Burnout can sneak up on you. Life can get busy, particularly at work. The to-do list is always long, and it can feel like you’re running through the days instead of living them. And often, we put work above health. We work too much, sleep too little, sometimes eat badly, and spend way too much time in front of the screen instead of outside. And eventually, it can creep up on you… Burnout. That’s why it’s so important to strive for balance, no matter how busy you are. We need to rest, relax and replenish just as much as we need to hustle. Start implementing these simple tips into your life and give yourself the essentials to avoid burnout. Don’t ever let your health suffer. Health comes first!
Very recently I got a bit of a fright.
I had been working very hard, often working Monday to Saturday into the night. It has been a new phase in my life, that has required more of me than usual. Leaving 9-5 and going remote freelance. Looking for new clients. Working with new clients. Working on new projects with new learnings. Lots and lots of learning.
And I guess I just got sucked into the busyness and started to let other areas of my life go a little off the rails. Like eating and rest. October was an intense month. And while I achieved a lot, my health suffered.
I knew that I was under pressure, but one Friday night it got the better of me (it’s often when you stop to rest that you feel it the most). I just felt weird, suddenly coming to the realisation that I really wasn’t feeling good. Blurry vision, unusually tired, stomach aches, very fuzzy head, just not myself.
It was scary suddenly feeling so awful. It wasn’t just being very tired or getting a cold. I genuinely felt like I was at a crossroads, about to go down the unhealthy lane.
It shook me into action and I immediately decided to really relax over the weekend.
It was weird to just potter around on a Saturday. Instead of 8 hours in front of the screen working. Instead, I was doing some yummy yoga, going for a morning walk, tending to my plants, making a delicious Almond Banana Smoothie.
A weekend to relax, sleep, eat good food, go for walks, and just be. Best idea ever.
Taking that time out to put the work down and reconnect with myself was necessary. I could feel myself coming back to life.
The next week I could feel the change. There was more of a balance, and I felt more able to cope with any pressure that came my way.
Holistic Health is what we’re after. All-over-health, in every sense of the word.
You can eat all the broccoli you like, but if you’re intensely unhappy at work, you’re not going to feel your best self. You can do amazing work and eat all the broccoli you like, but if you’re surrounded by toxic relationships and never exercise, you’re not going to feel your best self.
See where this is going?
Believe that you can take the time to exercise regularly, eat well and sleep enough, and still have the time to do everything else. Know that, if you take care of yourself, you’ll take your best self out into the world. And you’ll be inspired and energised enough to get your work done and anything else that is important to you.
That’s why it’s important to nourish all areas of your life, to find Holistic Health.
Here is a nice way to describe Holistic Health:
Holistic Health is actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit.
American Holistic Health Association
This idea that many different factors affect our state of health.
The food we eat. How active we are. Our work. The quality of our relationships. How connected we are to ourselves and the dreams we truly desire.
It’s the simple things.
There is so much that affects our health. And to avoid burnout we need to find balance.
And you can get started by implementing the simple things.
As Balu the bear sings in The Jungle Book:
Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life
It’s the simple things that will keep you in balance. Preventing you from going off the rales, putting your body and mind under stress, and taking you down the road towards burnout.
Before that ever happens, here are 5 Simple Things to do to Avoid Burnout. Happy reading!
Sleep isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. And lack of it will take its toll on you. One or two late nights is doable, but after that it becomes unproductive.
There are many negative effects of sleep deprivation. Essentially you’re just putting your body under strain and not giving it the rest it needs.
Trust that you can sleep at least 7 hours a night, and still get your important work done. Know that, if you get regular quality sleep, you’ll be a better version of yourself. And you’ll do better work.
Of course, life happens, and 7 hours is sometimes just not possible. If so, work on getting extra sleep the night after. One doesn’t cancel out the other, but at least treat your body to a little more sleep after a stressful time. If I go through a busy time and get less than 6 hours to sleep 2 or 3 nights in a row, I make a point of sleeping a couple hours more the days that follow. Be kind to yourself. 🙂
If you’re sleeping less than 7 hours a night regularly, consider making a change. Try sleeping an extra hour every night, and see how you feel in a couple weeks. If you try, let me know in the comments.
The difference between you and the rest, is the rest.
In my personal experience, I feel the health benefits of sleeping more almost instantly. My mind feels much clearer and it’s easier to focus. I feel more relaxed and in control. And I definitely eat better. Whenever I sleep very little, I start craving junk food. Does that ever happen to you?
So try and get your 7 hours of sleep. Enjoy your sleep and give your body and mind the rest it needs.
