Prioritizing Self Care to Avoid Burn Out

For busy professionals, it is often difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance while juggling the demands of home, family, careers, and life in general. These types of individuals may find themselves allowing responsibilities, tasks, workload, and the never-ending “to-do list” to consume their life. Or they may find it easier to stay busy instead of relaxing. If this sounds familiar, you may often wonder how you’ll ever find time to just sit and relax, especially when there is simply too much going on.

To be frank, a perfect 50/50 work/life balance simply does not exist. No matter how hard you may try to even the balance, the scale will always tip heavier in one direction.

And yet, prioritizing self-care is an absolute must to avoid burning out.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burn-out as “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” In fact, burn-out has become such a big problem that in May of 2019, WHO added “Burn Out” as an International Classification of Diseases.

Signs of burn out can include a combination of the following:

  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling more irritable or impatient at home or at work
  • Frustration
  • Lack of energy/motivation/satisfaction
  • Compulsive worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Negative emotions
  • Negatively impacted job performance
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Unexplained health issues, such as headaches, stomach aches, etc.

To avoid burn out, you must be intentional about prioritizing self-care and creating healthy boundaries. A few things you can do, include:

Exercise

Start by incorporating 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you don’t have a full 30 minutes, take two 15-minute breaks or three 10-minute breaks. Exercise will not only help to enrich your quality of life, but it tends to lead to a more positive attitude as well.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the art of living in the moment or emptying your mind of anything other than the present moment. An easy way to do this is to sit silently, take slow and deep breaths for 2-3 minutes, focus your thoughts on each breathe, and silently give thanks for each breathe.

Try Something New

Do an activity that’s out of the ordinary for you, such as test driving a sports car, going to the movies by yourself, learning how to knit, sky diving, reading a classic novel, or taking a surf lesson or a salsa dancing class. Anything that makes you feel proud of yourself for taking a risk.

Create Boundaries

Purge the toxic people from your life and create some boundaries. If there are people draining your energy and causing you stress, it’s up to you to remove them from your life or at least decrease the amount of time you spend with them.

Do a Digital Detox

Once a day for at least one hour, turn off all of your devices. Use the time that you would usually spend staring at a screen on self-care activities, like meditating, hiking, or taking a nap or bath.

Meditate

If you don’t already meditate or believe you don’t know how to meditate, guided meditations are a great way to start. Even if you only meditate for 5-minutes a day, research shows that just 5 minutes helps to reduce stress and controls anxiety.

Sleep

A good night’s sleep is key to rejuvenate your mind and body. Each night start by relaxing about 90 minutes before going to bed: diffuse or spray an organic lavender oil or relaxing scents; take a hot shower to relax muscles, lower body tension, and reduce anxiety; sit in silence and turn off all electronics (TV, phones, etc.) to avoid over stimulating your mind.

It’s important to prioritize resting and relaxing to create a healthy work/life balance. Start small, even if you only have 5 minutes each day. If you start with 5 minutes each day, after a few weeks try increasing to 10 minutes and then 20 minutes.

Ultimately, the goal is to get to a point where prioritizing self-care is a non-negotiable part of your life.