Poster Child for Burnout

written by Linsley Hartenstein
I am the poster child for burnout. I'm a twenty-four old musician, a content creator for TNF, and a nanny to my sweet, sweet nephew. I have to think about rest and put it into my calendar every week; though, I doubt my life is more chaotic than some of you reading this blog post. Even amidst a pandemic, my life isn't objectively hard or in turmoil. Most of my problems that have to do with rest are entirely ordinary, controllable, and predictable. I don't mean that dismissively to minimize my struggle. The truth that my struggles are normal is very freeing. It reveals my need for space to get to know myself and draw boundaries. Then I can give myself grace for when the unexpected inevitably shows up.
 
I will fight you to the grave, saying that you won't rest well if you don't know yourself. Rest is SO broad- you are an individual! You have to know how you rest to fulfill your needs. Here is what that looks like for me:

I'm not a "lay-around-the-house" kinda gal. I rarely nap and get anxious if I haven't done anything in the day. The best way I rest is by doing something non-constructive. To not internally overcrowd my heart and schedule, I have to "clean the slate." Pursuing a career in music often means I rarely have "non-constructive" creative time. I will spend an hour playing an instrument, painting a garbage picture, or doing something else I may or may not be good at. I'll clean my slate by going for a long run, journaling, meditating, cleaning my room, or making a calendar for the week.

I also need connection with people of peace, or I get sad and feel lonely for literally no real reason. Even though I am wildly introverted, being around people gives me a break from myself. I need time outside of my head, and no matter how hard it is to reach out or walk into the kitchen, I rarely regret one-on-one time with people I love.

Most of the time, I struggle with "one day of rest" because I put too much pressure on "the perfect sabbath," and my schedule can be unpredictable. So planning Sabbath sporadically into my week is most freeing for me.
 
These are all great things that I do when I maintain healthy boundaries. We humans need boundaries to rest well. I have to say "no" to more than I have time for, or I won't have time to play.

All of this works together. When I know myself and create boundaries to protect my rest, I can handle the unexpected in life with more grace and compassion. The more I am consistently rested, the more likely I am to have compassion and grace for myself through the unexpected. I pray that all of you will spend some time getting to know yourself. Draw some healthy boundaries to maximize your capacity for self-compassion. It takes work, but when the unexpected inevitably comes (and it will), you will be able to give yourself grace while you get back on track.

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