Burners. Picture a beautiful 6 burner Viking stove. Let’s name your burners. What needs ‘gas’ or fuel to burn; who and what in your life do you need to give energy to?
If you are a parent or in a relationship, you may name one for your children or partner (maybe together, maybe separate); family and friends, community, work, faith, travel/adventure. Did you name one for you?
I learned that a gas stove can’t support all burners on high at the same time. Similar to your life. It isn’t sustainable to give all your gas to all of your burners simultaneously, something has to give. For women, I believe we are quick to turn down – or turn off – the gas on our burner for self-care in order to fuel the other burners and needs of those around us. Here’s a question: When you were naming your burners, did you put yours in the back? We literally and figuratively put ourselves on a back burner, putting others’ needs and other priorities ahead of our own.
Using this analogy, visualize the fire under each burner. When your kids are at school, is their burner on simmer or low (never off when it comes to our kids, they are always on our mind)? When you are at work, that burner is rightfully on high, but that means that family and friends or community or self-care may go cold.
Assessing your burners isn’t necessarily a moment-to-moment activity, but it is definitely applicable day-to-day or week-to-week. When was the last time your partner burner was turned up to receive your undivided attention, to really connect? Has your self-care burner been on low or off for so long that the pilot light might have gone out? Are work and your kids on high so there is no fuel for the other 4 burners in your life? If you can assess where you are giving fuel and where energy is running high, you can also determine what in your life needs more time and attention. Determine which burner you can – or should – turn down in order to fuel another.
Visualize your burners
Note where you give energy and where the fuel is running high
Be mindful of your burner and assure you are fueling yourself in the ways that make you whole
Balance out your burners so they each get lit and have a chance to burn on a regular basis
Oh, and while you’re at it, it’s not selfish to move your burner front and center.