Many of us have “That’s not it” syndrome — In other words, we don’t know exactly what we want, but we know what to point to and say, “That’s not it.” When in a heightened state of stress or threat, as is the case when we experience burnout, it’s very easy to identify first with what we don’t want.
If you’re experiencing a case of “That’s not it,” take a pause to get aligned with yourself, your values, your goals, your interests/passion, etc. It’s not so much that knowing what you don’t want is a bad thing; it’s just that it’s not a full picture. That’s why it’s important to pause, reflect, articulate your wants and needs, and get more feedback. However, even your ability to pause and reflect is hindered when you’re dealing with burnout.
So, how can you participate in a mindful pause if you don’t have the resources for meaningful reflection? Well, quite simply, it may not be possible yet. But the process to be able to do so is a bit like climbing a ladder: start on solid ground, take it rung by rung, and don’t rush the process.
To get out of burnout so you can participate in a more meaningful pause and reflection:
There are many other ways to address burnout, but these three steps can get you started. For more in this topic, check out Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.
Well-being is more than the absence of suffering; it’s also the presence of joy! Similarly, personal fulfillment is more than avoiding what you don’t want; it’s pursuing what you do want, and that requires self-reflection. At least when done correctly, self-reflection requires energy, so before taking a proper pause, make your primary objective to leave burnout behind.