Why we burn out––it’s not only what you thinkJun 30, 2023
With Pride month almost over (shout-out to my fellow Queer friends and family) and July around the corner, summer is in full swing in the Western hemisphere.
And with that, our bodies are more inclined towards pleasure––whether that’s lounging poolside, traveling, spending time with loved ones, feeling sensual, adventuring outdoors, or simply gazing out the window.
Today, I’d like to talk about the counterpoint to last week’s email about pain: pleasure and feeling good in our bodies and lives.
Most of the time, we talk about burnout as a symptom of over-working.
But, I like to think of burnout with a bit more nuance, especially after working with hundreds of clients who have struggled through it.
Burnout happens because we’ve over-indexed on pain and missed out on––or even denied ourselves––pleasure.
We often place pleasure at the end of a string, like a dangling carrot, that we’ll get IF and only if we work harder, faster.
We set ourselves up with a never-ending marshmallow test––we resist the temptation to rest, to listen to our bodies, to feel good so that we can achieve more.
We silently tell ourselves that we’ll get more recognition, earn more, and feel better after we’ve accomplished this project or hit that milestone or achieved a certain body composition.
Unconsciously, we as a culture believe that we have to earn our pleasure––that we don’t deserve it otherwise.
But, as you may have personally experienced and I most certainly have, this tendency to continually put off pleasure has terrible consequences…
By the time we “feel” we’ve earned our just rewards, we’re too damn exhausted to feel them, let alone enjoy them.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the cap on the amount of pleasure we allow ourselves.
…it’s kind of like how I wrote about our certain capacity for discomfort last week.
But what I didn’t add in that post was that pleasure is necessary.
Pleasure isn’t some conditional reward––it’s a basic necessity for being a regulated, balanced, and embodied human. It’s a prerequisite for being our best self.
- Releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone
- Tells our nervous system that we’re safe
- Brings us into the present moment
- Helps us feel more connected and alive
- Activates our imagination and creativity
- Motivates us to be our best self
So the truth is that despite those pesky, undercutting unconscious beliefs, we get better work done when we allow ourselves to experience pleasure.
When we’re less stressed, we’re more focused. We have more energy, and we can even bend time by hitting that delicious flow state.
So if that’s not a reason to embrace more pleasure in your day… why don’t you take a walk around the block and let the sunshine soak into your skin and see what happens :)
What’s one thing that will feel good to do this week? What’s one thing that will bring you pleasure?
Take a moment and jot it down and then add it to your calendar. Better yet, what if you gave yourself permission to make it happen now?
I promise I won’t tell your employer.