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Compliments of Dave-F via Flickr

When discussing work, the word “burnout” is an all too common occurrence. Exhaustion as a result of company directives is however only a partial explanation. In this culture, we voluntarily push ourselves to the brink to achieve more.

Why is it that “more” is seemingly synonymous with joy, even though we often see the opposite result? I think the answer is not more, but proper appreciation of the items we own. Your current abode, if remodeled, retrofitted, and updated, might just be (albeit smaller) the palace of your dreams.

More is not necessarily better, particularly when it results in a greater degree of insurance, cleaning, maintenance, furniture, and accessories. Less equates to increased leisure time, decreased stress, and an opportunity for your creative juices to foment – a rarity that happens only when you are not at full tilt.

Paradoxically, an expanded world view occurs when we relinquish our obsession with stuff, and step off the treadmill of nonstop achievement. When was the last time you “took a day off?” I don’t mean simply staying away from the office, but rather “unplugging” so that you were not privy to your umbilical cord of electronic devices? The ubiquity of touching a keyboard is something unimaginable even ten years ago. Not only has our materialism chained us to constant checking, but it has made us by force into solitary persons. Stepping away from the ever escalating “to do list” involves taking an honest inventory of your life. Consider the following:

  • Could you live with less? If so, downsize in an effort to cut costs, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. This will necessitate taking stock of your finances, eliminating unnecessary recurring expenses, and negotiating on the remaining items. Can your service providers get you a better deal? Asking is the first step. If utilities are electronically debited, many times we lose track. Do you really take advantage of the extended cable that’s costing you extra?
  • Are you able to downshift by working from home, taking time off, not overloading yourself with projects, and by simply saying “no?” Prioritize those things in your life that are truly important, and you’ll find that time at the office (or time spent on work related pursuits) probably doesn’t top the list.
  • Look at your space (and your life) with fresh eyes. What do you appreciate, and how could you share your appreciation by the care you bestow upon those things? “Bloom where you’re planted” is a platitude that reminds us to reinvent and rediscover the richness with which we’re surrounded. Sara Ban Breathnach’s gratitude journal is a terrific way to be mindful of the everyday miracles we take for granted, and to make visible our many “hidden” blessings.
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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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