Does work have you feeling stressed out all the time? Are you exhausted, negative, and struggling to get anything done?
If so, you’re likely burnt out.
The burnout you’re experiencing is no longer just a watercooler complaint. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is now a legitimate syndrome.
This was me back in early 2017. Before becoming a health coach, I put all my time and energy into my career as an art director for live TV shows like American Idol and The Voice, and as a result, I was rundown, miserable, gaining weight, and I’d even begun hating this job I was trying so hard to succeed in.
I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t healthy. I felt like there was no way out — until I discovered self care.
I had been taking care of others for so long, I’d stopped taking care of myself. But taking care of myself was exactly the nourishment I needed to feel my best!
So I made a radical change and decided to put myself first, prioritize self care, and get the help I needed. I started setting boundaries, saying no, taking care of my body by eating healthy and exercising, working with a coach, and being kind to myself. And it worked.
As a result of this new self care, I became more relaxed, more peaceful, more positive, I lost weight, and I started feeling better in every area of my life. Not only did I recover from burnout, but by putting myself first and taking care of myself, I made some major life shifts (including becoming a health coach) and now I’m the happiest and most positive I’ve ever been in my life!
If you’re constantly weighed down by stress, exhaustion, and negativity at work, you, too, can recover from it.
Read on to understand exactly why you’re burnout out, how self care can transform your life, and 3 powerful tips to get more self care so you can rediscover the energized, vibrant, happy version of you!
Reason You’re Burnt Out? It’s the Hustle Mentality
First, we need to understand the reason why we’re burnt out: it’s the hustle mentality.
The hustle mentality has made us believe that in order to succeed we have to do whatever it takes, no matter the cost.
We have to give all of our time, all of our energy, to our goal… or we don’t really want it.
If we’re not willing to sacrifice, we’re seen as lazy and selfish.
This mentality is so deeply ingrained in our culture that if you don’t give everything to your career, you feel like a failure.
As I was preparing to leave college with my BA in design for TV and theater, I remember countless professors and alumni telling me that if I wanted to succeed in the TV industry, I would have to say yes to every opportunity.
So I did. I said yes to the free gigs, the student films, the weekend and late night gigs, and the thankless gigs where my primary responsibility was taking out the garbage on set.
This hustle launched me into a successful career, but then I just continued to say yes:
- Yes, I’ll skip lunch and work through it because my coworkers are.
- Yes, I’ll cancel my dinner plans with friends because the boss said we need to work late.
- And yes, I’ll cancel my vacation because you need me to work.
By saying yes to everyone else, you’re saying no to yourself.
Women, in particular, are extremely susceptible to hustle mentality burnout. Not only are we expected to give everything at work, especially in male-dominated industries where we have to prove ourselves against our male counterparts, but then, when we come home, we’re expected to continue giving to our children and our partners.
But when you’re giving, giving, giving all the time… eventually, you’re going to run out of stuff to give.
How Self Care Can Help You Recover from Burnout
You can’t expect a plant that’s been put in a dark closet – without sunlight or water – to thrive. That same goes for us humans. Without nourishment for our bodies and minds we, too, will wither.
Self care is the exactly the nourishment we need to avoid burnout.
But what exactly is self care?
Self care is one of those trendy words right now and it has this unfortunate connotation of being something that’s indulgent or luxurious. It’s associated with bubble baths, massages, mani/pedis – things that requires time and money.
But that’s not what self care is about.
At its heart, self care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
And the really great thing is that these actions don’t have to be big or expensive. In fact, they can be super small, taking just a few seconds.
When we give ourselves intentional nourishment like this, we’re like that plant getting a few minutes of sun or a splash of water — it helps to shift us out of the stress response into a state of relaxation where we can thrive.
There’s a quote I want to share with you: “Hustle comes from fear. Flow comes from love.”
It’s that flow state, that place of love, that place of positive energy, that allows us to do our best work, in every area of our lives.
Not only are we better entrepreneurs or employees, able to bring passion and vision to our projects, but we’re also better people, better able to take care of the ones we love, because we ourselves are taken care of.
Self care isn’t an act of selfishness. It’s actually an act of love for you and the people around you.
3 Tips to Get More Self Care and Avoid Burnout
1. Decide You’re Worth It
Many of us have this block where we’re so comfortable giving, but when it comes to receiving, we stink at it! And that even means receiving from ourselves.
We come up with all these excuses: I’m too busy, I don’t have time, there’s so many things I need to do, time spent on myself is time I could’ve been spending else on work, family, or cleaning up around the house…
This was my problem. I always thought someone else’s need was greater than my own – the production designer’s, the producer’s, the prop guy’s. I didn’t value myself enough to say “woah, hold up, I need a few minutes to myself.”
And do you know what happened when I put myself first?
The world didn’t end.
People weren’t mad at me.
I didn’t get fired.
In fact, people started to respect me more because they could see I valued myself.
I want you to know that you are worth it. You deserve self care. It is your right. I guarantee, the world won’t end if put yourself first.
2. Do What Works for You
This is the part where I tell you that you don’t have to learn to meditate if you don’t want to. You’re welcome!
What I mean by that is that self care looks different for everyone. Every one will have a different self care routine.
Because what makes one person feel relaxed won’t necessarily make another person relax.
One key component of my self care routine is spending time outdoors in nature. It makes me feel so relaxed, connected, and alive, so I like to go for a walk in my neighborhood every morning and spend my weekends hiking and camping.
This works for me, but it may not work for someone else. In fact, for someone else, spending time in nature may be a huge stressor.
So you have to create your own self care menu by discovering what helps you relax.
Here’s a pro tip: when you’re busy, it’s important to have a least a few shorter self care rituals that you can sprinkle throughout your day. For example, when I’m time-crunched I can’t spend half a day hiking — BUT I can turn that into a mini self care ritual of stepping outside and breathing fresh air for five minutes.
3. Honor Your Energy Levels
One reason we get so exhausted and burnt out in the first place is because we don’t even realize it’s happening. All of a sudden it hits us that we’re completely rundown, but we have no idea how we got there.
This can be avoided by understanding your energy levels. When you create awareness around your energy, you can recognize the moment all your giving becomes depleting and then implement some self care in order to prevent yourself from spiraling to your rock bottom.
One way we can do this is by creating an energy scale from 1 to 10. 10 represents you at your happiest, in your flow state. 1, on the other hand is your rock bottom.
Start to identify what your 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on are. And when you get to a 7, ratchet up that self care to get yourself back to a 10.
Burnout Recovery Starts with Putting Yourself First
The hustle mentality isn’t working. It’s creating exhaustion, unhappiness, burnout, chronic stress, and disease. It’s literally killing us.
So it’s time for a new mindset – one where success is defined by not just by business success, but also by happiness and health.
When you make self care and investing in yourself a priority, you’ll see your health and happiness increase exponentially and that is what success really is!