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The Body

Burnout to Balance

Lindsay Stripling

Reiki master Kelsey J. Patel shares how journaling can help you release the root causes of burnout.

TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY, while incredibly difficult, can also be an incredible opportunity to look at what in our lives we can shift, upgrade, or adjust. This might even mean changing your belief system in a way that benefits both your individual self and the collective.

So often when people are experiencing change in their lives, the physical body reacts and responds to the perceived stress and goes into a state of burnout. Whatever the manifestation, the root cause of burnout is the same: The body, mind, and spirit are out of harmony or balance. To get back into harmony, you need to support the mechanics and physics of the entire system.

When I journal regularly, I get more familiar with what’s going on with me, what’s controlling me that I might not be aware of. Journaling allows a person to pluck thoughts out of their mind and put them down on a piece of paper so they can become a witness to their own mind. It’s like catching a butterfly and examining it under a microscope to understand what it’s really made of.

Writing brings feelings to the surface so I can process them and see what’s really coming up. Most of the time, my emotional reaction has nothing to do with what I thought it was about when I started writing. Recognizing this is a powerful boost to self-awareness.
In your journal, write the letters F R E E vertically down the left edge of your page. After each letter, answer the following prompts.

FEEL YOUR FEELINGS

We are all sensitive beings. Make a list of all your feelings and fears, including good feelings or experiences, under the letter F, and make a checkmark next to the ones that make you feel free and good at this time in your life. Make an X next to the ones that do not make you feel free. You don’t have to solve anything. Just make the list.

RELEASE THE OLD WAYS

Take a moment to connect with who you want to be right now, regardless of whether it seems possible. What is the difference between you right now and this you that you imagine you could be? Look at each obstacle. Is it a real obstacle or is it an obstacle you could overcome in some way at some point, even if you aren’t sure how?

Do you believe that you can overcome those obstacles?

ENGAGE WITH YOUR HEART, NOT YOUR MIND

Under this first E, make two lists: Head and Heart. Under each, make a list of the thoughts or words that come to mind when you tell yourself, “Your needs and truths matter and should be your priority.” What does your head say about this, and what does your heart say about this? Which responses seem the most true? The most useful? The most real to you? The most possible? Reflect on the differences.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Your feelings can teach you about yourself if you fully bring your awareness to them. Under the final E, make a list of all the feelings you remember having felt in the past 24 hours. List every feeling you can remember—boredom, amusement, sadness, hope—and what you were doing at that moment that sparked that feeling.

Then, without anyone else listening, practice saying each of these things out loud, such as, “Today I was bored when I …” or “Today I felt really sad because …” Start with the easy ones and work up to the more intense feelings or the feelings caused by more complex situations.

Saying these sentences out loud will help you own your truth and your feelings so you can begin to feel more safe and at ease in your body and with your feelings.

Check in with your FREE periodically and keep in mind what came up that was new to you or interesting.

These are all clues to who you really are and what kind of life you really need in order to feel that sense of freedom in which all things become possible, even in times of uncertainty.