I have got a lot going on right now, and trying to address all of it is exhausting.
I'm sleep deprived and burnt out which is making everything worse and tripling my usual anxiety.
I have no idea where to start, so I might as well start by addressing the one thing common to all of this - my exhaustion - and just hope that it'll make dealing with everything else a bit less difficult.
Does anyone here have any practical tips on coping with ongoing burnout?
Or any self care suggestions for people who are really bad at self care?
I basically just need some ideas to help me get unstuck...
Hey @Tiny_leaf :-)
Sleep deprivation and burn out definitely make things harder to deal with! Before I start bombarding you with suggestions, can I first ask you what you already do for self-care and any ideas for yourself that you might have?
It's really good that you're able to identify that you have a lot going which is causing you burn out. Without that self-awareness it's really hard to address anything, but you are right trying to do it all at once, is exhausting. I think dealing with your exhaustion is a good place to start and I agree with @JanaG - what have you tried so far?
You mentioned that you're really bad at self care. Would you mind elaborating on what that looks like?
The way I approach self care is to
1. Check my energy levels to decide what kind of self care I need - Is it physical, emotional, social, spiritual, psychological? (If I have physical energy I'll go for a yoga class or see friends, but if I'm feeling tired I might focus on something low-energy like doing a face mask, having a long shower or playing a game).
2. I remind myself that self care doesn't have to be extravagant. The simple act of doing something (anything!) for myself is what's important. It's the intention to be caring to yourself that is important. It's making time to check in with yourself.
I thought you might also want to check out this article about burn out.
So like I'll do work on getting into a Headspace program, then when I get overwhelmed I'll work on art to sell to raise money for a service dog and I'll just cycle between them.
If everything is overwhelming, I'll add another thing into my cycle of stuff to work on and do that for a bit.
The idea I think is that I'm always working on something and getting stuff done, because there is a lot of stuff that I need to get done for my mental and physical health.
(Yeah I know that this is a terrible way to approach self care...)
Most of my self care is pretty limited and only really happens when I'm approaching crisis.
Also I agree with @JanaG
I had never thought of different kinds of self care for some reason..
Thanks for so openly sharing how you approach self care. I don't think the way you're doing things is terrible, but I can see why you're feeling overwhelmed. It's great that you know what you need to get done (headspace, art etc) and that are actively work on getting stuff done.
Can you think of some other activities that you do to relax, laugh, breathe deeply etc? It might be helpful to balance out "taking care business" with relaxation/down time. Self care is good to do when approaching crisis, but is most helpful when done every day. Almost like an everyday check in with yourself. Click here to read some articles on self care that are really helpful.
@Tiny_leaf I think this is a really great topic that a lot of members can relate to. I've struggled with burnout before and it wasn't fun at all... Stress and burnout can make you feel so exhausted. It can be a vicious cycle because the symptoms of burnout can make you even more anxious, and you can get burnout because you're anxious.
What has helped me with exhaustion is doing a little bit more activity each day. It can be hard to do this if you're not exercising much, but you could try doing some stretches, which helped me. I found a lot of the tips in this book to be helpful when I had chronic pain, but they are also beneficial for the mental health side of things. Developing good sleep habits and making sure that you're eating well can help too.
I have also had to schedule in time for self-care and set some rules to improve my mental health. For example, I try to ask for a certain amount of notice before having to do something that requires a lot of work or for me to go somewhere. Some people also find it useful to schedule a certain time to respond to emails or write it in their signature that they will only reply during certain days and times. Sticking to a timetable can be helpful for some people and unhelpful for others. It doesn't have to be a full-on schedule, but it has helped me to have some rules such as not doing any work for an hour to an hour and a half after I've woken up or arrived home.
@WheresMySquishy unfortunately I struggle with pretty much all of that...
Even thinking about eating healthily makes me really anxious, because of how complicated it is and how many opinions there are.
Between my pain and depression, I only really have the energy to do stretches/ activity when I'm in too much pain not to. The only exercise I can make myself do is in horse riding, but that's only for like an hour once a week...
And time tables/ scheduling just make me feel like there's more pressure...
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