Summary: This exercise walks you through the creation of a personalized burnout and restoration scale. The scale is a tool that can help you better notice and prevent significant stress and burnout in your sponsorship year. This exercise can be done as a group or individually. You will need to print off or draw the graduated scale below.
1. This exercise will ask you to imagine how it feels at each point on the scale, at green, yellow, and red. First, start at the red area, at the bottom of the scale. How might you recognize you’re at a red point (not doing well at all, at a 0 or 1 on a scale from 1-10)? What are the thoughts, emotions, and/or physical cues you experience at red? What habits or behaviours do you engage in? What might someone close to you notice about you when you’re at a red point ? Write these things down to the left of the scale in the red area in the box provided for you. If you run out of space, please feel free to write outside the box.
2. Below the scale, try to brainstorm any activities or behaviours that would move you toward a yellow or green. It is possible, and even likely, that not all activities that restore you when you’re feeling okay are accessible to you when you’re at a red point. What would be restorative for you while at this point? Jot these things down in the box to the right of the scale.
3. Next, jump up to the green area. How do you know you’re at a green point (feeling great, at a 9-10 on a scale from 1-10)? Are there any particular actions you do, or physical cues, emotions, or thoughts you experience? What might someone close to you notice about you? Jot down any of these thoughts, emotions, physical signs, and behaviors in the green area, to the left of the scale.
4. To the right of the green part of the scale, mark down any activities and behaviors you engage in that help you maintain green. Another way to think about this is to ask yourself these questions: Which activities or habits, if I were unable to engage in them, would move me down the scale to yellow or red? Which activities, if interrupted or inaccessible to me, would impact my wellbeing? Jot them down.
5. Finally, move to the yellow part of the scale. You might be wondering why this exercise asks you to move to yellow last. For some, it can be challenging to notice our ‘in between’ experiences, when we’re not feeling great, but we’re also not feeling terrible. One goal of this exercise is to better equip you to notice the ‘yellow’ signs and respond before you progress to a red. (You may also wish to add additional lines at other points of the scale.)
Turning back to the yellow part of the scale; how do you know you’re at a yellow? What are the thoughts, emotions, and/or physical cues you experience at a yellow point? What habits or behaviours do you engage in? What might someone close to you notice? Write these things down to the left of the scale.
6. Below the scale, try to brainstorm any activities or behaviours that would restore you to a yellow point. It’s possible, and even likely, that not all activities that maintain you at green will be accessible to you or helpful to you when you’re at a yellow point. What would be restorative for you at a yellow point? Jot these things down to the right of scale.
Reflect independently, or as a group, on the following questions:
● How was the experience of making the scale?
● What about the process was helpful?
● Were any restorative activities accessible to you at some but not all colour points?
● What about your scale was expected or unexpected?
● How might you use your scale in the sponsorship year?