I am an advocate and BIG believer of simplicity.
Our days can be tough as it is so I really don’t see the need to make things much more complicated. Especially when you’re on teetering on the edges of the burnout cliff.
So when you’re exhausted and feeling stuck, burnout, not knowing what to do, I ask that you pause for one moment and ask yourself this question.
What have I done for myself today?
Then proceed to answer as honestly as you can.
There are no right or wrong answers to this, no rules and no one to impress with the correct answer.
When we burnout, it can be incredibly hard to think straight let alone take care of ourselves. We function on autopilot, going through the motions and hoping against all mighty gods that our burnout will ease away with time.
In the midst of our protracted stress, exhaustion, cynicism, and jadedness, we often forget to check in with our self.
That is why sometimes we need to put ourselves first. If you’re thinking that sounds selfish when you have so much to do, deadlines to meet, children to look after, I would like you to know that even in that midst of busyness, it’s perfectly OK to take care of yourself first, even for a tiny bit.
Taking care of ourselves does not mean we are self-centred, it means we are human and have limits. Once we have taken care of us (even if it’s just as simple as having a meal and a cuppa), we can then go back to our responsibilities with a little more energy in our body and clarity in our thoughts.
Sometimes all we need are regular pauses in our daily routines to help ease the burnout struggle.
So right now, as you’re reading this, ask the question.
What have I done for myself today?
It could be something super small, like remembering to eat and hydrate. Or something you enjoy doing such as painting, yoga or hanging out with your best friend. Perhaps something to reward yourself with, a treat after work, a catnap, an early night’s rest because you’ve been working long hours this week. It could be asking your partner to prepare dinner, pick up the groceries or keep an eye on the children so you can have some time for yourself to breathe, sip your microwave lukewarm cup of tea that’s been waiting for you all afternoon or simply just to rest your feet up for 10 minutes.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be all about fancy stuff like spas and bubble baths. I mean, great if you have the opportunity to. But it can be as simple as asking for help from your partner, friends, family and colleagues, so you have a few moments to yourself.
By asking this question, you create a pause in the chaos. It's a simple way of checking in with you and what you need today.
The question itself is not going to fix your burnout for good and it’s not a magical solution. Long-term recovery requires us to do much deeper work into our lives; what’s really causing our burnouts.
What we have here is a starting point that aims to move you towards nurturing a habit of caring for YOU each day. It tells us to pause, reflect and do. And then we keep asking the question each day, so we will keep pausing, reflecting and doing. We keep asking until the question becomes second nature, and we just do.
Burnout tells us something needs to change and change can happen when we learn to pause in the midst of our burnout, breathe and take on tiny committed actions each day for ourselves.
So to round this up, I ask you: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR YOURSELF TODAY?