How to Recover from Burnouts and Stay Motivated
Being enough is a ‘true peak,’ and that is all that matters
Life is a collection of neverending peaks.
We often feel that reaching a peak in life would signify the end of a particular journey, that we would finally be happy and taste everlasting glory. But that's not true. Reaching a peak doesn’t mean we’ll see blue skies with rainbows, ponies, and all things great. Even so, it’ll only be temporary. What we’ll most likely see is another fucking peak, taller than the one we just climbed.
Life does not end after reaching specific achievements. It moves on. And the happiness and recognition that come from a peak will fade.
What comes after that is often the "OK, now what? What's next?" question. And usually, what's next is often something bigger, better, or more ambitious. We are human beings for Christ's sake. We are not pussies. We don't stop. We go for more. Or at least society will force us to reach higher. (It's all a sick joke.)
But as you may know from experience, looking at the taller mountain doesn’t always feel good. It fuels our insignificance, inadequacy, and insecurity. Imagine spending so much time and energy getting to where we are, only to see something better staring right back at us. It stresses us out. We don't think we can afford to stop. And worse, we think we are useless and disregard all the hard work we made so far.
So despite the frown on our face and heavy legs, we say, “Jeez, here we go again…,” and sluggishly crawl up the next mountain. And perhaps you are the super optimistic type. You could march up the mountain, hopeful of finding everlasting happiness and meaning, and say, “Jeez, that next mountain sure looks better than the one I’m standing now; I'm gonna work hard for it.”
Either way, we will still come to face to face with another peak. Maybe this time our mind, body, and spirit start to waver a little. And our burnout and insecurities start to become unbearable. Yet, we are still urged to climb up the next mountain because, well, we are human beings. (It's still the same, sick joke.)
Now might be a good time to cue the magic question.
"OK, now what? What's next?"
When do we say, “this peak is good enough for me.”
The next peak is not the problem; it has always been there. It will always be there. And we will face it sooner or later as life goes on.
The problem is, when do we say, “this peak is good enough for me.”
Or “I quite like this peak. Let me stay here a little longer and enjoy the view from here, maybe do a little yoga or meditation or take some photos and do some reflections while I’m here.”
Or maybe, “You know what, let me rest up, relax, and release all the stress that I had accumulated coming up to my current peak. What’s the point of climbing the next peak in front of me when I’m burned out, stressed the fuck out, and feel that the next peak is dreadful and impossible.”
The least we can do is to prep ourselves and give ourselves the best shot at conquering the next peak. Not jump into it, thinking we are invincible while having arrows on our backs, bruises on our knees, and a worn-out mind from our last battle.
Fuck, the next peak can wait a while. Let’s learn to rest, relax, and release first. Maybe that will help us get into a better flow for the next mountain. And perhaps that will serve us better in the long term.
Being enough is a 'true peak.'
You might say, “It’s not fair. Why should I stop when other people can keep doing it?”
Maybe other people have learned the hidden lesson of the peaks, and they have fallen enough to respect themselves before taking on the next peak.
Perhaps the secret is to accept that we can’t always be perfect, happy, comfortable, and full of energy; there will be moments, especially once we reach our peaks, that we will feel empty, frustrated, and disappointed, and that’s OK.
Maybe when we see enough peaks, we will learn to let go of idealizing what we don’t have and look at what we have and where we are currently standing. We rest the fuck up. And when we are ready, we take our first step onto the next peak, knowing full well we will still stumble and fall, and that’s OK.
Maybe it is through those moments of pain and suffering that ‘true peaks’ form – a peak not in the external, physical world but within ourselves, our soul, and our mind to serve us for the long term. That being enough is a ‘true peak,’ and that is all that matters.
OK, now what? What's next?
What's next? There's no what's next. Rest up, my friend. You deserve it.
We will not find joy, meaning, or purpose in what we do even when those things are inherently meaningful when we are stressed out of our minds. The next big thing will always be there waiting for us. But we only have one mind, spirit, and body. Learn to take care of yourself first. Learn to enjoy the little victories. And learn to be enough. Because if we are not ready, we will not deal well with the pain and suffering that will inevitably meet us there as well.