“Self-care is defined as the active participation in enhancing the quality of your health.” Unknown
What happens when you are stressed to the max and there is no end in sight? If you continue on this path you may experience burnout. This reminds me of a good friend of mine who was sharing with me about a coworker of hers who was in the process of losing her job. She had started to isolate, felt like everything was hopeless, irritated often, everything was a crisis, and needed a mental health day one time a week. As she was sharing, I thought this sounds like burnout. I told my friend I would send her a list of burnout signs she could pass on to her coworker. The next day she called me and told me that after reading the list of signs, she realized she was bordering on burnout, as well, and had been struggling with it for over a year! I gave her one or two simple self-care tools that she could use at work, home or on the go to help her deal with it
Self-care is not an “emergency response plan” to be activated when stress or worse, burnout becomes overwhelming. When we consistently take care of ourselves and our energy, we are noticeably more effective and more productive—and usually in fewer hours. For some of my clients who are suffering chronic stress or burnout it is essential to have a self -care system that helps them transform stress and burnout into health and bliss.
Put these tips into practice, and see what good common sense they make.
Create a nurturing environment at work or home, with healthy air and lighting, supportive decor, ample water, high-protein snacks, etc. This is simple on so many levels and can help you feel supported and nurtured. This is all about keeping your body hydrated, fueled and supported so that stress doesn’t stick and you avoid burnout.
Keep writer’s hours, even if you’re not a writer. Reserve blocks of focused time that are yours with no, repeat NO, interruptions. Another way to approach this is make appointments for yourself and schedule them just like a regular appointment. When someone asks you to work late or add an extra hour, you can say, “I already have an appointment or that time is booked up.” You have to keep those appointments with yourself and cannot cancel!
Start each week and each day with planning. Doing so increases productivity and success, and eases anxiety and stress. Planning can save you 3 times the energy/time, or so the experts say! What could you do with that?
Banish clutter. Doing this can untether huge amounts of energy, not to mention make you more efficient. Just think about it. How much clutter do you have on your desk, in your house or work office, when you are suffering from chronic stress or burnout? Clutter can be a sign of stress.
Book time in the day to handle email and voicemail.
Take your lunch. Pack something that will stimulate your taste buds and give you energy. This is a must! However, resist the urge to eat while working. Take a walk, listen to classical music, write a poem, etc. Do what inspires you.
Be mindful. Relinquish activities, behaviors or attitudes that result in frenzied schedules and meaningless pursuits. Less really is more!
Be on the lookout for every opportunity to delegate work. And be sure to hire highly competent, talented people to whom you could delegate.
Balance exertion with recovery. For every “sprint” at work—mentally or physically—schedule downtime in minutes, days or weeks. If you don’t, you may just get that unexpected cold, broken arm or fever that makes you take a time out whether you want to or not!
Get enough sleep at night. Though most of us can function in a sleep-deprived state, we will never be at the top of our game without sufficient zzz’s. Rest is best.
How to cultivate a self-care system that works:
Pick one to practice
Practice it daily or at least regularly (more than three times a week)
Keep it up for a month
Pick a new one and go back to step one
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