For some reason, we often think that progress looks like this: gaining a bit of clarity or inspiration - then moving full steam ahead - Fear of losing the inspiration creeps in so we push a little harder - we begin to feel momentum slowing so we push even harder - and then we hit burnout. This burnout can look like exhaustion, frustration, complete loss of interest in whatever we were inspired or passionate about, maybe getting physically ill, or mentally/emotionally depressed or down… and this is because we think that progress is uphill. I saw this graphic recently and it showed a progress arrow, it moved straight uphill and then burnout hit, and it dropped straight down and flatlined for a bit. There was another graphic next to it with a staircase, the staircase progress moved straight up for a short time, then rested as the top of the stair, progressed up, rested, progressed up and rested. It stuck with me because it truly was just such a beautiful and simple visual of the importance of rest and recovery after a period of progress. We’re in this weird time of year where it’s the beginning of a new year… so generally, the whole world starts shifting towards “new year, new goals,” or “new year, new me!” But I have noticed a beautiful shift this year, and it could just be because of the work I do and the accounts that I follow, but the reminder of being in the winter season. Smack dap in the middle of it actually, and about this being a time of rest, introversion and slowing down. Now, I’m here to tell you a balance of both today, because you know how much I love cyclical energy. When you look at this on a micro scale vs the macro of the earth season, we know that we have an inward winter season, but we also have a spring, summer and fall. You can work with this energy using the moon cycle, or your menstrual cycle, but regardless of which you use, it still very much exists.
So how does this have anything to do with breaking the burnout cycle you ask? In my opinion, it has EVERYTHING to do with it. So I laid out what hitting burnout looked like when we started, now here’s what a lack of burnout could look like… gaining some clarity or feeling inspired, tuning into what taking inspired action on this would look like for you, taking that inspired action while the momentum is there, when the momentum begins to slow, allowing yourself to slow with it, organizing and wrapping up where you’re at so that it’ll be easy to go back to when you cycle back around and to prepare yourself to rest, then resting - resting, without judgement, without shame, allowing time to reflect on all you got accomplished with gratitude, and tuning into what felt good about it and what may feel better the next time around. Then, when that clarity comes and the inspiration hits again, you go again. What does this cycle allow for? It allows you to flow with your energetic makeup, to meet yourself where you’re at without judgement or guilt because you know that you’re moving with your unique energy and in turn avoiding burnout and needing to start all over again from scratch.
We really need to lean into the importance of rest and self-care as a means of nurturing our entire process and progress even. Making rest a priority can shift our entire lives. When we look at the winter season, we don’t shame nature for slowing down. We don’t shake our heads at the trees going… you really should just still be trying to grow those fruits even though you know they’ll freeze and die… we accept it fully as it is. If we offer ourselves this radical acceptance in any given moment, we liberate ourselves from doubt and fear that is no longer a part of us, it’s just an old system we used to live by. We surrender to our nature, we let go of illusions and obsessions and release attachment to how we used to think things “should” be, opening us up to being surprised and delighted by a new way of being and receiving.
There are going to be cycles where you feel seasonal energy a little more intensely. This could be when the macro-outward season you’re in aligns with the micro-inward season you’re in. For example, when you’re in your inward winter phase of rest, reflection, feelings, intuition and introversion and you’re also outwardly in winter, you may feel this energy hit a little harder. Know that that’s okay, simply allow yourself to lean in a little harder. Allow for that shift into self-care and nurturing your mind, body and spirit. You may also feel like you need to shift into self-care through new modalities such as rituals, creativity, pleasure, doing card spreads, working with the water element etc. So that you can be ready when that clarity comes and that inspiration hits to plant your seeds to take action. No phase is final or going to last forever, so make the most of it while you’re in it, without trying to hold onto it into the next season. When the season is past, let it go and move on to the next. It will cycle back around sooner than you think.
To break the burnout cycle and remain in a flow cycle, you must allow for that flow to take place. This means letting go of attachment to any season of your cycle being better than another or more important than another, and truly accepting that all are equal, all are beautiful and all a Divine part of your process.
I personally took hit burnout in December as I'm sure you learned from my last blog post and had to remind myself of my cyclical flow. We're human, forgetting our flow or pushing beyond our means is going to happen from time to time. What's most important is allowing for rest when it does, without judgement or shame, and then finding the flow again once it passes to avoid hitting burnout again over and over and falling into a burnout cycle.
I hope you've found this helpful and I'd love to know how it lands for you in the season that you're in.
So much love to you,
Looking for help with your flow cycle? Grab my workbook here: Paperback/kindle