This article is part of the Simple Stuff For Burnout Series.
Taking care of our burnout does not always mean we have to take big mega actions. We can start by taking small and regular actions to turnaround habits that are not helpful.
So here are 10 SUPER SIMPLE ACTIONS, broken down into small pieces, designed to help reduce and relieve your burnout.
1. Stop checking work-related emails after work hours
A classic burnout is the inability to disconnect from work, and that includes checking work emails after work hours. If you really think about it, unless there’s a life-threatening situation, most emails can wait until tomorrow.
2. Leave work on time
If you believe that working late in the office is a sign of productivity or a good worker, then it’s possible you’ll be burning out in no time. Leaving the office on time (not 2 or 3 hours) regularly is part of establishing boundaries and prioritizing a life that’s not always about work.
3. Turn off your push notifications
Sure, push notifications were designed to help us become more efficient but they have also made us overly reliant and glued to our phones. Disable your push notifications app, especially the social media ones so it doesn’t lead you down a rabbit hole.
4. Put your gadgets away at dinner time
It’s time to stop letting gadgets take center stage in our daily routine. At dinner (or every meal), put your tech stuff aside, and focus on the human conversations at hand. If you’re eating on your own, practice some mindfulness by focusing on the joys of your meal. Or go back to basics by reading a book or the newspaper. Or just people watch
5. Stretch your body for 10 minutes
Stretching can do wonders to a tired body, especially when you’ve sat in front of a computer all day at work. Put aside 10 minutes in the morning to rejuvenate your muscles after sleep or after work to stretch your ligaments and joints and release tightness. Take a moment to release the tightness and tension in your body.
6. Say NO to one thing today
Not always easy but like a muscle, building boundaries needs practice. So start by picking something small you can say no to, without overwhelming yourself. Keep picking one thing a day you can say no to. The more you say no to small unnecessities, the easier it'll be to say no to the bigger stuff.
7. Go to sleep 30 minutes earlier
Less sleep can lead to fatigue, impairment of your physical and mental functions, ability to handle stressful situations and lower motivation amongst others. Clean up your sleep habits by winding down and heading to bed earlier. You’ll be surprised what an extra 30 minutes of sleep can do for you the next day.
8. Do one downtime for yourself today
Be it taking a nap, sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, reading, meditation or music, start cultivating a little space for yourself each day so you can decompress and recharge. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. And NO, browsing through social media on your phone should not count as a downtime.
9. Ask, ‘What’s ONE thing I can do for myself today?’
In the midst of our burnout, it can be hard to see or think straight, especially so when we often put the needs of others before us. Asking the question effectively reminds us to pause amidst the busyness and reflect on the one thing we can do just for ourselves today. And remember it can be the most basic of actions.
10. Ask for help
Seeking help from others does not always come naturally to some people and it gets even harder when we’re overwhelmed and burnout. Each day, pick something you can ask for help with. This could be asking your partner to pick groceries up or play with the kids while you take a breather and do a downtime or asking colleagues for help on tasks in the office.
PS: I am fully aware that none of these acts will magically cure your burnout or take down the structural imbalances that's causing it. But we no less owe it ourselves to make some concessions to taking are of ourselves, even a little and for a tiny moment. So that we get up and get on with tomorrow, continue doing the good work that's needed and keep fighting the good fight.