The little gift behind the door of Day 22 of the Build a Better You Advent Calendar is: preventing burnout.
In this week’s podcast I talked about burnout, the state of mind where our threshold for coping is lowered due to fatigue, stress, or illness. Burnout doesn’t happen all at once: it grows as stress builds up and we devote less time to Self-care.
Stress makes itself known in many ways, and you can be stressed without even knowing it. Take a look at my stress checklist of cognitive, affective, physical and behavioral symptoms.
Stressful events are a part of life, but burnout is not inevitable–in fact, it’s preventable! Here are five ways to help you prevent the exhaustion that leads to burnout.
Preventing Burnout Tip #1: Relaxation Rituals
Routines are a way of providing continuity within the chaos. With this in mind, start each day with a relaxing ritual.
Take 15 minutes to meditate, bringing the quality of calm and inner connection into your being. This may mean listening to a guided meditation (try out my free meditation download here), but only if that’s what works for you. Maybe you meditate by writing in a journal, doing gentle stretches, or even just enjoying a cup of tea and a good read for 15 minutes before rushing out in the day. Sit in stillness to find your inner Self qualities.
Preventing Burnout Tip #2: Good Health Habits? There’s an App For That!
Your body is not a machine: good health habits help your body think clearly so that it can do all that you have planned for it. Put an app in your phone that will support healthy and regular eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.
I am currently testing a wearable device called SPIRE which tracks and analyzes your breathing patterns to determine your state of mind. SPIRE allows you to balance your day by making you more mindful of your periods of calm focus versus tension. It also tracks Steps, Exercise and Calories! I will let you know my impressions of this device in a few weeks.
Preventing Burnout Tip #3: Get Time on Your Side
Remember that time is a finite resource. Schedule your time on your calendar and then set your boundaries around it. Say no to others, and say yes to yourself and the things you really want to do.
Preventing Burnout Tip #4: Who’s In Charge Here? You or the iPhone?
Ask yourself: is technology your master? Take charge! Set aside a specific and consistent window of time each day to completely disconnect.
Remember when we talked about flow? Technology disrupts that effortless feeling, and prevents us from accessing a deep reservoir of contentment.
If you have kids, it’s good to have a “screenless” day too. Someone I know would have Screenless Mondays for the whole family. Screens for work or school were one thing, but otherwise, no screentime. Just together time.
What can you do with that time instead? Which brings me to…
Preventing Burnout Tip #5: Get Creative
Creativity is the antidote to burnout, so invite it into your life.
Think of something you loved to do as a child and do it. Where is your go-to creative place?
I used to walk in the woods and find things to make art projects with. Walking in the woods always fills me with creative thoughts and ideas. Find your creative place, one that has nothing to do with your work. Your brain will appreciate the change of scenery.
Holiday Burnout is Real, So Start These Practices Now
Do this redirect today and avoid hurting your brain over the holidays! When you change your behaviors, you change your brain. You will be changing your life by consciously choosing it through your actions.
Your system will feel calmer, because you’ll have stopped the automatic slide into your fight flight freeze response every single time an unpleasant event happens.
When you consciously choose activities that promote calm and non reactivity you are choosing health and positive connectivity.
This will be the new you.