Hi to all! After a long and necessary hiatus, Naturally Whole is back and better than ever. It’s been almost a year since my last post and so much has happened. I got married, moved to a new city, started a new job and much more. I have so many amazing experiences to share with you all from this past year so I’ll be writing about my favourite ones over the coming weeks.
What I really want to share in this post is why Naturally Whole went so quiet so soon after the launch date. All the reasons can be summed up in one all-too-familiar word– burnout. With all of the craziness that life has brought lately, I started to experience massive amounts of stress and anxiety. I actually didn’t even identify it as burnout until I took some time off recently and felt so much more…normal.
The truth is, I was consistently overburdening myself with full-time, part-time and volunteer work, several courses, writing, travelling, and trying to lay the foundations for a business all while adjusting to a new marriage and home— unwise to say the least. I knew this was not the naturally whole life I was trying to pursue and promote. In the end, something had to give, and I figured in order for me to provide consultation to others, I needed to get my own life back into balance. Though I still have a ton to work on, it’s all about the upward trajectory and I can honestly say that for the first time in over a year, I’m finally pointing in the right direction.
I want to use my experience to help you do the same, so without further ado, here’s a handy list of 7 tips to recover from bad burnout:
1) Prayer & Meditation
This is the number one thing that continues to preserve my mental health despite the emotional rollercoasters I so often find myself on. My faith takes priority in my life, and I make sure to set aside pockets of time throughout the day to whisper a prayer. I also incorporate meditation in the form of stillness in order to allow myself to “listen” to what God may be saying back to me. If there is any wisdom to be found in this life, it is in acknowledging the finiteness of humanity and relying on infinite Divine power for strength.
Tip: Incorporate stillness into your day by finding a peaceful spot to sit quietly and just breathe for a few minutes. Focus on one word, phrase, or idea that will serve as your intention for that time.
One of my biggest weaknesses is my tendency to over analyze and complicate things. As an introvert, I’m a naturally deep thinker and very sensitive person, so my mind is always racing with a plethora of “what ifs” and “what abouts”.
I’ve come to learn the art of simplicity. I set an intention daily to take different life situations for what they are, not for what they may be under the surface or could be in any given circumstance. I’ve also extended the principle of simplicity to things like my outfits and my routine. Instead of worrying about trying to look perfectly pinterest , I choose to keep it simple with minimal accessories, basic functional neutrals and the occasional print or pop of colour. I also try not to pack a million projects and appointments into a week, setting ridiculous and self-imposed deadlines because “that’s what successful people do”.
Tip: To master simplicity, minimize non-essentials, set realistic goals, and persevere at a maintainable pace.
3) Just Say No
If there’s white space on my calendar, you better believe I’m itching to fill it with something. Combine this habit with my natural “people-pleasing” personality and it is a recipe for disaster. I’ve learned the hard way that saying yes to one thing often means saying no to something else.
For me, this often equates to lack of sleep, eating poorly, letting my workouts suffer or sacrificing time with my husband (all of which are non-negotiable priorities).
I tackle this issue by accepting that there will always be more things to do than time to do them in, and as such it’s always a matter of what is top priority. For me it’s my spiritual health, my physical/mental/emotional health, and my relationships.
Tip: Before you commit to something, running through a list of your top priorities will quickly reveal if it’s something you can take on. If any are compromised, it’s a no-go, no exceptions.
4) Schedule your Breaks
Seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s much easier said than done. Everything else has a time, date, appointment etc.. so why not use the calendar to block of time just for yourself? I can’t count the number of times I’ve blasted through a workday without stopping for a proper lunch break (not recommended). I figure if it’s 3pm and I haven’t gone out, I may as well just power through until the end of the day. DON’T DO IT. If it’s so easy to commit to meetings with others, why not take a half hour for ourselves?
Tip: Both short breaks and longer, more restorative vacations are necessary to really refocus your mind and rest your body. It’s surprising how beneficial even an extra long weekend can be for your mental health!
When you’re overworked and on the verge of burnout, exercise may seem like the last thing you have time and energy for. This is a huge, HUGE mistake. Especially in the winter months where daylight hours are far from plenty.
Getting your blood pumping even with a brisk outdoor walk can provide an incredible mental and physical boost that’s far more effective in the long run than any coffee or energy drink. Ideally, you should be getting at least 60 minutes of exercise in total every day for optimum health. So put your FitBit to use and move your body!
Tip: Take a 20 minute walk on your lunch break or choose a parking spot that’s bit further away when running errands.
6) Eat to Live
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. You can have the most powerful sports car in the world, but if you’re not giving it premium fuel, it won’t perform (at least not very well). I strongly believe that what you put in your body is either creating health or destroying it— no middle ground. I’m not 100% perfect with my diet (fries and onion rings are my kryptonite), but I do set an intention to make eating clean and whole foods the rule and not the exception.What you put in your body is either creating health or destroying it. Click To Tweet
Tip: Taking a few hours at the beginning of the week to prep and pack some healthy snacks-to-go is a lifesaver when the stress-cravings start to kick in.
7) Get Support
There’s a reason why people tend to be more successful at something (a sport, an instrument, weight loss etc..) when they have a coach or mentor. Admitting that you can’t do something all on your own is not a weakness, but in fact a great strength. When you’re in over your head don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you. Confiding in a family member, friend, or a professional is an effective way to put things in perspective and get the support you need to help you through a difficult time. Sometimes it helps to just bounce ideas off another person!
Tip: Try jotting down a quick list of the challenges you’re facing and ask a close friend or confidant how they’ve dealt with similar issues.
I’m sure there are many more ways to cure and prevent burnout, but this is just a list of things that I’ve found most helpful. In the fall, I’ll be offering lifestyle consulting services to provide personalized one-on-one support to people who need help getting their life back in balance.
Have you learned any tips for burnout recovery? Share with us in the comments section!
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