As the awesome audiobook Peak Performance says
The difference between you and the rest, is the rest.
Peak performance is an inspiring audiobook by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. Its subtitle is Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success. Part of it talks about how top-performing athletes succeed because they understand that their bodies need to rest just as much as they need to train. If this topic interests you, you should get this audiobook on Audible, it’s great!
Simple Sleep More Tips:
Go to bed one hour earlier. Stop what you’re doing, and just do it. 🙂
When the alarm clock goes off, don’t snooze. Enjoy a big full body stretch in bed, and then get up. Snoozing is the worse because when you do, you go back into quite a deep sleep. And then, 5 minutes later, the alarm goes off again, shaking you awake again. And on it goes. It’s a horrible disruptive way to wake up. Instead, be decisive the night before on when you want to wake up the next morning, and stick to it.
Stop watching bad TV, series, or movies. This way you’ll save plenty of time to sleep more.
Put your smartphone away a couple hours before bed. When the phone is face down and out of sight, there is a sense of relief and space. Let your mind rest properly before bed, and you’ll likely sleep better.
Darken your room so that it’s pitch black.
Keep a bottle of water next to the bed, in case you get thirsty during the night. Save yourself having to get up, and have water on tap whenever you like. A big gulp of water first thing in the morning, while still in bed, is a great way to kick off the day.
Your body needs fuel to operate. So, if you don’t eat well, you will feel more drained. It’s like driving the heck out of your car without offering more petrol. It’s a little mean don’t you think?
I am not one to point fingers, as my eating habits go out the window every now and again. Sometimes, I get so into work projects that I simply forget to eat. I just drink cup of tea after cup of coffee after cup of tea.
But there are certain ways you can get in enough nutrients, even when you are against the pump.
Eating healthily doesn’t need to be complicated either. This is not about counting calories or weighing portions. It’s just about making sure you nourish your body with great food so that it can function for you.
Lots of veggies. Protein. Fruit. Nuts and seeds.
Or better yet, keep it simple and just cut out added sugar. That will cut out pretty much all the ‘bad’ foods 🙂
Buy more fruit and vegetables. When you go to the shops, go straight to the fresh fruit and veg section. There is such variety to choose from. Carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes. Spinach, mushrooms, rocket, peppers. Apples, grapefruit, bananas, oranges. Buy at least two portions of vegetables and one portion of fruit for every day. At least. Keep your fridge stocked with fresh fruit and veggies to munch on.
Eggs for breakfast is a match made in heaven. There are so many different ways to enjoy your eggs – lightly fried, scrambled, boiled – yum. They’re also super easy to cook. Quick and easy, delicious, and packed with protein.
Make soups and stews, and make double the portion when you do. That way you’ll have leftovers to enjoy the next day. One cook, two meals, yes please 🙂
Have some clever healthy snacks up your sleeve for when you’re super busy and feeling hungry between meals. Carrots, tomatoes and sunflower seeds are my go-to snacks. So easy to eat, and highly nutritious. Carrots, celery and hummus are a great combination too.
Do a Whole30 Challenge. On this challenge, you cut out dairy, grains, legumes and sugar for 30 days. You cleanse out and basically reset your body. Doing this challenge had a profound effect on my body. I felt amazing after 1 month and did it again. Afterwards, I felt light, energetic, happy, fresh. Experiencing this positive effect on my body by eating differently, changed the way I see food. Try it and see if and how your body changes. And how you feel at the end of it. But don’t forget though, if you have any serious conditions, consult your doctor before doing any food challenges like these.
You know the cliche’s like you are what you eat are cliches for a reason. They are true!
So, aim to eat healthily at least 90% of the time.
Don’t be hard on yourself, and enjoy that pizza too.
This is a tough one, but pull yourself away from your work regularly. Even if it’s just for a walk around the block, do it.
In my own personal experience, I’m constantly striving to find balance in my life. But it’s not easy. I get sucked into work, and all the things I want to do, and I leave very little time to just be. I don’t do the simple things I love, like relaxing with a cup of tea and writing in my journal or reading a chapter in a book. The simple pleasures, like going for a walk just after it’s rained.
These wonderful human experiences are essential to fuel our fire. Doing more activities that we are naturally drawn to, inspires us more. When we spend time doing what we truly love doing and what makes us feel good, we feel rejuvenated. We come back to life.
So, ask yourself, am I doing enough of the things I really love doing? (beyond work)
Then, during your week, schedule in some time with yourself to do them.
Take yourself on an Artist’s Date
A great example of how you can spend time with yourself is to go on an Artist’s Date.
