire. If you put too many logs too often on the fire, it will no longer be able to consume the heavy dose, and it will turn into acrid smoke.
In this phase, what matters is prevention. You can make great use of some simple, easy-to-do exercises that are efficient, and you can apply them both at home and at work, or even during travelling.
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The flames are on, and you are enjoying it so much that you threw some more big logs on it in order to make it even greater. More light! More warmth!
But instead of making the fire bigger, the logs have overlain it. Since you can no longer take them out, you try to push the logs aside… In vain. Instead of the nice flame you enjoyed just a few minutes ago, intesne smoke fills the room and makes your eyes tear. For a moment or two, you don’t see clearly, and then you realize you have to open the windows quickly. If you do open the windows in time, and you do take those logs off of the fire or put them aside, you can still turn things back to normal. But in order to do it, you have to take the situation seriously and act quickly. You have to become aware of the danger and move.
What if we do not see the danger in an unknown situation? What if we belive that in such cases, the most important thing is to keep trying to arrange the fire (the source of the problem) and not to get some fresh air?
If you keep on repeating the same old techniques (trying to do something with the fire), you can put yourself into some serious problem.
You have to realized that you do need to change the way you do things. This is a point of no return: once you become aware of the problem, you can no longer claim yourself to be the victim of a situation. The oportunity to change is yours, and so is the responsibility to do so. Don’t worry! Change doesn’t have to be painful.
You can start it easily by applying some exercises that can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
The fire went out, all that remains is the smoke steadly steaming from the charred logs. It doesn’t provide you any warmth, nor beauty any more, but you are sitting around in the danger of carbon monoxide toxication. By now, you might be already numbed, and you have no energy to run and open the window or to leave the house. You just keep on sitting in this toxic enviroment, not even noticing that some ashes fall out on the floor… the hidden potential of those can still put your house on fire.
In the best case scenario, you manage to pull yourself out of the house, and you watch as your home is being eaten up by the flames. The walls are still standing , and once the fire has gone out, people passing by can only see these walls. If they don’t take a closer look, they will not even notice the emptiness behind the facade. The inner desolation goes unnoticed.
Noone will see that the windows are not shining any more, because people prefer looking at the garden in front of your house, and most of them will not even look at the building because they were taught that stearing at someone is an improper thing to do.
If you recognize yourself in this metaphore, let me just say: it is great that you are on this website now. It means you are still looking for a solution, which is the very first crucial step.