Burnout isn’t a pretty thing. That’s when life feels like a battle, personal boundaries become blurry, and space-making is a real necessity. It gets me thinking about all the ways I can show up for myself better so that I don’t feel this way again—not sooner than necessary, anyway. From my practice to yours, here are 5 ideas if you hear that call to take care of yourself better today.
“It takes courage to change your beliefs.” — Danielle LaPorte
I like to think that chocolate is a viable self-care tool, and since I tend to think that way, it probably is. Anyway, there are lots of methods of showing up for ourselves that really work when we show up with a mind (and heart) open to something new.
However you like to take care of yourself (and definitely if you haven’t done so in a long time), each of these ideas represents another option, perhaps one that better suits you today. These are reachable suggestions that, if anything at all, may only require a slight alteration to your current situation and environment: the real change always happens within.
Above all, keep yourself open to another way of relating to yourself. This, truly, is the privileged task of a lifetime.
5 Readily-Accessible Ways to Take Care of Yourself Today
1. Offer soothing, supportive touch.
Physical warmth, gentle touch, and soothing vocalization are three self-compassion triggers. If you feel the waves of failure, shame, or isolation sweeping over you, you can use your body as a vehicle for accessing your own inner compassion.
Find a way of touching yourself that feels soothing and supportive:
- Put both hands over your chest/heart center.
- Put your hands on your belly.
- Hold your own hand, like you would a loved one’s.
- Give yourself a hug.
- Cradle your face, like you would a child’s.
Ask your body what it needs to feel cared for in the moment. When your body relaxes and feels more comforted, space is created for your mind to follow.Don't underestimate the investment you make in yourself. Click To Tweet
2. List how you do want to feel, and frame those feelings in possibility.
This is simple and to the point: make a physical (or mental) list pinpointing how you want to feel, and focus there for as long as you can. Continuing to fixate on how you don’t want to feel (stressed, burned out, worn down) only narrows your vision and blocks out other options.
If you decide to use affirmations to spark an attitudinal shift, use wording that emphasizes the desired feelings, and phrase your desires in such a way that they seem possible. For example, “I am amazing and capable” seems a little far-fetched when we’re already down and doubtful, whereas “I’ve figured things out before, and I trust that I can figure things out again” sounds more reachable.
This isn’t about avoiding any negative emotions you’re feeling; it’s about generating energy in reverence for what you most want to feel.
First you’ll want to try honoring the discomfort, sitting with it until you start to catch a glimpse of what lies underneath those uncomfortable feelings. When you do that, you stop rejecting parts of yourself and you rediscover your own intrinsic worth and goodness; of course there’s possibility available to you. Accepting where you’re at right now gives you the courage to take a new risk, to live with authenticity and boldness, and to step forward in other areas of your life.
With this change of heart comes a stronger connection with how you actually want to be feeling; you honor the present feelings but don’t get stuck there, regain your sense of wholeness, and then act on your desires from a place of wholesomeness and trust.Pay attention to the feelings that you actually want to feel. Click To Tweet
3. Relax your body to encourage relaxation in your mind.
There are infinite ways to use your physical expression as a springboard for emotional and mental release.
You may feel inclined to:
- Take a cat nap.
- Draw a warm bath.
- Do a walking meditation, stopping to smell the flowers and absorb plant life.
- Use essential oils for aromatherapeutic release.
- Practice yoga nidra.
- Schedule a massage.
- Massage/exfoliate your skin with a dry brush.
- Try “legs up the wall” pose.
- Try some breathing exercises.
Relaxation is essential when it comes to growth (on all levels). It only needs to take a minute or two, perhaps a few times a day, so you don’t have to go through life tense and closed off. You really can be relaxed and open, and still handle whatever you need to handle.Caring for yourself is necessary if expansion is a priority. Click To Tweet
Anne Lamott said it perfectly: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Attachments can be exhausting, especially if they’re ringing, dinging, and buzzing you all day long. Allow yourself the freedom of detaching from the incessant activities of the world around you. You don’t need to be totally cut off from what’s going on, but you don’t need to be tethered to the status and opinions of everyone else, either.
Whether it’s for one day or one hour, in the mornings or evenings, or for set periods during the day, try going without easy access to your phone, computer, radio, tablet, or other devices that steal your precious energy and attention. Place your phone in the other room while you work or exercise. Disallow popup notifications from social media and email. Try only checking your devices after you’ve completed a task.
Make space to show up fully in this moment for yourself without distractions.
What helps you create distance between you and what’s depleting your resources? Explore what “disconnect” means for you.Attachments are exhausting where there are no boundaries; allow yourself space. Click To Tweet
5. Voice your concerns to a trusted ally.
The gifts you have buried in you can only see the light of day when you (a) nourish them and (b) give them a voice. The same goes for the knots that are buried in you—the grievances must be aired, the frustrations need to breathe. Without a little fresh air and an ear to listen, it can be tough to get what’s eating you up inside, OUT.
Seek the presence of a close friend or loved one who is willing to simply be with you. They don’t need to solve your problems or fix anything, only be all there to hear you out, so that you can hear your own way out.
It’s amazing what we might discover through a warm conversation with another. Maybe there were triggers we didn’t see, wounds we’ve been avoiding healing, or beliefs we’ve been holding that we never considered might be impacting our sense of worth.We voice our grievances not to strengthen them, but to hear our own way out. Click To Tweet
- In what ways are you taking care of yourself today—physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually?
- What self-care practices keep you nourished and keep burnout at bay?
Please share your tried-and-true self-care practices, how you plan to take care of yourself today, the benefits you’ve experienced from honoring your own needs, and any helpful stories with me in the comments.
Be a self-care messenger and send these ideas to someone you care about.
Nail down your priorities, and let yourself be flexible enough to set free (even temporarily) any of them that don’t mesh well with self-care right now. Practice what it feels like to be discerning and soft, all at the same time.