Julia Cameron wrote an incredible book called “The Artist’s Way“. The book takes you on a 12-week journey of self-discovery. Reconnecting with yourself, your passions and your creativity. You rediscover your artist within.
It’s a fantastic course-book. Fantastic.
One of the regular exercises in the book is to go on artist’s dates.
In Julia’s words:
The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore
something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly
“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the
imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well
of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask
yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
Whatever you do, at home or outside, pick something you really enjoy. Do it for you and your awesome spirit that’s yearning to play more.
The world is too darn serious as it is.
It’s time to play more. Set your spirit free, even if it’s just for 1-2 hours 3 times a week. You deserve it. 🙂
Sit back with a cup of tea for an hour and read a wonderful book.
Go for a lovely walk to the shops and do some groceries.
Meet a friend for coffee, and have a catch-up session over a couple of hours.
Do a juicy morning yoga video with a warm cup of lemon water as soon as you wake up.
Go for a walk around the city and stop at a cafe for a coffee, journal writing and some people-watching.
Cook something delicious that you’ve been dying to eat.
Go to the cinema and enjoy a movie old-school style.
Every single day I roll out my yoga mat. On the 1st of June, I committed to a personal 100 Days of Daily Exercise. And after the 100 days finished, I continued without even thinking about it.
It was an incredible experiment on how to build a habit. The consistency certainly worked, as it’s been over 5 months now and I don’t plan to stop any day soon.
Taking the time to regularly move and stretch your body is so important. It keeps your body moving, building strength and stretching out tense muscles. But beyond the physical, it also has positive effects on the mind. By simply sticking to your exercise schedule, you naturally feel proud, achieving something important. This gives you confidence, and the drive to conquer more. The exercise mindset starts spreading out into the rest of your life. You are ready for the challenge. Bring it on, #challenge accepted.
What does it mean to exercise?
The word “exercise” makes me think of the Gym and more hard-core intense workouts.
When I say I did a 100 Days of Daily Exercise challenge, it doesn’t mean I did hard-core intensive workouts every single day. I actually focused on yoga-based workouts. Low impact, easy on the knees, and soothing just much as invigorating.
Exercise is actually defined as:
an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness: exercise improves your heart and lung power
That’s exactly what it does.
Whether it’s a gym workout, a yoga session, or a walk in the park, do what you enjoy. Just make sure that you keep active.
Find ways to live a more active lifestyle, and you’ll enjoy the health benefits that come with it.
Start a Daily Exercise Routine. Get serious and start building an exercise habit. Show up every single day and move your body. Whether it’s 15 minutes of gentle stretching or an hour of intensive jumping around, commit and stick to it.
Go for a walk around the block after lunch. Enjoy breathing in the fresh air and people-watching.
Do a 30-day challenge. This is an amazing way to kick yourself into gear. There are many free fitness video programs online to choose from, so find something you like. Challenges make it easy – Every day you just need to get up, throw on your workout clothes, grab a bottle of water, and press play on the video. That’s it. Here is a DoYouYoga 30-Day Yoga challenge to try – it’s simply 15 minutes a day. When you complete it, you’ll feel a difference.
Do something you enjoy. If you think about the section above about having more fun and taking yourself out on an artist’s date. You could combine the 2. Make exercise fun and do something you really enjoy. Your Artist’s Date & Exercise session could be taking your dogs out for a long walk in the early morning. Or going for a swim in the sea. Or going out dancing the night away!
If you know that you’re in for a very busy and stressful time, consider getting a quality vitamin to give you a boost. You may need a little extra kick, particularly during season changes, when people often get sick.
That said, if you are doing all 4 of the above, you’ll likely not need any additional vitamins. Just by eating well, you could get all the essential nutrients you need.
But when we’re super busy, we can forget to eat or we can start to pick up unhealthy habits. When I’m really really busy, I start getting a little lazy. Eating take-out every now and again. Skipping breakfast. Eating fewer vegetables and more pasta and sandwiches. Drinking lots of coffee. Eating more sugar. That’s when I know I am out of balance, when I start craving sugar and take-away.
So life can happen, we are only human.
And so, even though you want to eat healthily first, taking a quality vitamin can help you by giving you a kick of nutrients when you need it the most. A little extra boost to keep you on track through busy or stressful times.
Sometimes we need a little extra help.
Ready to keep balanced and avoid burnout?
I hope you’re ready to keep your body, mind and spirit nourished and happy. Don’t let yourself burn out. Make small changes, one by one, and over time you will build a healthy lifestyle that nurtures your very best self. Enjoy your work, but don’t let it take over. Work and play!