In at culture that’s obsessed with constant acceleration and considering how easy it is to work from anywhere, it’s pretty much a miracle we’re not all burnt out, all the time. It’s crazy how we talk about stress and work overload like it’s totally normal. But we have brains — not thinking-and-doing machines — and we need rest and periods of restoration regularly. Or else we (and everything in our lives) totally suffers.
But taking the time to reset is often easier said than done. Most of us can relate to the feeling of being totally spent, but working until you’re angry, out of touch and resentful. At that point, it’s so key to stop everything, drop the work and check yourself. It’s time to reassess. But first, take a minute to restore. Here’s how to reclaim your energy beyond the point of too-much:
Commit to a period of restoration
Acknowledge what you need, and then support yourself by designating the space for it. Don’t bring your laptop to bed if you’re going to have a nap, don’t bring your phone to bathtub, don’t make yourself available to anyone if you need to disconnect. This is a time to give your brain, your eyes, your nerves and your feels a break! It’s a time to gracefully bow out of your routine and usual habits, to give yourself permission to hate everyone. Whether you have an hour, an afternoon or a week to recover, commit wholeheartedly to it.
Engage in activities that pull you into the present
Doing something with your hands or engages your senses can help relax the mind and help your brain chill and heal.
Yoga, gardening, reading, cooking, swimming, running, walking (in some woods, ideally) or taking a bike ride can just make me feel like I’m on vacation from my own brain even though I’ve actually just physically removed myself from the internet. Engaging with print material, reading books and writing my my journal can be really meditative and grounding.
Reaffirm your boundaries
There’s a lot to be learned from a period of burnout. Reflecting on the hectic week or month or year from a safe space (retrospect), will help you determine how much is actually too much. Not how much you can take on — but how much has proven to be based on emotional and physical results. Think back to the burnout trenches and consider: What was it that was truly the worst? What was actually important? How can I retool my work / life balance strategy? Use the opportunity to reflect and get wise about sustainable energy management.
Check your “diet”
What are you feeding your body, your mind and soul, day-to-day? What is it that you’re running on? If it’s caffeine and lean cuisine, a need to distract yourself from your feelings or some deep desire to earn your dad’s respect, it’s just not sustainable, homie. At the end of the day, only you know what makes your body feel good and in working order, and what activities and relationships lift you up, and when you need to put a hard line down and say no. It’s totally in your power to give all that to yourself! When you meet your needs, you’re the boss.