Burnout has become a serious epidemic in modern society. It’s even recently been recognized as a global medical disorder by the World Health Organization. It’s a problem many specialists are trying to solve in all different ways.
Doctors prescribe rest and good nutrition.
Therapists encourage a focus on mental health.
Wellness specialists recommend yoga, mindfulness, and disconnecting from our devices.
Productivity experts try to help us streamline our day so we can accomplish more in less time.
These are all useful solutions, and are certainly helpful in their own ways. But the fact remains that whatever we’re doing so far isn’t working. Our cultural struggle with burnout isn’t improving. In fact, it’s getting worse.
I believe we need to think bigger.
It’s time to look deeper.
As working parents in particular, with all of the complexities and demands of this stage of life, we need a new approach. Our problems aren’t going to go away with mani-pedis or even a weekend away. We need to address burnout in a way that actually works over the long run, and doesn’t just focus on surface-level band-aid solutions.
Working parents juggle demands from their “outside world,” such as work responsibilities, managing a household, and staying connected in their relationships. They simultaneously have a robust “internal world” that’s functioning behind the scenes, which includes things like emotions, thoughts, energy, and an ever-shifting identity.
There’s an ongoing tension between those two worlds. In our current achievement-oriented culture, the urgent external demands often win out, which leaves us feeling out of touch with our internal self… inevitably leading to exhaustion and unhappiness.
The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is an alternative approach to working parenthood to help working parents blend their external and their internal worlds in a way that works for them.
There are three specific parts to the Whole SELF Lifestyle™.
Our External World
Working parents are juggling a lot of different areas of life: work, marriage, parenting, household management, etc. Often requests and obligations are coming at us so quickly, we don’t have time to be proactive. We react to what’s most urgent in the moment. Being in reaction mode in all of these different areas of our lives can make us feel scattered, stretched thin, depleted, and resentful. Until we take the time to evaluate everything that’s coming at us from the outside world (and then get strategic about how it’s all working as a whole), it’ll be hard to make informed decisions about which areas to focus on in any given moment. The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ helps working parents integrate all of the different areas of our lives into one functioning whole so we are the ones in control.
Our Internal World
Becoming a parent has a way of shattering everything we thought we knew about ourselves. Our identity goes through a transformation, a deepening. We let go of old parts of ourselves. We try to integrate who we used to be with who we are becoming. But so many working parents are too busy to really explore this shifting identity in any useful way. When we’re not clear about our inside world, we become increasingly persuaded by outside influences. We disconnect from our internal values, desires, and needs. This is what makes life as a working parent feel like a grind, like an endless loop of non-stop responsibilities. The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ promotes a process of self-discovery for parents that honors the different parts of who they are, so they can approach every situation they encounter with a solid sense of SELF. This gives them peace of mind that the choices they make are what’s right for them.
Blending Our External and Internal World
Creating a fulfilling life is not a destination. It’s not an outcome. It’s not something to achieve. It’s a practice. It’s an ongoing discipline. It’s a way of being in the world. The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ is a philosophy and a process that helps busy working parents up-level the baseline of their thoughts, beliefs, perspectives, choices, actions, behaviors, and experiences. Over time, they gradually improve their internal experience as well as our external circumstances. The Whole SELF Lifestyle™ encourages working parents to replace the constant searching for answers outside of themselves, with a reliable and repeatable framework that will support them in discovering the right answers, for them, in this season of their lives.
I am tired of seeing good people struggle through these important years of their lives. I’m tired of seeing a whole generation of kids grow up thinking, this is just what life is.
It’s time we honor the unique lives of every working parent, and stop trying to apply one-size-fits-all or quick-fix solutions to complex problems.
© 2019 Sarah Argenal. The Argenal Institute. All rights reserved.