During this time of COVID-19, so many of us are experiencing what I come to believe is feelings of burnout. Putting on that brave face, being a front line worker, and dealing with uncertainty each time you go to work. Or possibly being your children’s teacher on top of parenting, work, then taking care of yourself and watching the news and seeing what is going on in the world has been tough for us as a collective. Maybe you lost your job (temporarily). No matter that situation you may be facing, I want to acknowledge that the feelings of exhausting, anxiety, uncertainty are real and valid.
I can relate through my own experiences and want to share my two realizations;
- It’s normal to feel this way. Life has so many waves, twists, and turns. Sometimes we go through it. It’s important to evaluate your values.
- You are not alone. I’m here to support you and I’m sure that when you reach out to those you trust, they will support you through it too.
Now that you know you have full support to move through my action steps let’s dive into what I found helps you move through this and experience living a fulfilled life.
Routine Movement For Your Body
If you’ve been following me for a while now you knew this coming. While many of us have to sit for a long period of time at work, and especially during these last few months our regular routines of movement have most likely shifted. It’s important To get yourself moving daily.
This sounds like it could be adding more overwhelm to your already overwhelming day, but it’s so helpful that you’ll thank yourself.
Here are some quick ways to add more movement into your day without working out:
- Walk around your home while you take calls if you don’t need to be on video
- Take a walking lunch break outside
- Do some yoga when you wake up to stretch and allow your body to wake up naturally
- Stretch when and where you can (between calls, before bed, after a long meeting)
- If you’re looking for a quick workout routine try one of my in-home workouts here and here.
These small moments of movement allow blood to flow through your body and give your muscles a chance to work. This also allows you to have more energy to work through your day.
It’s even better if you can get out into the fresh air for some of these movements as nature is one of the earth’s best healers.
THIS IS HUGE.
Boundaries are so important. Many of us have had to pivot our lives and our business’ to accommodate those who need us most. It’s probably safe to say that because of this most of us have thrown our boundaries out the window.
I know I did. Between trying to figure out a way to pivot my business while experiencing the different emotions of all the change that was happening it took time to adjust and settle in. . I was balancing all of this while trying to stay in touch with family, friends, and stay up to date with the news.
This caught up faster than I could have ever imagined.
To break this newfound habit here are the new boundaries I set:
- creating a work schedule that gave me set start and end times.
- Starting my morning with a new routine that involved daily meditation and journaling.
- Giving myself more breaks if needed.
- Scheduling myself a DAY OFF and getting out in nature.
None of these things are for my clients, my family or my friends. It’s just for me and it took me a bit to be comfortable with that because it can feel selfish. The truth is if your cup is not full, you can’t give any of you to others.
As soon as I added these boundaries back into my life I started to feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Focus on Nutrient Dense Food
How many times have you felt like there was too much going on and the first thing to fall off your radar is your nutrition?
You end up heating up that quick freezer meal, or ordering out instead of taking the extra 5 minutes to make a nutrient-dense meal because you don’t have time to waste.
I know this feeling all too well. It’s so easy to just reach for the easy meal than to take that extra time to give yourself something you enjoy eating and makes you feel good.
As soon as we do this we start depriving our bodies of the nutrients it needs to function. These are the nutrients that provide you with energy every day, give you the fuel you need to think, move and even rest when you get there.
When I realized I was paying more attention to my work than I was my food, I went right back to my staple meals.
I focused on creating 3 nutritious meals a day with good foods I really enjoyed and drank as much water as I could.
Here are some of the staple items I keep around:
- Cooked lean proteins such as chicken and hard-boiled eggs
- Mixed nuts and fruits
- Fresh chopped veggies in the fridge for salads and stir-fries
Prepping all of this food only takes me about 30 minutes saving me time for the rest of the week and ensuring I stay on track with my good choices.
This tiny little switch made a world of difference. Reaching for the apple instead of something less nutritious for my body gave me more energy to get through my day.
Food is nourishment. It nourishes your mind, your body and your soul. If you aren’t eating nutrient-dense foods for the majority of the day on top of what we have already talked about, you are heading straight for burn out.
Reset Your Rest
I know I just talked a lot about movement, boundary setting and good food that gives us energy, but there is one last thing that is extremely important to avoiding or getting through burnout.
You need rest and I’m not talking about that 4-hour nap you are taking in-between days. I am talking about a real restful sleep.
This isn’t always easy when you are working long days, trying to add in movement, good food, and honour your boundaries.
As soon as I let go of everything we just talked about, my sleep suffers. I either stay up too late or when I do go to sleep it doesn’t last long because my mind doesn’t stop. I know there are so many of you who go through this too.
Here are the steps I took to get my rest back into order to avoid burnout:
- No technology 1 hour before bed
- Starting my nighttime routine earlier
- Removing anything work-related from the room I am sleeping in
- Adding more movement to my day
- Eating food that makes me full
- Waking up at the same time every day
The key to working through burnout or avoiding it is to recognize it when it’s starting and making the changes you need to make as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter where you start to make changes as long as you make them. Each of the tips I mentioned above work together hand in hand, so it’s important to get everything back in order as fast as you can.
Burnout sucks. It’s not easy to deal with, it takes time to get to the other side, but I’m thankful that I have the tools I need to workout through it when it does come around.
Stress is unavoidable. But burnout is preventable. By incorporating daily self-care practices, you can help avoid the feelings of burnout. No matter how long your day may be, don’t forget to sprinkle small bits of joy in your day. Whether it’s a phone call with a loved one or friend, a short walk or an enjoyable television program or podcast or book. Sometimes those little things really do count and make a difference.
If you’re finding you are struggling, want to talk, or learn more about how you can benefit from a virtual coaching session, you can fill out my complimentary consult form here.