Written By Julie Terraciano, MFT
What are the signs that we are arriving at burnout stage? Why might we allow ourselves to get there before we are truly conscious that we have over-extended ourselves? What little “vacations” or breathers might be helpful throughout the year to refresh us?
Since this is vacation season, I have been contemplating these questions as I work with clients and listen to conversations outside the office. It is human nature to seek renewal. Current brain research supports this as well.
Apparently, the brain thrives with: proper hydration, good diet, rest, love (including friendship), exercise, creativity and novelty. Taking ourselves out of our element, out of town, out of state, wherever we might find different activities and different perspectives can be good for our bodies and our souls.
If we are fortunate enough to visit a different culture and lucky enough to immerse ourselves in different ways of being and thinking, these experiences can leave us feeling enlightened. If we can manage to have healthy visits with family or friends, we can return refreshed. If we go away to take part in workshops to pursue our passions, we can restore our energy.
When we don’t have the luxury to take the big trip, little road trips can be helpful. Visiting a friend in a nearby town or another part of the state can give us the change of venue that can support new ways of thinking about old problems.
In therapy, clients sometimes talk about being stuck…in their work, in a relationship, in the way they see themselves, the way they relate to their families, the way they communicate. As their therapist, part of my role is to help them look at these challenges differently, based on what they are telling me and what I sense from their words and their presence in the room.
There are times in all of our experiences when we need a break from our usual way of doing things, our customary way of thinking. I often suggest that clients breathe when faced with a dilemma. Pursuing our own forms of meditation….drawing, writing, music, dance, yoga…all help us breathe differently. Conscious breathing can provide little vacations from habitual ways of being, relief from the annoying and the sometimes terrible challenges that we all come across in our lives.