Running On Empty
Imagine driving your car every single day, maybe a few times a day, and never pulling in to a petrol station to refuel. What do you think would happen? Eventually the car would become sluggish and slow. Soon it would stop running altogether. Fortunately with roadside assistance etc we can now sort out car troubles pretty quickly; we could call for a recovery truck and have the car fixed up pretty quick. However, if we continued to do this repeatedly over time it could lead to lasting damage to the vehicle, especially if we were neglecting other things, like oil, water and tyres. Its pretty easy to see how neglecting a car could lead to serious damage.
The same can be said for ourselves, but unlike with a car which can be replaced, we cannot say the same about our own minds and bodies. If we push ourselves to the limit every single day without taking time to 'refuel', burnout is inevitable. In today's fast paced world we are expected to be constantly on the go and there is little time left to do what you enjoy or to simply 'be'. This being the case, it is more important than ever to take time to consider these two questions: What are the things that burn me out? What are the things that build me back up? Minimising exposure to the former, where possible, is key, as well as increasing time spent on the latter.
What are the things the build us back up and allow us refuel? What feeds us mentally, emotionally and spiritually will be very unique to each person but here is a list of ideas to get you started:
Take time to spend with your loved ones
Engage in an hobby you are passionate about
Give back to your community (e.g. volunteering)
Take a long walk or go for a run
Spend time in nature
Enjoy a relaxing bath
Read a book
Get lost in a creative exercise (writing, drawing, craft)
Go for a massage or beauty treatment
Practice Mindfulness (more on this in a future post)
Try a rejuvenating practice such as yoga or pilates.
Catch a movie
Socialise with friends or join a social group
The main thing is to engage in activities that you really enjoy and that you come away from feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. It is common to feel guilty about spending time on yourself. However, remember the car analogy; If you do not spend time on self-care you will eventually burnout. In a lot of cases, we take our fatigue out on the people around us as anger, bitterness and resentment. Self-care is important for ourselves AND the people who depend on us, it is also important to model self-care to our children. Self-care is an ESSENTIAL part of life.