Are you overdoing it? It can be really easy to do without even realising, so I’m sharing 5 easy tips for avoiding burnout, just in case you’re starting to pile your plate too high.
If you’re like me, a #fibrowarriorgoddess or #chronicillnesswarriorgoddess, these tips are even more vital — and precious — because you already know the consequences of overextending your resources.
But if you’re not amongst these goddess ranks, you may be at very high risk of joining us if you don’t take the necessary steps to avoid burnout. In a culture that sees excessive business as a virtue burnout is an all-too-common catastrophe experienced by many.
To cut to the chase, my top 5 tips for avoiding burnout are:
- Cut back
- Nourish strategically
- Conscious hydration
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Cut back on the unnecessary
The biggest issue for most of us dealing with chronic illness is the need to strategically choose where to expend energy. When you are facing a situation that calls for more than you are accustomed to giving, it’s time to get strategic and make decisions based on what supports you best AND allows you to accomplish your chosen priority with ease and grace.
For instance, my belly dance troupe is performing at a local festival in a couple of weeks’ time, and we’ve been following a very intensive rehearsal schedule in preparation.
I knew this would be a significant energy deficit for me and that my pain levels would become quite problematic. But I chose to do it anyway, knowing the consequences, because I love dancing and the Sea Breeze Festival is so much fun!
To honour this commitment and remain functioning, I knew I would have to make some serious compromises. So, I weighed my options and chose to put some of my business commitments on hold for the 4-week lead-in to the performance. Are there ramifications to these temporary measures? Yes, but I’m prepared to accept them because the joy factor I’m receiving by doing this is immeasurable!
Avoiding burnout is about choices
Even in situations that feel impossible, it’s vital to know you always have choices. How you make those choices is equally important. Here are some guidelines for you to consider.
- Be guided by heart wisdom in selecting where your responsibilities lie.
- Practice your craft in the art of delegation. If you need help, ask for it!
- Are there things you can put down temporarily, to focus and conserve your energy?
- Will doing this bring you joy, accomplishment, or satisfaction?
- What is the outcome you desire and in an ideal world how would you attain this? How can you apply this vision to your current situation?
To sum up, if you need to ration your energy commitments for a period of time, what can you put down temporarily while you focus your energy in the preferred area?
Nourish yourself strategically
Earlier this year I moved to a plant-based diet and I’ve really relished the drop in inflammation levels I’ve experienced with removing animal protein from my diet.
However, knowing that my rehearsal commitment meant not only a requirement for bolstered energy levels but also a need to support the physical stress of so much exertion, I decided to bring some animal protein in the form of fish and eggs, back into my diet, during this period.
This choice is helping me stay more grounded, I can feel it supporting my structural body, and it’s giving me a sense of having something left in the tank, so to speak. I’m not left completely physically drained. And, although my pain levels are generally higher at the moment, the accompanying inflammation is manageable. I’d hate to think how I’d be feeling if I introduce red meat at this point!
Bonus tip for avoiding burnout: fuel to quench burnout
The other thing I’ve noticed though, is the craving for empty carbs. At around 3 pm, my mind starts wandering to thoughts of chocolate biccies, salty chips, corn chips, and other enticing junk. To counter this, I’ve been roasting thin slices of sweet potato and beetroot (homemade chippies), and having some of those, or consciously choosing fruit instead.
It’s a win-win because my craving is satisfied and my body is actually receiving useable nutrition, in perfect timing to support me at rehearsal.
In essence, strategic nutrition to avoid burnout involves:
- Being conscious of what your body is actually asking for.
- Choosing useable nutrition over instant gratification and empty carbs.
- A bit of forward-planning to batch-cook some goodies so they’re handy when you need them.
- Educating yourself about what makes your body sing, and what makes it cry, and owning your choices in full consciousness of the consequences.
It’s pretty common knowledge these days, that being well hydrated is important for maintaining the healthy function of all your body systems. But, it’s not always that easy to do.
I know this is something I’m not particularly good at, so I’ve had to teach myself some new habits. This is what I mean about conscious hydration, I observed what my water intake habits were and noticed that I’m pretty good in the morning, but come afternoon, I tend to completely forget to drink anything.
So, here are some tips to help you stay hydrated and avoid burnout.
- Drink a glass of water immediately on rising.
- Drink a glass of water before breakfast.
- Keep a glass of water handy while working. Drink and refill regularly!
- Take a water bottle with you when you head out.
- Set a timer to remind you if you’re prone to forgetting.
- Observe the effects of your hydration efforts on the quality of your sleep.
Supplement to support your deficits
Nutrition alone won’t necessarily provide all your body needs for optimum function, particularly if you are putting your system under stress. For many #warriorgoddesses the key to staying balanced lies in managing pain and energy levels, and strategic nourishment alone often isn’t enough.
In addition to strategic nourishment, and in consultation with my naturopath, I regularly incorporate a supplement regimen to improve how I feel in my body on a day-to-day basis. However, I don’t necessarily take everything all the time but rather respond to what I feel my body needs.
The main items are outlined below and you’ll notice there’s plenty of cross-over as many supplements contribute to the function of more than one body system.
- vit C
- vit D
Immune system support
- Vit A
- Vit C
- Vit D
Nervous system support
- Vit C
- B vitamins
Pay loving attention to your body
This is one of my soap box areas, so I’ll try not to get too preachy here. Suffice it to say, self-care and self-devotion rarely make it onto many people’s priority lists, but they are the most significant things you can do for your health and quality of life.
Here is a list of my personal self-devotion practices, many of which are daily rituals for me.
- Mindful movement
- Yin-style stretching
- Meditation, mindfulness, or both
- Energy circulation techniques, such as heart coherence or microcosmic orbit
- Rest, whatever that looks like for you
Even though this is the last tip on the list, I saved the best for last because it’s the key to optimising each of the others. It’s also one of my all-time favourite tips for avoiding burnout and managing just about all other challenges ranging from feeling stuck and overwhelmed to managing chronic pain.
In and of themselves, these tips are powerful self-help tools that you can employ at any time. When put together they make a significant shift to the way you feel in general, and how you respond to and manage the stresses that crop up in your world. All together though your most potent tool is mindfulness. Coach yourself to become the Observer, to witness your thoughts, actions, and patterns without judgement so you know when to employ these tips for avoiding burnout in perfect timing.