When you categorize yourself as empathetic, a giver, a helper or even a good friend; you spend a lot of time focused on what other people need and want. This is a beautiful trait and has probably earned you the title of close friend and trusted colleague. You’re the one people call when they’re in a bind. You’re the person everyone wants on their team at work. You’re the one who goes the extra mile, volunteers for the committee, gets the project done, and hosts the social gatherings. You’re kind, reliable, loving…and maybe a little burnt out.
Because you’re a giver, you are also less likely to ask for anything in return…often dismissing offers of help, saying you’ve got it all under control and graciously declining any support.
If you’re able to do all of this and are bopping through life feeling great, always full of energy and in a positive mood, rock on! Stop reading here.
If, on the other hand, you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a little less full of energy lately, or you’re having trouble keeping your commitments, or you feel like if one more person asks for something you might snap, then keep on reading!
Even when you’re doing things that you love and that feel good, you can still become burnt out. Burn out doesn’t only come from the negative stresses like a jerky boss or a sick kid. Burn out is literally that – the spark or flame that you once had is barely still burning…and you need to fan the flames.
How the heck do you do that?
I promise, the answer isn’t becoming a different person. You can still be the kind, giving, helpful, loving person you are…and you can get yourself out of burn out.
You know those offers of help and support that I mentioned before? The ones that you probably dismissed or graciously declined? Try saying “Yes” to some of them. That’s the smallest step and easiest way to start fanning your flames. Think of the person who most often offers support. Make a commitment to yourself this week to reach out to that person and take them up on an offer.
Once you get more comfortable with accepting support, you’ll feel your flame start to burn brighter again. Your energy will pick up and the frustration will decrease. Your connection to the folks who support you will also benefit. Those who love you want to return the support they’re used to getting from you.
As you continue to practice accepting help and support, take it to the next level and make an “ask.” Again, start with the person who you’re most confident will say yes, and ask a small favor. Maybe it’s taking on a task that’s out of your area of expertise, maybe it’s going to a movie to make sure you get some down time. Whatever feels like a good starting place is the right way to start.
This asking stuff is hard when you’ve spent a lifetime giving…but it’s absolutely necessary to avoid burn out and continue to be the kind, generous, helpful person you’ve always been.