A little over two weeks ago I wrote down some pretty good advice (even if I do say so myself) about getting your glow back. The point of that post was to help you and to some extent remind myself that burnout is serious and if you don't take care of yourself it will sneak up on you. Read the post here: https://www.emsincontext.com/post/how-to-get-your-glow-back
Well, as the title of this post would suggest, I need to take my own advice. I have been unwell for near on two weeks with the flu. Whilst that may not seem like a burnout problem, I know that because I have been moving so fast for so long I haven't been taking the time to look after myself and my body which has ultimately led to my immune system being compromised. I'm feeling better now but at a cost to having to take time off and stay in bed for over a week...believe me when I say we are three boxes of tissues down.
So why am I telling you this?
I think the best way for you to know that it's okay to mess up and make mistakes is to see others, i.e. me, mess up and make mistakes. I want to be transparent and having you read my blog helps hold me accountable to really following advice, whether it be my own or someone else's and ideally become the best version of myself that I can be!
Then what do you do when you are burnt out?
Burnout can affect individuals in many different ways. For me it affects me both physically and mentally. My immune system is compromised, I start to feel tired all the time and I can begin to feel quite sick and the IBS is in full swing. Mentally I start picking myself apart, beating myself up at any opportunity, I can feel lost, anxious and my low days are more frequent. Others might find that they become affected more physically than mentally or may find their spirituality or any of the other pillars of wellbeing suffer as a result.
Here is what's helped me most when I've experienced burnout:
- REST and plenty of it. For me this takes shape in sitting or laying down and switching off from social media, binge-watching TV shows and getting in lots of naps. P.S. If you're looking for a new show to watch, I HIGHLY recommend Wednesday on Netflix.
- Fluids. The doctor will tell you, your Mum will tell you and now I'm telling you that when you're unwell you need to drink plenty of H2O. It will help you to replenish any liquids lost from things like blowing your nose and sweating etc.
- Reading. Reading always helps me feel better. I feel transported to a different place where my mind isn't overrun by thoughts and it's also a great distraction from how I might be feeling physically. There are so many books and magazines that can provide self-help advice too which is always a blessing!
- YouTube is my guilty pleasure. Guilty because my favourite thing to watch on there is morning routine videos or getting your life together videos. I find them calming and they help me figure out what I want my life to look like at least some of the time.
- Eating food. I might have mentioned before but when I don't feel well my eating habits are the first to drop and this is down to my ASD. I find it really important in these times to just keep eating, no matter what it is, whether that be chips and a random banana here and there, as long as I'm fuelling my body somehow I can figure out a more balanced diet when I feel a bit better.
- Planning, getting organized and reflection. I realise this might seem counter productive to the rest and here me out. I don't want you to go into overdrive and map out exactly when you're going to get better and then plan your work schedule for the next 5 years. I want you to think about what has led you this place, why are you burnt out and what could you do better? Do you need a more structured routine with time for rest set in place or do you just need to prioritise more? Whatever it is you'll know when you take the time to gently reflect on you and your lifestyle.
- Finally, keeping in touch. Contacting your place of work, your doctor, friends and family is
really important to overall healing. You don't want to be worried about work and a pile of tasks waiting for you on your return, is there anything they can do to delegate your workload out to others? Speaking to your doctor as there might be support available for you whether that be mental or physical. Friends and family are there for the rest, can they bring you some groceries whilst your stuck in bed or just give you a call to cheer you up? No doubt this will help you relax and stay stress free while you heal!
Why not give some of these a go the next time you've burnt yourself out (if there even is a next time!) Let me know how you get on and if there is anything else you think helps you during these periods.
Blessings Ems x