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Treat Your Burnout Slowly and with Compassion

4 January 2022

Allison watched her presentation on Strategies to Avoid Small Business Burnout and will be remembering her own advice as she charts a course for 2022.

Tags: allison read, allison watched, mindfulness, optimism, self-compassion, self-talk, sleep, vacation

One of my favorite courses to teach is Choosing Balance and Leadership. I enjoy helping participants figure out what matters to them and then sharing strategies for how to make choices and implement plans that hopefully lead to more satisfaction. When people ask me to speak about wellness, resilience, burnout, stress management, wellbeing, or whatever other word has the most meaning in their organizations, I always choose some lessons from this course.

As I watched the video of my presentation to the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Alliance on Strategies to Avoid Small Business Burnout, I was struck by the underlying message I shared. I’m not sure I knew it would be the central theme until I sat down with the group, but it’s a message that’s really resonating with me as I try to set some goals for myself in 2022 while also trying to recover from the challenges of the last 21 months.

Go slowly. Pause. When you feel burned out, it might be best to pick a few small changes to make in your life rather than trying to dig out of the hole so quickly that you exhaust yourself even further. Be kind as you help yourself figure out what hurts and what you might need to do about the pain. Talk to yourself with compassion about how you're doing and what you want next rather than beating yourself up or pushing too hard to achieve the next thing.

Once I helped the group (and myself) get into a kinder, gentler, and more self-compassionate frame of mind, I shared some tools to address burnout. You can find that list here. I like to think we all walked out of that room ready to cheer for ourselves and each other as we figure what's next in our lives. I'm doing everything I can to hold that feeling as I begin this new year. I hope maybe now you can feel it, too.

p.s. Instructions for the breathing exercise I did with the group are here.


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