We often assume that fulfilling work, work that motivates us, work we feel enthusiastic about, and work we are fully engaged in, will provide us with a protective barrier and immunity from burnout.
And yet even while enthusiastically embracing our work we can inadvertently stretch, or even abandon, the very boundaries we need for self-care, rejuvenation, perspective, and balance.
Without boundaries, we may create an opening for burnout while doing work we love.
When we love our work
When we love the work we do, we willingly and enthusiastically pour ourselves into it. We do not hesitate to invest time and energy into our work. We feel inspired by our work and devoted to it. We take on additional projects, an extra bit of work or responsibility here and there. We may willingly increase the number of hours or days we work. We offer our support, advice and help to colleagues. We go ‘above and beyond’ because we love what we do. We feel energized by being engaged in work that aligns with our values and how we see ourselves. When we are personally connected to our work, we feel the quality and value of this connection. These experiences make our work feel all that more fulfilling.
This sounds quite positive, and it is. Those who experience this kind of relationship with their work, often describe their work as meaningful and purposeful. But even work that is personally fulfilling requires healthy boundaries to prevent burnout.
Our ‘above and beyond’ approach to our work, an over commitment of our time and energy, can begin to erode our personal boundaries without our being fully aware of it. Fulfilling work, we once defined and experienced as meaningful, work that we once felt personally connected to and motivated by can slowly become work dominated by external “shoulds.” These include uncompromising directives to do better, work harder, be more efficient, be more productive, make no mistakes, be the best, be at the top of one’s game, be perfect.
Healthy boundaries are appropriate and necessary in any work in which we are engaged. So too is tending compassionately to those boundaries by being aware of the shifts taking place in our energy, motivation, emotions, relationships, attitudes, and behaviors. Without clear demarcations for time away from work, time to engage in other activities and interests, time to exercise other skills we have, time to connect with our relationships, time to rest and relax, time to process the day, time to be quiet and reflect, time for physical movement and nourishment, time to feel the value of our lives apart from work, we endanger the very work we love and open ourselves to burnout.
These are the reflective conversations and practical strategies at Canvas Career Counselling. Contact email@example.com for more information or to book a consultation call.