Got Burnout? Refresh and Renew Your Ability to Teach

Feeling overwhelmed? Have you reached the point where creativity has come to a stand still? Have you forgotten how amazing your “job” really is? Are you no longer having fun teaching yoga? Do you actually dread it? If you answered yes to these questions, these are your red flags toward burnout. Because you are reading this, I believe there is a spark that is still ignited within you so that you can avoid a serious meltdown. Don’t give up. Let’s fan the flame and spark renewal together!

The definition of burnout: the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion; a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress; reduced ability to meet the demands of one’s occupation; symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, impaired work performance, and an increased susceptibility to physical illness and substance abuse. [Medical Dictionary by Farflex]

Have you exhausted yourself of your own fuel?

Burnout is the reduction of fuel that leads to nothing. Gone. Empty. Burnout does not occur solely by being overstressed and overwhelmed by your many responsibilities, although these play a great role. Other factors that contribute to burnout is your home life, relationships, lifestyle and characteristics.

An important question to ask yourself is, “Am I taking care of me?” Self care can play a vital role in maintaining health and avoiding burnout. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will need to begin scheduling activities that help you to unplug and decompress. If you need to become more consistent in taking care of yourself, employ a Self Care Team. A group of people, it could be as simple as a friend and a spouse, that call, email, or text you, making sure you are indeed taking time to “check out.” If this is a spouse, perhaps they call you and tell you, “You have a massage scheduled this Friday night from 6-7:30pm, go and enjoy.” If they are like my Self Care Team, they will also text you before your appointment making sure that you exhale the day, relax and enjoy. Yes, you want to make sure your Self Care Team cares about you, as well as becoming the best you that you can be, because you cannot give what you don’t have. Your maintenance is vital to avoid or bounce back from burnout.

Burnout doesn’t typically occur overnight, it is a gradual process. If red flags and symptoms are dealt with as they arise, complete burnout or a major breakdown can be avoided.

How to Prevent Burnout?

To prevent burnout, stay on a consistent and healthy path, being sure that you take time out for you and doing the things that you enjoy. A healthy lifestyle will help in prevention.
To recover from burnout, it is important to reflect and know what caused it, and how can you prevent it in the future. Example; If you are always saying yes to things or over-committing, start to implement boundaries and embrace the word “no”. Revisit your true dreams and passions, start focusing on a couple or few of them, align your dreams with your core values and begin to live a life of purpose, not just a job [teaching yoga] or going through the motions.
With these new tools you can get off autopilot, stop ‘cruising’, and start living with intention.

If you have burnout, but you love teaching yoga and simply want to reset, refresh and renew, I have a few of my favorite things to help you do just that.

meditation yoga livin spoonful sukhasana

11 Ways to Renew and Re-Energize Your Teaching
  1. Take a break. Schedule substitute teachers if you need to, but take time off to reflect and rejuvenate.
  2. Journal. If you take time off, allow for time to write. If you can only afford mornings or evenings, that is fine too, just take time to write. “Free flow” is writing without rules. If issues remain unresolved they will always float back to the surface. This is your time to get things “out”, get to root of your issues and let them go. If drawing works best for you, do that, let your pen guide you.
  3. Ponder. Ask yourself a few important questions and be brutally honest with yourself. Do I [still] love what I am doing? Is what I’m doing fulfilling? Am I still serving others with the best intentions? Is there something that I would rather be doing?
  4. Take a vacation – no, not a little break – but an actual vacation. Whether it’s a mini or major committment, change the scenery and get away! Perhaps another culture, time, language, food, and little exploration will help spark your soul.
  5. Withdraw. This is two part, because after withdrawing comes plugging back in, both are equally important. Withdraw to do some of the previous things mentioned, but do not stay isolated for too long. Solitude is important to reset your “Peace Gauge,” staying in solitude is dangerous.
  6. Engage. After a time of withdrawing, plug back in. You will have a sense of feeling recharged, which will benefit your interactions within friendships and the community.
  7. Step Out. See new things, meet new people, put yourself in new places and spaces. This can be extremely uncomfortable for some, but it is important to continue to grow and reach beyond your comfort circle(s).
  8. Seek. Seek out new classes and workshops for yourself. Practice with those that you may not normally gravitate towards, try something new and never stop learning.
  9. Serve. Ask yourself where can I serve? Who can I serve? Where can I use my gifts and talents to leave this world a better place than when I came into it?
  10. Reevaluate your inner circle. This may be the most important step you take. “Do life” with those that celebrate you and make your heart smile. There is no time in this life to share space with anyone who doesn’t’ support your dreams or simply tolerates you. No, surround yourself with those who celebrate who you are and are “life-giving.” Avoid dream snatchers and people who do not believe in what you are capable of.
  11. Get on your mat…alone. Go outside or retreat to a quiet space in your home. Perhaps playing instrumental music if needed or else no music at all. Simply move. Breathe. It will be a natural and beautiful flow. This will also spark new movement and creativity.

These steps will help you stay on your true, authentic pathway, as well as spark, or re-spark your enthusiasm. Get back to basics when it comes to dreams and passions. When you are doing what you are suppose to be doing, you are most joyous…and what is that? It is up to you to determine that.

Remember, the world needs what you have. You are full of possibility and amazing-ness. Don’t waste one more second of your time with those that tell you otherwise!

What makes you come alive? Do that! Chances are you have been doing it since you were a small child. I promise you, that when you are doing what you are suppose to be doing, “your people” will find you!

Promise me right now: I will only hang out with people who celebrate me, not just tolerate me.

Okay…it’s sealed!

[Photo Credit: Kanilicious | CC BY]
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Michelle Thielen

Michelle Thielen is a speaker, yoga festival and Yoga Alliance presenter. She is the founder of YogaFaith, an international, nonprofit, Registered Yoga Alliance School, that is aiding in the rescue and restoration of human traffick survivors locally and globally.Michelle's first book, Stretching Your Faith, was published Spring of 2016. It is an in-depth, comprehensive, fully illustrated book that includes 90 minute, 3-class instructional video for every level of practitioner. Michelle's life changing, YogaFaith Teacher Training's take place across the globe. She dedicates every Spring and Fall to the Pacific Northwest, allowing folks to simply unplug and retreat in the beautiful spaces as well.
Michelle resides in the Seattle area where she is passionate about teaching Ashtanga, Power, Sculpt yoga and of course YogaFaith. You may catch her at Yoga Journal Live Events, or come experience her Ashtanga this Summer at Seattle's Tulafest July 9th.

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