Since I haven’t re-defined self-care, I used to think that basic physical and emotional self-care is the only key to avoid burnout. Okay so what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about self-care? Journaling, meditation, taking care of your skin, body and mind or much more. Well, same was the case with me.
Though journaling, working out, meditating etc are the things that are supposed to keep you stress free – Right? And you might think they’re the answer to all your problems like I did. But unfortunately, it’s not the case. Last year, I learned something that made me realize that my definition of self-care was wrong. No matter how much I was trying to be happy and calm, it was not working for me. And that was the time, when I did some in-depth research about it and re-defined self-care to me.
Keep reading because I’ll be sharing that why self-care failed in my case.
Self-care plays a very significant role in beating stress, anxiety and adding joy in our everyday life but sometimes, we fail because our heart and mind is not ready to accept the things for the way they are. Say for example, if you’re doing journaling, you have to be very honest with your thoughts. You should not only be writing for the sake of journaling, but you must write the actual thoughts which are running in your head at that moment. If you’ll not be honest with yourself, you’ll not succeed in your self-care practice. Thus, being honest with your own self is the key here.
RELATED POST – A complete guide to an honest journaling
HOW I BURNED OUT AND RE-DEFINED SELF-CARE
Even though I was practicing self-care on regular basis, it was not working for me because I wasn’t being honest with myself. While working in a corporate, I was performing the full-time job and alongside, studying Masters in Business. After 9-5 job, I also used to work as a freelancer content writer. I thought I was able to manage it altogether, but it eventually became too much.
I used to spend my Sundays sleeping and resting all day. And then again back to the same routine. I literally had no time for myself and the relationships in my life. I was unable to give enough time to my family, friends and especially my own self. No time for hobbies and personal development. Cutting long story short, my life was only revolving around work and studies.
Trying to juggle two separate jobs and studies was exhausting, I didn’t have time in my schedule for anything but work, and my brain rarely had chance to relax.
Before I talk about how I re-defined self-care, let’s talk about the symptoms that shows if you’re burned out.
FIVE SIGNS IF YOU’RE BURNED OUT
You struggle to find motivation
Have you ever experienced that sometimes you find it hard to stay motivated even for the simplest of things like reverting a mail, scheduling an appointment, completing an incomplete work and so on. Even though you exactly know what you need to work on that day, you just don’t have the motivation to get it done. That’s a sign you might be burned out from your mundane or repetitive routine.
You feel exhausted
Ok so exhaustion is not same as being tired. When you’re exhausted, it literally affects every sphere of your life – From your work routine to your workout routines. If you need five cups of coffee to keep your eyes open during entire day, then you really need to check on yourself and assure if you’re taking proper care of yourself or not. Sometimes there are basic things which needs to be taken care of – Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating regularly? Are you consistent with your workout routine? Sometimes the simplest things make massive impact on our energy levels.
You feel disconnected with yourself
Have you ever felt like “You are not you anymore”. When you lose connection with your own self, it makes you question everything that you’re doing. You doubt yourself for almost everything and it can also make you feel insecure and unsatisfied. And there is always a feeling of guilt that you’re not doing good enough even though others are dealing with much worse.
You keep snapping at others
People are annoying sometimes, that’s a fact. But if you’re noticing that you’re way more irritable than usual, blaming others for everything and not taking responsibility of your time and energy, then it might be a sign that you’re burned out.
You’ve negative self-talk
When we are exhausted and burned out, our mind tends to attract negative thoughts very easily. If you notice that you’re finding mistakes in every other person or circumstances, then you really need to take a pause and check in with yourself. If you’re thinking negative and being hard on yourself, it could be because you haven’t given your mind enough time to rest and recharge.
HOW I RE-DEFINED SELF-CARE
Now that I’m no longer in a situation where I have to try hard for everything, I’ve learned what self-care truly means (at least to me).
Self-care involves more than yourself. Let’s have a look on the true meaning of self-care and how I re-defined self-care.
You need to build an emotional support system
It is said that even the strongest people need shoulder to lean on which I truly believe. Sometimes we are going through so much that we need someone to talk to. Even though there are plenty of techniques to declutter your mind and finding calm. But I believe there is no substitute to sharing your thoughts with someone you can rely upon. So, let’s face it, we all need someone to talk to and share our chaos with. Thus, it’s important to build an emotional support system who can help you take off the weight on your shoulders.
You have to let things go
True self-care is deciding if you are going to accept what is causing you stress and discomfort or if you are going to change it. I kept dealing with few things that were never going to change, and it created nothing but only stress in my life. I tried to accept and convince myself for a long time that things were okay and even tried to make the situation better but it didn’t really worked. In my case, I had to let go of few things to truly feel like myself again. So, if you’re also dealing with something that is causing you discomfort and is never going to change anyway, please let it go. There’s nothing wrong in being kind and compassionate towards your own self.
I recently read an article about community self-care and its significance that how it is even more important than personal self-care. Community self-care means having people in your life you can rely upon when you need them the most. There are lot of things which cannot be done alone, and if you do, you might end up feeling burned out. It’s important to understand that one cannot do it all, especially alone. You need a support system in life if you’re going to make it through anything.
Prioritize your peace and happiness
The main purpose of self-care is to find calm in chaos. Looking back at now, I realized these were the two things I got failed at. But now I’ve learned that self-care ironically involves more than yourself. As mentioned above, prioritize your support system and get comfortable asking for help if you need it. You need to embrace the art of letting things go which disturbs your inner peace. Consequently, it will help you to find joy and calm in your everyday life.
Is there anything you need to let go?
Self-care is much deeper than a lot of us even realize. The day I re-defined self-care for myself, I’m putting my time and energy into the things that give me life and not something that makes me question the decisions I make.
So, if you’re burned out and find the traditional self-care techniques monotonous, please understand that it’s okay to let things go and stop fighting with what is burning you out. I hope this post has given you some encouragement to deal with the situations in a better way.