One of the hard-won lessons of burnout for me is that unless I make huge, sweeping changes in my life, I will keep hopping right back on the hamster wheel—not because I’m a workaholic per se, but because I have a certain aversion to moderation. Consistency, predictability, the daily plod…yeah, not appealing.

I’ve come to recognize that, for me, avoiding burnout doesn’t mean doing everything in moderation. I still go through my crazy creative cycles of highs and lows. Some days I push myself physically to the point of exhaustion that I can’t but spend the following day sitting on my butt or lying in bed reading. Sometimes by body won’t be able to stomach alcohol or coffee for days, and I wait for the tide to turn so I can indulge once more. I am not at all about moderation.

So what does life after burnout look like for me? I give priority to the things that give me the most joy, rather than the things I “should” be doing. That means the first things I schedule into my calendar are my trapeze classes and meditation/energy work, and then I plan all my social get-togethers and Minds On Fire work around that.

It also means that I avoid doing anything out of fear, obligation, or guilt. This is always a challenge around the holidays! I try as much as possible to keep my head down, stay away from drama, and cut off energy drains, so I can enter the new year relatively unscathed.

There remains an unsettled quality to my life, which is still very much in transition on so many fronts, but I frolic among rainbows and unicorns much more often than before. Or let’s say, I give myself permission to. That’s probably closer to the truth.

When I let it slip to a friend that I wasn’t sure whether or not I was doing the responsible, “grown up” thing, she pushed right back: “Ysette, don’t you think you get to decide what adulthood means for you?” Oh, yeah. I teach that. I actually am practicing what I preach—I just need to make peace with it!

On that note, I set three intentions for the new year:

  1. Do more of what I love
  2. Minimize bullshit
  3. Deepen relationships

If you consider it, they are really three aspects of one principle: maximize joy.


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