Somewhere along the line we’ve lost sight of the fine line between selfishness and self-care.
Wanting to live from a place of giving can be a beautiful thing, but it can often be unsustainable
if we lose ourselves in the process. Work, social interactions, people, and life challenges can be
overwhelming and draining. If we’re doing things out of obligation rather than love, things will
eventually take a toll on us. Caring for ourselves and for others shouldn’t be two mutually
exclusive things, because being able to show up for our loved ones can only happen if we show
up for ourselves. Burnout can also stem from an unhealthy obsession with hustle culture, so
finding the perfect work-life balance is necessary.
Signs of a burnout:
● Being easily irritated
● Feeling physically exhausted all the time
● Neglecting physical and emotional needs
● Having no motivation to work
● Feeling bitter and resentful towards people you find yourself sacrificing for
● Withdrawing yourself/ isolating from others
● Having difficulty sleeping
Recovering from a burnout will take a dedication to meeting spiritual, physical, and emotional
needs. There’s a misconception that spiritual or religious people are not allowed to experience
seasons of burnout, and that focusing on that aspect of their identity is enough. In order to
recover from a burnout, investing in all areas is crucial.
Ways to take care of yourself:
1- Talk to someone
There’s a stigma and a negative association that comes with therapy, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Therapy can help you uncover possible reasons behind your burnout, and help you think of ways to start meeting your physical and emotional needs.
2- Move your body
Not everyone has the luxury or energy to engage in a full-on workout or fitness class. There is a common misconception that a workout wouldn’t be a good one if it didn’t take a long time, or it didn’t leave people feeling extremely sore. This thought pattern often demotivates people and prevents them from moving at all. You can always move your body in any way it can, however that might look. A general rule that you can incorporate in your day is to always use the stairs. Rather than opting for a night in with some friends, you can incorporate physical activities like padel tennis, dance classes, or a walk. Chores don’t have to be boring, blasting some music and cleaning the house is a good way to burn calories. There are different ways to exercise without realizing. A good way to release endorphins, the happy hormone, is through moving our bodies.
3- Check for vitamin deficiencies
Have you ever felt physically exhausted, but didn’t understand why? Does it feel like you’re doing everything right, but you still feel weak? This fatigue can be a result of a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin D is a game changer when it comes to energy and mood levels, and its deficiency can lead to fatigue and depression. Sitting in the sun is a good way to increase vitamin D. Find out if you’re lacking any vitamins, and be intentional to include it as part of your diet.
4- Stay hydrated
You’ve probably gotten used to seeing this tip everywhere to the point where you’re sick of it, but this can do wonders. Coffee, tea, and energy drinks tend to increase anxiety and cause jitteriness. Water helps us digest, affects energy levels, aids weight loss, and clears our skin. Be intentional on getting your required water intake, The U.S Academies of Sciences, Engineering,
and Medicine stated that the adequate daily fluid intake is: about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men, and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. Here is your friendly reminder to get up and drink some water.
5- Get some alone time.. Or not.
There’s a general idea that “me time” is the best way to recharge after feeling worn out. This can be the case for some people and not others. Extroverts feed on social interactions with others. Their idea of a recharge is through spending quality time with others, whereas introverts prefer investing in time alone. Whatever that recharge may look like for you, make sure you engage in it. If you recharge through good company and you’re happier because of it, then don’t isolate yourself in challenging times and lean on your community. If you regain energy through being on your own, make sure to allocate time for yourself to do things like starting new hobbies or taking yourself out.
6- Say no if you have to
Sometimes our burnout stems from our inability to say no to people. Is it an extra shift or project at work that you don’t want to take on but find yourself saying yes to anyway? Is it a person in your life that has way too many expectations of you? You need to learn how to say no if you find yourself doing things out of obligation rather than love, because it can slowly turn into
resentment towards these people.
7- Use journals as an outlet
If you’re not comfortable speaking to someone at this stage, you can always use a journal to let your feelings out. Writing things out, without filtering, is an effective method to uncover feelings. Here are some questions to get you started!
- What have I been giving my energy to lately? Does it leave me feeling refreshed or drained?
-What’s my biggest source of negativity? Is it something I have the ability to distance myself from?
- In what ways have I been neglecting my physical and emotional needs?
- Do I build a life for myself outside of work?
- Am I more energized with other people’s company, or when I’m on my own?
- Is my burnout stemming from an inability to say no? Who or what do I have to say no to?