#MsMindful: I Have Found The Key To Safeguarding Myself From Burnout!
Yesterday, while mindlessly scrolling down my Facebook feed (yes, I’m guilty of it, too, and no, I’m not proud of it), I stumbled upon a video about millennials who have found a way to live the “dream life”. Digital Nomads, as they are called, carry their work to picturesque locations, fill Excel sheets while they sip on their fresh coconut water that was plucked from that coconut tree they can see just a few metres away, and gorge on avocado toast for lunch - guilt free. They’re not bound to a place - whether that’s a city, or an office. They can go anywhere, anytime they like, and they don’t even need the promise of a steady Internet connection anymore. They have hotspot!
Honestly, it sounds tempting - to be free of fetters of routine, to not be boxed in four walls of an office building, even if it is a corner office with a covetable view, to not spend hours stuck in endless traffic jams, while your spine becomes shorter and belly fatter. This Digital Nomad life seemed alluring, and pretty realistic for someone with work like mine.
But, the more I thought about it, I came to realise that I would suck at being a Digital Nomad! First, I can’t work from home to save my life! Place a bed within 10 feet of me, and you can be certain you’ll find me asleep and snoring in no time. It’s a thing. I’ve tried it. The sheer presence of a bed transforms me from bookworm Belle to Sleeping Beauty! But, more importantly, this free-floating work-life lifestyle, on deeper evaluation, began to sound exhausting. I mean, when I’m eating my avocado toast, I just want to eat my avocado toast. I don’t want to think about what I should put on the seventeenth slide of a presentation that should have finished at the seventh slide! As much as I love the idea of not being bound to a 9 to 5, and not spending a second longer than I need to, at work just to show face or some such ludicrous social mandate, I don’t really like the idea of letting my work, become my lifestyle.
Now, of course I recognise that being a Digital Nomad is not synonymous with being wired all the time, and that’s where the epiphany occurred. It doesn’t matter whether you work out of an office or at a beach, what is important is to learn to compartmentalise. And there!
That’s your golden word: COMPARTMENTALISE.
This morning, while I drove to work, something I actually look forward to every day, I contemplated what it is that leaves me excited about a Monday morning, or not be exhausted by Friday as much as, well, a lot of people I know, or as much as we are told to hate the work week. And I figured it’s the fact that when I’m not at work, I’m NOT at work. I’ll admit, I’ve tried to take work back home, to be a part of this wired generation that’s too cool for leisure. Each time, I have failed to live up to the busy-ness that is worshipped nowadays, the escape from which seems to be becoming a Digital Nomad, the other extreme. Each time, I have either been tempted by the latest show on Netflix, or that impromptu coffee or drink with a friend, or one of the three books I’m reading at any given time… you get the drift. Each time, I’ve found something that’s felt more important than spending a few extra hours working, while I’m no longer at work. As I have come to realise, it is exactly this that has saved me from needless anguish and burnout. When you learn to leave work at work, or in essence, set boundaries for yourself, with a semblance of routine, it will not matter as much which part of the world you’re in, and how often you can pack up and leave.
I realise, too, that this doesn’t hold true only for work. Over the last few years, I have noticed a remarkable increase in my happiness level, despite some challenging personal situations. The reason is simple: I, finally, at the age of 30, learnt to have boundaries. One of these boundaries were to not allow myself to give to others even when it became too much for me. This meant walking away from a social visit with a sense of closure for that particular meeting - to be picked up later, where we left!
But, until then: COMPARTMENTALISE.
Image Source: Pexels