When is this craziness going to end? It feels like we are being pushed over the edge. It's been three days and we don't know who our next President will be. It is more than anxiety-producing; its debilitating. We feel anger, fear, overwhelm and exhaustion..
For many of us, these are not new sensations. Many of us have experienced burnout at other times in our lives. Originally defined in 1975, pertaining to the workplace, burnout has three components: 1. Emotional Exhaustion 2. Depersonalization, depletion of empathy 3. Decreased sense of accomplishment/feeling like everything is futile and nothing makes a difference. It is the emotional exhaustion that wreaks the most havoc on our bodies. When I started The Gathering I was committed to being a source of comfort for women who do too much. I wanted to nurture women who, like me, had spent their lives giving to others..
What has become clearer to me is the emotional and physical toll this over-giving has on women. In her book Down Girl; the Logic of Misogyny, Kate Mann is of the opinion that there are two types of human beings; human beings whose moral obligation is to be a human being and human givers whose moral obligation is to give their humanity to human beings; including their time, attention, patience, love, rest, bodies, hopes and dreams, Any doubt who the women are? Yes- we are Human Givers! In their recent book on the subject, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski suggest that this exhaustion comes when our feelings get caught in our bodies, unable to find their way out. It is up to us to learn how to complete that cycle freeing us from the choke-hold of stress. Human Givers, (women), burn out from giving too much. The authors suggest that "we get exhausted and wonder if we can accomplish any of the things we hope for without destroying ourselves in the process. We ask ourselves if it’s time to quit.”
We are exhausted from giving, from hoping, from watching the news, from caring for our families, from working and from worrying about our country and the world.
We have to actually look closely at our burnout, and separate the stressors, the things that create the stress from the stress itself.
We are told that we have to DO something to complete the cycle of stress to effectively deal with the overwhelm. Any one of these will work!
CONNECTION WITH NATURE
For my family, CONNECTION was how we dealt with our stress last night.
My dad turned 95 years old and we had a Zoom birthday party, with his younger brother, my mom, my brother and his husband, my sister, my husband, his six grandchildren and a few significant others. We sang to him, shared stories, pictures and poems and laughed and cried. My dad has been involved with politics throughout his life. We have campaigned for many candidates, celebrating on some Election Days and licking our wounds on others. My dad taught us to be good sports, tell the truth and stand up for what's right. I thought a lot about what a great leader he has been in our family and in his professional life. We honor his honesty, integrity and loyalty and yearn for a leader with those values.
This is a hard time, but we can learn and grow from the experience.
We need to acknowledge our emotional exhaustion, to complete the stress cycle by breathing, moving, hugging, laughing, connecting, trusting, and crying.
We will get through this time of exhaustion. We will come through this Year of Burnout. How? By digging deep, connecting with our values and living from them. In her newsletter, Maria Shriver, who also has had a lot of ups and downs on Election Days, shares her thoughts about getting through this time. "I'm going to ask my higher self to lead me forward. I need her today. I need her steadiness. I need her wisdom. I need her ability to Rise Above. I need her tenderness. I need the love she has because there is a lot of hate and anger out there. I need her love to help dissolve that hate." We all need to connect with our best selves, our higher selves and be guided by them. Maybe we will have a better sense tomorrow about what our future holds. But no matter what, we have our selves, our truths, our values. We will not give up. We will forge ahead and live life with honesty, integrity and openness. We will conquer hate with love. We will get through this. As Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life; it goes on." And so it does. We will prevail. With love and light,