Have you ever started a new business venture, work project or taken on a new lifestyle practice?
At first, you're high as a kite with enthusiasm and confidence. In fact, you epitomise fearless living! You jump out of bed at the crack of dawn to do that something.
You feel limitless and alive with energy. Ideas are flowing at all hours of the day or night and you might lie awake thinking about them. There's also a good chance you'll talk incessantly to loved ones about your grand plans.
I've been there!
You've unleashed the Lioness. The world hears you roar with confidence and you roam through the day with fearless ambition. You courageously leap over each challenge or obstacle and nothing can stop you.
But then you crash.
I've been there too!
Failure is a part of life but there's a difference between failing to recharge your mobile phone and failing to recharge your soul for optimal health and wellbeing. Lifestyle goals, aspirations, dreams... whatever you want to call them, need to be sustainable over the long-term as well.
I decided to apply the word soulstainability after some sad emails I received from two different women.
The first was from an exhausted Entrepreneur. She had created a successful business that she loved (great!) but at a cost to her health (not great). Unfortunately, she burned out and had to cancel future commitments because the business just wasn't soulstainable with her lifestyle.
The second email was from a woman embarking on a new health regime. Fantastic! But unfortunately, she too had burned out and quit. The new health regime just wasn't soulstainable with her lifestyle.
One was blogging and the other was jogging. They both failed to do what they set out to achieve... BUT THAT'S OK! There's nothing wrong with failure, especially if we can learn from it.
What I learned about burnout and soulstainability
I've been writing professionally for nearly 15 years... Minus 1+ years in hospital before I had a laptop to take in with me - you can read about some of that here.
At first I was Copywriting in the corporate world and loved it. The long hours and deadlines somehow fuelled the adrenaline-junkie in me. When a client's exciting creative brief came across my desk, I'd have sleepless nights and bore friends or family with details of the concept, television script, radio script, headline or promotion.
Needless to say, I burned out a few times.
These days I'm still writing and doing work that I absolutely love, with a routine that is more soulstainable for me. I still bore loved ones with the details of projects but I've learnt a few things about building soulstainability that I want to share it with you.
I hope you can learn from my mistakes and avoid lifestyle burnout.
Whether you're the CEO of a multi-national or a self-employed yoga teacher, soulstainability applies to you.
So how do you ensure your business or health goals are soulstainable? How do you keep the fire burning without burning out?
Here are 8 ways you can live and work soulstainably to avoid burnout.
Number one has to be sleep. If you're fatigued, so is your business. There's a tonne of research from around the world to show just how detrimental poor sleep hygiene can be to your physical and mental health. Here is just one of those articles about sleep and productivity. Basically, if you're doing a job you love, you'll need to love sleeping too.
2. Walk your talk
This is particularly relevant to women working in the health or wellness space. Eating and moving well is important for your physical and mental health. You might tell everyone else to do it - but sometimes we all need to take our own advice!
3. Learn the warning signs
Most of us know when we're getting a bit run down or working too hard. Some of these things we can control with a little rest on the couch but if it's more than that, have a chat with a professional. More serious adrenal fatigue, for example, can't just be fixed with a hot lemon drink.
4. Find your off switch
Depending on your current lifestyle and commitments, this could be anything from closing your laptop to physically getting away for a few minutes or days. You may even want to consider a digital detox to help you unwind.
5. Have a wind-down routine and stick to it
In corporate advertising agencies we had no real routines. You went home anywhere from 5pm until dawn. You'd get the work done but sometimes at the expense of your health. These days I have structure and routine which works with my lifestyle and the important people in my life. I urge you to find a soulstainable routine tha works for you - perhaps you could start small and simply review you bedtime.
6. Stop comparing
Just because it's soulstainable for someone else to be working at 2am or jogging at 4am doesn't mean it's right for you. We all have individual definitions of what's soulstainable.
7. Surround yourself with the right sorts of people
It's well documented that your success is the average of the 5 people you most associate with. Having a supportive, uplifting group of friends will help you through the harder times. Women with the same health or business goal can also be helpful because, often, they've been there before and know what you're going through.
8. Prioritise your commitments and set non-negotiables
Actions speak louder than words and sometimes we 'say' something is a priority but our actions might not reflect that. If you wouldn't dare miss that business meeting and let the boss down, don't let yourself down and miss out on sleep, for example.
I hope some of these suggestions can give you a few ideas about living soulstainably because I really don't want to see you burn out!
I still have busy weeks or insane deadlines and commitments - you might too. Just remember to be honest with yourself about what is truly soulstainable for your lifestyle.
Soulstainability is achievable and sometimes it just takes a few little tweaks to see your business AND YOU absolutely thriving!