The Low Down on Burnout
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You know what I absolutely don't think about until I'm right in the middle of it?
I go through the same cycle over and over: burn out, dial back and make self-care a priority until I start feeling better, then take on too much, wear myself down and ignore the signs again, and - you guessed it - find myself right back at burnout.
I should have learned by now, but my Type A personality rears its ugly head the minute I start feeling worn out and suggests pushing just a little harder for a little longer. Just get over it and get through it, you know?
It's taken me years to even recognize how unhealthy those tendencies are, but actually stepping back and allowing myself the time and space to recover is hard for me, until I'm at the point of burnout and have no other choice. It goes against everything my Type A brain believes in, but after experiencing burnout a handful of times over the last few years, I'm starting to learn how to moderate my need to stay busy and check accomplishments off my list.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I've ever received for managing burnout, adrenal fatigue, and chronic fatigue was to schedule time to do nothing, and make no apologies for it. As a culture, we've hardwired ourselves to constant busyness, and that go-go-go mindset keeps our brains running in circles, our stress levels high, and our need to prove ourselves - to ourselves and to others - at the forefront of everything we do.
But by scheduling time to have nothing scheduled, we give permission to sit down, lay aside our ToDo lists, and check in with ourselves. Maybe that means you go for a run, do yoga, or meditate, or maybe it means you sit on your couch with your dogs and your loved ones and watch a movie. Either way, putting boundaries on your time by scheduling downtime and saying "no" to things that cost too much, whether in time or energy, you're subconsciously saying to yourself, "You matter. You're worth this."
Another burnout-buster can be found where you may never think to look: the kitchen. Our bodies need the necessary nutrients to fuel even the most mundane actions, and when we're lacking healthy fats, proteins, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets, it's no wonder we get thrown off balance.
Look for foods high in omega-3s, fiber, healthy fat, and probiotics, like salmon, berries, nuts, organic, grass-fed, free-range meat, coconut, avocado, and kraut or kimchi, and make a point to avoid refined sugar, processed, packaged food, and stimulants like caffeine. (Still want a hot drink? Try a cup of Tulsi-Ginger tea with honey; Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body respond to stress, and ginger is not only great for digestion, but has anti-inflammatory properties).
I also like to keep herbal supplements like Gaia Herbs' Adrenal Health Nightly Restore and Organic India’s Tulsi Holy-Basil around to help my body rest and heal from daily stressors that I might not even recognize, as well as DoTerra's PastTense blend. I'm seriously addicted to it and use it almost every day, especially in the evenings when I'm winding down and getting ready for bed.
And speaking of getting ready for bed: one of the best ways to combat burnout is to tend to yourself with the same patience and grace you'd offer someone you love. Make a point to do something relaxing every day. Meditate, take a bath, read a book, make a cup of tea, whatever it is that allows you to drop the pin and be present, even if it's only for ten minutes. Give yourself a regular bedtime, and come up with a a nighttime routine that works for you (you can read about mine here!).
More than anything, don't trick yourself into calling it selfishness. Remember that, by setting aside time to care for yourself, you allow yourself to better care for the people you love. And that's all any of us want to do, right?
I want to know: what's your secret for beating burnout? Let me know in the comments below!