Don’t Burn Out: 14 Ways to Re-Center Yourself
A while ago, my daughter and I were both afflicted with some type of horrible sickness that had us both up late at night vomiting. When I finally got better, she got sick again,, and I was up for days caring for her.
You know that no matter how busy you are, the world does not stop spinning, work has to be completed, and deadlines must be met. So, through the coughing, vomiting, crying, and gentle rocking while muttering “why?!” I still worked. Got all my projects and side projects in, and felt great… Until I was completely better, and then the next wave came and I just felt so mentally exhausted.
There’s a problem with working so hard until you fall, because sometimes it’s hard to get back up.
So, I did a few things that personally helped me, and decided to share. Hopefully it’ll help you if you’re in a similar situation.
I Took some Time for Myself
While doing a lot of work, taking care of my daughter, and the emotional needs of friends, I realized that I was neglecting myself. Remember that the same veracity that you have to take care of everyone else in your life and circle, you need for yourself as well.
I said no
Sometimes it’s hard to not want to disappoint people, but sometimes taking on extra added responsibilities when you’re overwhelmed doesn’t do you or the person you’re doing it for, any favors. Essentially, you’re spreading yourself too thin, and will only feel worse when you deliver something subpar. Give yourself a break until you’re ready to take on extra responsibility again.
I Did Something I Enjoyed
I’m a big movie person, so when I got done with my work, I realized that not only was I neglecting myself, I was neglecting my movie collection as well. So, I decided to get lost in a couple of worlds that I hadn’t seen in a while. It definitely helped me hit my reset button.
I Picked up a New Hobby
Sometimes the drudgery of going back to your normal life after working so hard can be a little overwhelming. It’s as if when you’re done doing a lot of work, and you’re waiting for the ends to justify your hardworking means, it can make you a little down going back to… the same routine. So, I added a new hobby, boxing. It was new, it was exciting, and it was something new to look forward to.
I Acknowledged how I was Feeling
Sometimes when you’re burned out, you might feel like just ignoring the feelings. For some, that just exacerbates it. So instead of trying to ignore how I was feeling, I acknowledged it. For some reason, being able to say: “I’m tired, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed” helped tremendously. Being able to address it, helped me to face the burnout head on.
I got my sleep patterns back
When you’re sick, or taking care of someone who is sick, that sickness doesn’t care when you’re tired, or that you need to sleep. So once that time passed (I refer to it as “the dark days”) I decided to get back to my second love, sleep. (First love being my daughter, of course.)
I was neglecting my old friend, and by neglecting sleep, I was feeling a little wonky. So, once our relationship got back together, it definitely helped me.
I Didn’t Allow Myself to Wallow
Talking to your friends can be a bad thing when you’re going through a hard time, because talking can turn into obsessing. I allowed myself one vent session, and once I got done I refused to talk about it again. I knew that once I got it all out, there was nothing else to say, and if I kept talking about it it was going to just bring up those overwhelming feelings. So after one session, I stopped myself.
I Did Something Special for Me
Neglecting yourself is very easy to do. But after coming from the mist of sickness, and once I was back to myself, I decided to get something that I’d put off wanting. Fingernail polish. I know it sounds vapid, but I totally forgot about small luxuries like that, and getting myself something small, and just for me immediately put me in a better mood. The smile that I get whenever I look down at my nails makes me I realize that I deserved it.
I Had Fun with my Daughter
After spending so much time cleaning up the sadness that was expelling from my daughter’s mouth, I began to see that after she overcame our dark days that our relationship began to become slightly mechanical. I was still in full caretaker-only mode.
Once we started having fun again, being a mother stopped seeming like an overwhelming chore.
I Started Eating Better
Whenever I’m incredibly busy, the food that I eat tends to be very quick and accessible. Mainly cheese and peanut butter crackers… such a horrible habit. Delicious, but horrible none the same. So I re-wired my snack choices and made sure that I ate full meals. Speaking of meals…
I Stopped eating While Working
Eating should be a time to relax, and enjoy yourself. If you’re spending your time eating and working, it can easily turn into obsessing and overeating. I allowed my eating time to be separate from my work, and it gave me a chance to reset.
I Compartmentalized my Time
Just like with eating, I didn’t realize how tied to my computer that I was. I would fall asleep with it on my lap while I was in the process of working on something late at night. I would wake up early to get things done before my child would go to school. I had a problem.
I began to designate hours to focus totally on work, and a time period to finally get through some of the stuff on my DVR, and not think about everything that I had to do.
I Acknowledged the Small Successes
When you’re doing so much you can sometimes forget those tiny successes, and it’s so important to acknowledge them, because those are the extra power to push you forward. No one wants to work a long time and feel like nothing came from it, and that’s usually how burnout begins to set in.
I Reminded Myself of my Goals
All of that hard work was for a purpose. I reminded myself what that purpose was, so I wouldn’t get caught up on the individual tasks, but be encouraged by the overall picture. I’m not fully there yet, but reminding myself that all of that work was a step in the right direction really helped me to get out of the funk that was developing. I hope the same for you.