This week, 'Therapy Begins with Tea' steeps on the differences between proving to ourselves and proving ourselves to others & offers a body based check-in to help you refocus your intentions for the new year.
Therapy Begins with Tea is a weekly newsletter based on the themes that come up in my sessions as a therapist who specializes in imposter syndrome, attachment styles in romantic relationships, and our psychological relationships with money. Each week consists of a 'steep' in thought reflection, an accompanying body based check-in, and tea card intentions for the week to come.
'Steep' in Thought (3-5 min)
Burnout: What is it (and why is it so hard to fix)?
Alas, the sweet taste of rest from the Thanksgiving holiday is gone and we’re right back to the regularly scheduled programming of end-of-year countdowns. For some, stuck at their desk, bored & begrudging, the clock seems to tick backwards. For others, the urgency of deadlines, personal and professional, is an overwhelming frenzy. And for most, we’re running on reserves this time of year.
Burnout is the experience of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion from the prolonged and excessive stress of our jobs. When we’re burnt out, we’re not only tired, we also feel distant & disconnected -- from our job & from life. We become increasingly critical of ourselves & our ability to perform our job roles competently, let alone find any sense of fulfillment in them. We feel hollow.
The antidote to burnout
The coping strategies that we’re used to no longer seem to work -- if anything, they feel like just another thing on our list. And when we tell anyone how we’re feeling, we’re told to just rest. That’ll fix the burn out.
We do need to un-plug sometimes -- the distance gives us space to rest, relax, and refocus our energy. But the weeks (or months) of rest we truly need is rarely, if ever, accessible to us. Fortunately, the antidote to burnout isn’t actually un-plugging -- it’s changing up what we’re plugging into. It’s taking inventory of the people & places that recharge & restore us. And that usually takes one of two forms -- we lean towards experiences that remind us of something bigger than ourselves, like nature, or we reconnect with our inner child & with the things that brought us joy when we were younger (reading, sports, collecting, crafting, etc.).
Because when we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to get through the week, we need more than rest: We need to feel full again. Check out the full body check-in below to practice the balance of un-plugging & plugging in to recharge.
Full Body Check-In (2-4 min)
Take a moment to breathe. Inhale in, exhale out, repeat. Let your body set the pace, not trying to change or adjust the breath. Feel the air come in, circle through your body, and leave through the mouth in a relaxed sigh. Our breath is a reminder of the re-grounding system we have within us whenever we need it. Repeat a few more cycles.
On the next breath, think of a time that you wanted to prove yourself to someone. To the boss giving your performance review, to a family member, to a first date. How did it feel? Invigorating? Anxiety provoking? Rewarding? What happened afterwards? How long did that satisfaction stay with you? Did it bring on new expectations to meet? Check in with any sensations or emotions that come up.
Now, think of a time where you proved something to yourself. Getting through school, navigating a health challenge, dating again after a hard break-up. What did that feel like? What words, emotions, sensations come up? What happened afterwards? What did it teach you?
How have these experiences, the external validation & the internal affirmation, had an impact on you? Which feels more motivating? Which do you want to prioritize?
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