Be on fire! Don’t burnout!

Handling and preventing burn-out based on the 5 phases of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Today burnout is a widely known psycological-phisical syndrome. Being burnt out means that we are tired, exhausted, we have lost motivation, we become cynical, reserved, our work-efficiency drops and we are often moody.

The way toward burnout begins – as the word implies it – with fierce enthusiasm, dynamism and intense activity. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. The problem begins if someone gets stuck in this mode of functioning and keeps on giving and giving and giving without charging oneself.

Fire is the source of many useful and beautiful things. Fire is our vital element. We are longing for the warmth and light, its nourishing and and also its destructive power. While it is burning we have to pay attention to two things at the same time: fire should be fed but we have to be careful so that it remains within the designed frames (fireplace, among stones).

Linear versus cyclical approach

Most literature handles burnout as a linear phenomena: they divide it into beginning, middle and final phases following each other in time. Solution is also viewed as a next step ahead. In order to get there, one has to clear the way by implementing necessary changes.

Linear thinking has become dominant in Western cultures since the age of enlightment. Descartes declared that ratio rules above all, and thus, no idea or view or belief can be considered real unless it fits the human-created criteria of ratio and logic. This is the narrow concept of “I think therefore I am” which placed thinking and mental activity above feelings and emotional wisdom.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees the world and the whole circle of life in its cyclicity. The different phases can not be divided since they are in constant interaction with eath other: they strengthen or weaken one another depending on when and what is needed.

Burnout-prevention – a new approach

As a kinesiologist I was reading a lot about the ancient Chinese concept of the 5 elements. When researching burnout, it was only natural for me to study this syndrome from the point of view of the TCM. It is amazing how accurately the phenomenon of burnout can be explained by the five elements. What is even more exciting is that it also gives us a hint to find solution.

In the system of the TCM the five elements follow each other in a circle in the following order: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The energy (Qi) circulates in this order. Each and every element has its own qualities: they have a certain color, a season, an emotion a taste attached to all of them. All qualities can be experienced in a higher and a lower level (positive/negative, nourishing/destroying).

The season associated to the element of fire is summer. Its colour is red, its emotions are love, passion – and also hatred. When we are creating something that is close to our hearts, we are experiencing the good side of fire quality.

Nevertheless, if we get stuck in the activity of only ‘making fire’ without imposing a limit on it, than the element of fire will appear in our life as a destroying quality. If we don’t dominate it, it will dominate us.

If I don’t dominate the fire , and I only nourish it and build it, life will remind me that by doing so I don’t live life at is totality. I only live part of it. Totality consists of experienceing both sides: self-forgetting and control. Dominating and release.

So how come so many of us get stuck in this phase of fire? Why has burnout become a silent epdemy out of an occasional matter?

The answer lies in the direction of our attention. While growing up, kids possess an unshakable strong knowing that they are loved and love is all around them, no matter what happens.

This is that inner self-esteem does not equal to being stuck-up and is not the mask of the ego, but a confidence serving as a solid axis they can lean on. Something that does not depend on external conditions.

Anyone possessing this inner security would know for sure that the most important things in life is to be in harmony with oneself. This harmony does not come from others’ approval so these people don’t depend on what others think of them, they don’t wear a mask, they are just happy to be who they are.

What is going to happen in this training?

  • You get to understand the basics of TCM 5 elements concept
  • You get to know the difference between linear and cyclical approaches
  • You will understand what is the reason of burnout and what is the answer for it within the system of TCM
  • You will acquire some basic tools in order to feel better and to be able to move from the deadlock.

This training is for you …

  • If you are concerned by burnout
  • If you would like to prevent burnout
  • If you work in the area of HR
  • If you are a therapist, life coach or health coach