In addition to living our truth about our health and our bodies, to prevent burnout we need to honor the truth around our personalities.
“Self-care is dependent on the individual. It is based on what helps them to feel more like they’re in their natural state, which is the thing, place or feeling that would happen if there were no pressure on them — the thing they would want to do,” said Robert L. Bogue, co-author of “Extinguish Burnout: A Practical Guide to Prevention and Recovery.”
“When you’re operating outside of your natural state, you are consuming energy,” he explained. “The more in alignment you become, the less you’re demanding of yourself and the more personal agency you build up.”
Put simply, you need to know what restores you and invest in those activities to prevent burnout. But what fulfills these needs for you may look different than what fulfills those needs for someone else. For example, someone who is highly extroverted may need to hang out with friends or family on a daily basis after work to buffer against burnout. Someone who is highly introverted, on the other hand, may require time alone to recharge. One introverted home-schooling mom I know starts and finishes each day with deep breathing and makes sure at least once a week to do something on her own, such as journaling, gardening, crafting or hiking.
Or the differences in what you need may vary based on your core motivations. For example, Dr. Steven Reiss, a research psychologist, conducted studies involving more than 6,000 people and found that 16 core desires can motivate our behavior: power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise and tranquillity. For instance, I really enjoy order so I might choose to take a night to tidy up and organize my home in order to recharge. If you have a very strong desire for curiosity, you might spend that same night learning a new skill or language, or going somewhere new to feel refreshed.
I’m not wrong, and you’re not wrong. We’re just different. As Mr. Bogue stated, the more you know what truly aligns with who you are and honor that need, the less drained you will feel and the less likely you will burnout.
A third element of burnout prevention is to live the truth of your work situation reality — what you can actually change, and where you will need to find alternative sources to meet your needs. According to the “Areas of Worklife” model, workload is only one of the six contributors to burnout. Control, reward, fairness, community and values are the other five elements.