"Picasso once said that the purpose of Art was to wash away the dust of everyday life from our Souls"
When I first read these eye opening words, I knew that somewhere in my Soul was a whole heap of dust compacted by sadness, fear of failure and most of all lack of purpose. I hardly made time for a couple of deep breaths, let alone take time for myself. The truth is, I didn't believe that I worked hard enough to take some time off.
Have you ever felt like this dear Soul?
By the time you realise that burnout got the better of you and you've been torn into mere morsels of your former self because you thought you were tough! By then, yes, you've guessed it, by then you have reached burnout! The end of your rope, drained, denied and sick of everything! That disgusting thing is called burnout & it is a syndrome with three dimensions. The creeping feeling of exhaustion, layered over cynicism and coated in a sticky mess of inefficiency. This thing isn't as benign as you may suspect. For whatever reason, we often times misdiagnose our symptoms and never see our emotional exhaustion, sheer lack of life-lustre and loss of personal accomplishment to be anything other than self disappointment. To be burned out means to be miserable about your life, negative and worse still, hate going to work. When you show symptoms of the things I've briefly mentioned and continuously long for a break, a long weekend or for more time to yourself, then my friend you have been infected by burnout & you don't even know it yet! Burnout isn't just one thing, it is an accumulation of small stressors building up over time. To much overthinking, too much worrying, too many unhealthy meals, too much bad news, too much of all the things we could do without.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, especially on a Blog Post, but those everyday things you don't like doing and loathe hearing about, yet still talk about way too much are as much to blame for burnout as the physical symptoms. When you start to monitor yourself, you'll soon grasp how many times you engage in the worst of things, never considering that you could actually just step away & do something a little more pleasant & think a few thoughts of gratitude, be a bit more thankful... When we remember to be thoughtful towards the things we need on an emotional level & keep the balance during a workday we can experience the effects of the opposite of burnout. We can experience bliss, elation, laughter and inner piece, engagement and a creative connection to an endless source of empowerment.
Before that can happen to you, there are a few warning signs to look out for and I'll share them with you in later paragraphs. For now, I want you to know that your creative connection is an easy way to find yourself, to engage with your power and harness the inner bliss amongst the chaos in your life. It's a short time out, a playful colour swatch or a bold flower bouquet away.
For starters, I'll show you a few Floral Bouquets as an example. These however are NOT just pretty pictures, these are POST ENGAGEMENT MASTERPIECES!
With a quick disclaimer: These little Masterpieces were created by a group of my friends who needed a recharge & neither of them are Artists, although I can assure you that all of us have loads of creativity that is as real as the colours in a rainbow.
Why am I calling these POST ENGAGEMENT MASTERPIECES? Although it does certainly take a while for creative engagement to flow after you've only been focused on everything non-creative. Creative Engagement drives various negative thought patterns out of the way by capturing the imagination & igniting a childlike sense of wonder.
Sometimes we loose focus and chat about the "bad" things again, but soon the joys of the creative process enters our conscious awareness & lures in our attention to the colours, the shapes, the total awareness of being there with yourself & your friends is the perfect ENGAGEMENT to bring you back to yourself. When we gather together to experience a sense of friendship, it is our Connection with some missing 'thing' we all long for. The engaging connection can be as simple as taking in a deep breath & then at other times just knowing there are people around you to share a sacred space with you. Even though this may not be a possibility for you right now, I'm sure you can find a creative connection within the pages of a Sketchbook Journal. Having a place to retreat to when a day gets too long or things overwhelm us, is exactly why I created the Welcome Home Sketchbook Journal with a few Quotes to carry you through until we can connect or come together again.
Find your Signed copy here
Over time I've come to the conclusion that we are more inclined to engage in creativity when we do things together.
There is still a sense of 'tribal community' we rely on for our safety & a closeness amongst friendships that we as humans cannot live without.
The fear of abandonment has over millenniums not left our primal instincts. Not to mention how much we can accomplish when we work together, standing stronger than before & bringing bigger things to life, the ENGAGEMENT part of a Creative Connection is taking part completely. Immersing yourself into the creative process with a deep engagement ensures your creative forces are more alive than the analytical ones & I believe that is what calms our nervous systems enough to reassure us of our place in the world.
Once you've found a little joy and pleasure through intentional engagement and generated a new found purpose through creativity, you've also enabled your unique natural abilities to shine through (and as a friend mentioned, today I'm good at gluing & that's all I'm going to say) and to it I exclaim; "Gluing my friend is what will keep it all together!"
"Again I'm reminded of the purpose of Art & the purpose of my creative journey... to bring more beauty to the world. So while we may think that all things must only ever be wonderfully gold & glittery, I want to open your eyes to the darkness surrounding the stars to show you their beauty, for the bright shining diamonds won't exist without the black coal."
- Tanya J. de Wet
Andso we can see now that even burnout came along to help us find ourselves again.
A couple of tips to help you steer clear of burnout:
Identify the signs by checking in with yourself & identify your feelings
What am I really feeling now?
Do I feel effective?
Am I lacking empathy or faith in my abilities?
Can I move forward from here?
Take care of yourself first
You have heard this before, take care of yourself first because you cannot take care of others if you are a mess. Eat more healthy food, 5 portions of fresh fruit/vegetables was a standard practice less than 10 years ago, try to adopt something similar to receive your vitamins naturally.
Schedule out time to engage in some form of socialising, although I'd like to remind you not to put yourself in a room of people who stress you out easily!
Get some fresh air & gentle exercise
Nature has everything, sunshine, the earth we can connect to, air to fill our vitality & water to quench thirst. With the bird-songs singing for the glory of life, we can go out & enjoy mother nature as often as we can because she is always there.
Regulate your sleeping habits
Make it a habit to de-clutter technology at least 30 minutes before bed, (at least an hour before bed for children) Listen to your biological rhythms and build good sleeping habits through staying in touch with what your body needs. We are all different & need different things.
Become more mindful
Through a relaxed state of mind you can reestablish piece and overcome overwhelm. An easy ways to bring back your mental resilience is by listening to meditative sounds like binaural beats, soft piano music or just focus on a sound around you, record some nature sounds or listen to an inspirational audio book.
Allow for downtime after work every day
Give yourself time to unwind by taking 30 - 45 minutes to release the tension & regain your energy after a long day.
Do something Creative
You'll be surprised at how fast your enthusiasm & inspiration returns once you've tuned in to your Creative Connection & find a relaxing outlet. Doing something just because it doesn't have to mean anything can bring you relief from stress & ensure your sanity in the wild world we live in!
Your recovery & wellness is within reach when you've gathered enough courage to seek it out. To find a way for your Soul to rise above the dust & just feel revitalised again.