What kind of Effort are you putting in?

I have been doing a lot of yoga lately and am finding it a great form of exercise. It raises my heart rate just enough not to cause my adrenal recovery to slip backwards. Yoga also allows me to build strength and flexibility, as well as balance from a physical point of view. It requires a great deal of effort to master the postures, which is important for me. It also provides a full hour of stillness and focus, where my mind doesn’t wander. In that way, I see it as a form of meditation.

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It is by no means an easy form of exercise. I find there are times in class when I’m tempted to slack off, or just coast in a posture and I’m sure the instructor might not even notice. But it’s just not my style. I like to put in a lot of effort in everything that I do. I don’t like half measures or to deliver poor quality. That is a constant in my personal life and my professional life.

This personality trait of mine has been problematic as I recover from burnout. The chronic fatigue I experienced is difficult to relay and of course, no-one can see or understand how I feel. There were times that everything, small or large required just too much energy from me. It meant that I could not give my all to everything I did, because my energy tank was completely empty.

I could not be the mother I wanted to be. I could not be patient, and jump up every few minutes to pour them juice, cut them apples or play with them. I could not keep my house as neat and clean as I would like it to be. I could not work and contribute to the household income, or to society. I could not realise my own hopes and dreams.

This feeling of being trapped, or paralyzed, is more frustrating than my words can explain. For about two years, I could not be the person I’d like to be. That is a hard thing to cope with, along with the adjustment to my autoimmune disease and the resultant lifestyle changes I had to make. To say the last two years have been difficult, is an enormous understatement.

Now, I’m able to do a lot more than I have been able to do in the past few years. I can go out more than once a day, I can enjoy my children, I can cook dinner everyday and still find strength for a yoga class. I’m still deciding whether yoga takes energy or gives me energy, but there is no question that it is beneficial for me. I’m going further in postures than I have ever been able to do, and am so pleased with these small accomplishments.

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I have not accomplished much in terms of professional deliverables (well, apart from the pending book), so it is important that I feel myself achieving something worthwhile. It’s good for me to feel good about myself. Deep down, I know that I am capable of having great success in my work. But the waiting to recover has been so frustrating.

It is important that I maintain this belief in myself as I embark on a scary new career path. But I do know that my tendency to put in a lot of effort, is something that will help me to achieve success. The very fact that I don’t like slacking off is probably what led me to burnout. But on the flip side, it’s what will help me to achieve well in a profession that is aligned to my talents and interests.

Are you slacking off when no-one’s watching? Are you giving everything in your life your all? Are you taking out the trash with care and mindfulness? I think life is better when we apply ourselves fully to every single thing we do in our day.

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Kathy
I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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