It seems like you can’t scroll the social media or read headlines without hearing about the crisis of burnout most people are experiencing now. COVID has stretched almost everyone extremely thin. We are all in need of some self-care for burnout.
Are you feeling run down and exhausted? Do you feel like you can't keep up with your work, family, and social obligations? You may be experiencing burnout. Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can be caused by stress or excessive demands. If left untreated, burnout can lead to serious health problems.
We see the signs of burnout everywhere. Some common signs:
- Becoming more cynical with work
- Not being able to concentrate
- Heightened states of irritability
- Impatient with others
- Feeling groggy or tired
- Sometimes it manifests as a lack of confidence
And that’s just the beginning! if you search for “signs of burnout”, you’ll get a long laundry list of ailments. It’s really serious.
Self-care for burnout is more critical than ever
Self-care becomes critical when you are experiencing burnout. And we don’t mean having brunch with your girlfriends, or a decadent dessert, or happy hour with the guys. We are talking about self-care strategies that address the core issue instead of just numbing it.
In her book, Burnout, Emily Nagoski gives a lot of strategies for coping with burnout, but the one self-care strategy that resonated the most with us is what she calls “completing the stress cycle.”
Basically, our bodies are the same design as they were 200,000 years ago. When we have stress in our life, our body perceives it as a physical threat, and its typical response is freeze, flight, or fight. But we don't do that. Now when most people experience stress, they just push it down and go about their day. And what happens is that all of these neurological and hormonal stress responses get trapped inside your body. You don’t complete the stress cycle. And that’s bad.
The easiest self-care for burnout
Your body really does perceive stress as a physical threat, just like if a tiger was hunting you. Your body wants to live, obviously, and pumps you full of all sorts of stress juice (technical term... hehe) so that you can fight for your life or run like hell. And that physical exertion completes the stress cycle.
We aren’t running from tigers now. We are getting yelled at by our boss, or fighting with our spouse, or trying to homeschool kids and manage a career. It’s not the same.
Instead, you have to proactively complete the stress cycle through some type of short, vigorous activity like shaking your arms and legs vigorously, jumping up and down, performing a 5-minute HIIT routine, or even dancing. Sometimes even just hitting a pillow and screaming will complete the cycle. The goal of self-care for burnout is to discharge that emotional energy, so that your body and you can return to normal homeostasis.
Exercise and physical activity provide more than just the typical health benefits, it literally will help you overcome burnout.
Create a self-care for burnout action plan. Here is your assignment, make a list of physical activities that you can do quickly and keep it on hand so that you can deal with stress in the moment and avoid getting burned out.
Also make sure to checkout our self-care checklist and plan which includes very simple worksheets to practice daily self-care and build healthy habits.