In the “Secrets of Self-Care Success” article we talked about how it can be difficult to make permanent changes in self-care habits unless you are able to make them automatic, small and attainable and you are consistent through making yourself accountable. When you know what you need to change to take better care of yourself, you can get off the roller coaster which undermines your new, healthier habits. However, you first need to know which changes will be most beneficial as you cultivate stronger, more supportive habits. Those changes are highly dependent upon which phase of well being you are currently experiencing.
We all go through different phases in our lives which require us to care for ourselves in different ways. When you can recognize where you are, you can begin to understand what you need to do for yourself to move through your current phase and into greater energy and vitality. In order to cultivate greater levels of resilience and sustainability, it’s essential to care for yourself in the ways you that your current phase of well being requires.
In this article we are going to explore three basic phases of well being and how to recognize the dominant phase in your life.
The Three Phases of Well Being – Burnout/Depletion – Recovery/Regeneration – Productivity
Most people come to see me when they are in the Burnout/Depletion phase of well being. Burnout/Depletion isn’t usually a normal part of a thriving and healthy life. It’s what happens when your self-care practices aren’t sustaining you. Some of us, due to our Human Design energy type, are naturally more vulnerable to depletion. However all of us (regardless of type) have the capacity to use our creative skills in productive ways when we are not in chronic depletion.
Ideally Productivity Goes Hand-In-Hand with Recovery/Regeneration. We all have natural cycles which call us into rest and regeneration. Some cycles are longer than others. The level of vitality that can be experienced in daily life is determined by the way you work with these natural cycles to engage in your unique dance between recovery and productivity.
In general, each Human Design energy type has a different rhythm for rest and recovery, and a different way that they are designed to be productive in the world. Your specific design requires you to refine your own understanding of your unique creative expression in the world and how you can best manage your cycles of recovery/regeneration and productivity to naturally contribute what you are here to express. We will explore more about productivity in a later post. For now let’s look at how Recovery/Regeneration differs from Burnout/Depletion.
Burnout/Depletion vs Recovery/Regeneration – Once you fall into chronic Burnout/Depletion it is difficult to get out, especially if you are an energy type which doesn’t have the consistent energy to work and generate more energy. In Human Design these energy types are known as the Manifestor, Reflector or Projector.
Generators and Manifesting Generator energy types, who have consistent energy to work, are also not immune to Burnout/Depletion. Nothing drains a Generator or a Manifesting Generator more quickly than working at something that is not fulfilling them. So my point here is that everyone is susceptible to burnout and depletion. And the way you know that you’re in it is when you discover that a good night’s sleep, a vacation, or some simple lifestyle changes don’t fully rejuvenate you.
You move into the Recovery/Regeneration phase when you have tired yourself out in the Productivity phase. You may feel deep exhaustion at times, and a need to retreat and rest to gather your energy. You may deal with frustration, anger, disappointments or even resentments. But the difference between Recovery/Regeneration and Burnout/Depletion is that you actually do recover your energy in the Recovery phase and can return to Productivity relatively easily. Your exhaustion doesn’t hold you back for very long. When you are in Burnout/Depletion you feel chronically exhausted. You may feel spurts of energy which don’t last very long, but when you use up that energy you find yourself in the deep well of exhaustion again.
(It is normal for Projectors, Reflectors and even Manifestors to experience spurts of energy followed by a need to rest, but when these energy types are not burned out they too can recover fairly easily).
When you are in the Burnout/Depletion phase you don’t recover very quickly from exhaustion. Most likely you don’t know how to recover or underestimate the amount of recovery time you need. In extreme cases you may experience illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome or adrenal burnout. In milder cases you may just feel chronically cranky or out of sorts, because you have depleted your energy stores to a critical level. If you’re finding that it doesn’t take much to set you off emotionally or to exhaust you physically, and if this is an ongoing issue, then you are probably in the Burnout/Depletion phase.
These three phases aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, you can be in one phase in your financial life and in another phase in your family life. There usually is a dominant phase, however, that you experience throughout. And when you identify the dominant phase you can begin to identify the self-care practices which will be most supportive and stabilizing for you.
What is the dominant well being phase that you’re currently experiencing?