Burnout and tools for Mindfulness.
I was truly delighted to be invited by Ilda, co-founder @The Mental Fitness Store for a chat about Burnout and Mindfulness a couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday. I love sharing, raising awareness and provide some effective tools based on my experience.
I had a chance to go on a walk to Greenwich before it and enjoy some spring with flowers in full bloom at this time of the year. I had been really missing the contact with nature over the past few months. It really felt like a long winter, being in lockdown. We are now slowly coming out of it and adjusting to some new habits, back to more face to face work, not necessary stores and pubs reopening, meeting friends, and cautiously walking to freedom. I last was in Greenwich on Christmas day to do my Covid test which luckily turned out to be negative. I was very worried. It was a major relief to get such result
As a reward, I bought myself a Margherita pizza from La Pinzeria
It made my Sunday very special after the walk. I really love sharing about my experience and help as I can.
I had a very warm welcome to the chat by Ilda before introducing myself. Ilda was commenting on how people struggle at the moment with all the changes happening constantly and the uncertainty we are facing. I was very eager to be there, talk about my experience and share some useful tools.
As a background, I have some solid experience in language training. I have always dreamt of living in London. I made it happen in 2008. In addition to that, I am a huge fan of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and meditation. I thought Joyce was an absolute genius to come up with the concept of stream of consciousness (emergent property in neuroscience, namely an independent entity, out of control). I started to meditate back in 2008 (Raja yoga in Covent Garden – I was just passing by the other day while on a walk with my friend and social media coach Paolo – recalling how challenging it was to steady the mind) as I moved to London. The train of thoughts has always been both challenging and fascinating. Busy schedules arranging training in various places in London, with clients from different walks of life, French Italian and English as a Foreign Language (quite a lot!). I have really fond memories of that time. However, it was very stressful. I in fact experienced burnout at least two times.
Back in 2018 I discovered the Awake Network and started to follow and meditate with Dr Rick Hanson (I am currently training on Positive Neuroplasticity with him). His voice is truly calming and he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject of Mindfulness that really inspires me constantly. I love the mix of Psychology, Buddhism and Neuroscience. I feel really blessed to be training with his programs online, be constantly stimulated to try something new in my own approach.
I love the concept of mental fitness. “What movement is for the body, stillness is for the mind” is a fantastic statement by Jay Shetty in a video I watched. It is also very inspiring to access some wisdom from monks. I really enjoy the 5 minute Coffee / Tea break (depending on the time of the day). In monasteries it is a contemplative practice. I used to drink an insane amount of coffee and I had to have an endoscopy in Italy as I was too stressed. When we are rushed we really lose touch with our senses.
Burnout can be sadly quite common. I have always felt that in Western society we are praised for achieving goals, completing tasks (a dissonant type of leadership is focussed on that v a resonant type of leadership that is more concentrated on people).
I was so happy also that Ilda is enjoying my Friday Kindfulness meditation on instagram. Especially at this time, coming out of lockdown in the Uk and other changes in other parts of the world can trigger some sensations of worry. It is a space that can offer a refuge over these times. I obtained my Diploma for Mindfulness nearly one year ago and I am planning to continue studying and specialising.
What is burnout and why does that happen?
Burnout is an experience of disconnection at the level of body, mind, and emotions. It is possibly due to trying to achieve too many tasks and losing a sense of purpose and generally feeling fatigue, lack of motivation. I personally felt mentally and emotionally exhausted due to a very long period of stress. Mental energy is not unlimited. It can be depleted, especially when we multitask. Multitasking is very detrimental.
I always refer to the quote “Mr Duffy lived a short distance from the body”. The body carries wisdom and we can really benefit from tapping into our intuition.
When we start to feel this disconnection we are not happy anymore and, even worse, our health can be badly affected. Very often in life we are concentrated on what is next, rather than on the actual moment (this happens to me during the shower, for example). Meditation can support to the struggle to find focus (as somebody from the audience commented).
Burnout can happen at work, with relationships, as Ilda was suggesting. Everyone has a different experience. We shift to a mode of existing, not living to the full, experiencing being on “autopilot”, accomplishing tasks automatically and lacking presence and awareness.
Ilda has been meditating for 7 years and she is very quick at spotting when she feels stressed.
I suggested the following techniques (which I feel are very simple and beneficial, suiting all life styles):
STOP technique: (from the acronym Stop, Take a Break, Observe and Proceed). We could visually put the sticker of a STOP sign to remind ourselves when it is time to have a break. Those breaks are very key to observe what is happening around ourselves.
It is a technique created by Tara Brach (from the acronym Recognise, Acknowledge, Investigate and Nurture). It supports you to explore a bit more of what is happening emotionally. It is in fact very important to understand what is happening with us emotionally and label the specific emotion. Once we do that it is key that we do not resist to it, but rather process it and move on.
Reminding to breath, too. It is a driving force, soothing.
It is free!
Another great point that was touched was relationships, recognise the toxicity. It is vital that relationships are balanced and a two way process. We can spot that emotion related to a particular person while practising the RAIN technique (if we are angry, for instance). In that very moment recognise what drains us v what nurtures us, how to set our boundaries. Alternatively a journaling session can support address that. When we are in alignment, we really want people to match our core values. It is all about balance, authenticity and self-love is extremely beneficial and helping us overcome a sense of guilt when rejecting negative situations. Mindful relationships can help us feel happier, fulfilled.
I love the wisdom of the following:
Kindness is the new cool
Health is the new wealth
Inner peace is the new success
Honesty. Honesty to ourselves and to others.
I firmly believe that Mindfulness and meditation can be truly transformational. However, for those who are not into meditation, Mindfulness can be cultivated informally by paying more attention, noticing and addressing. Feeling happier.
And of course nature is there for us, reminding us of the beauty we are surrounded by and some natural processes that are in perfect alignment with us. It is a silent witness of our wisdom.
I was recently watching a reel by Jay Shetty’s wife, Rahid about reciprocation.
As I mentioned in the IGTV, I feel I am very of a giver (like many of us). Like Rahid, I also tend to overextend myself at times and I really feel fulfilled. One of the pillars of Mindfulness is living with no expectations. Reciprocation can indeed can support further enhance relationships and deepen them.
It is a cycle to help nurture relationships and make them grow. This could be done by showing gratitude, show how much you appreciate your loved ones (friends, partners, family and so on), and listen to them, naturally and organically. In my meditation sessions I embed loving kindness to others. Reciprocation can help include gratitude in our life and be happier.
We’ve all changed by this pandemic, experiencing exactly the same in isolation, but in our very own ways.
What does this mean to us?
Hope you enjoy watching the IGTV, find it of support.
Please do not hesitate to reach out, join my program Welcome Back Home