How To Stop Burnout Before It Happens | Play It Forward Therapy

How To Stop Burnout Before It Happens

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May 26, 2020

I have a strong suspicion about you… Let me take a guess..  I’m guessing that…

A.  You’re a dedicated person who is 101% dedicated to the well-being and nurturing of the children in your life.

B.  You do your best, but sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day.

C.  You’re a giver and put others needs before your own.

D.  You’re incredibly busy juggling all sorts of scheduling, commitments and have a never-ending to-do list.

E.  Yes! All of the above.

How did I do?  Can you identify with any or all of the above?

If the answer is yes, you’re in good company, and I’m glad you’re here!

Because today is the day…. to start putting the focus back on yourself and your needs… it’s called self-care, and it’s essential for preventing burnout!

I encourage you to show yourself some love and take a moment to give yourself a big pat on the back.

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly giving and starting to feel a twinge of weariness or maybe heading down the path of burnout?

Can you feel the burnout creeping in?

Whether it’s feelings of crankiness, moodiness, frustration or exhaustion, the constant giving of your time, mental and emotional energy can leave the best of us feeling depleted, not matter how good our intentions are.

Now is the time to take care of you! 

You have amazing gifts to offer the world and that includes the potential to make a hugely, positive impact in the lives of those around you.  But you need to fill your own cup before you can share with others.

Keep in mind that “Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”  Katie Reed

The current pandemic crisis has all of us wearing masks for the safety and health of our communities…  It reminds me when traveling on an airplane, how the flight attendant always recommends, “If you are traveling with children, please put on your mask before assisting others.”  In other words, you need to make sure you’re OK, so you have the ability to help others.

As a matter of fact, parents, teachers, pediatric therapists and other kid loving professionals have the most rewarding jobs in the world!  To possess the opportunity of truly being able to nurture a child’s development and to help shape their future is a BIG, full time job with lots of overtime hours!

But the truth is,  sometimes it feels downright exhausting.  And that’s why, I have 10 Tips To Help You Recharge 🔋 

It’s your turn to focus on you…  and now is the time to nourish your mind, body and soul!

Don’t underestimate how making small changes can have big results.

 

Top 10 Tips for Taking Care Of Your Mind, Body and Soul

 

TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND

Here are my favorite brain smart strategies to help keep your mind in it’s best mental state.

#1.  MINDSET:  Life is only as good as your mindset.  Having the right mindset in any situation in life is vital for your success.

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”  Steve Marboli

#2.  MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS:  Strive for progress not perfection.  Learn how to communicate clearly and set realistic expectations at work and at home.  When it comes to working with children,  it’s important to understand and know what’s typical in child development from physical development to cognitive and emotional development. If you’re not sure, this is where OT can help you determine what is a reasonable “ask” of your child.  One key aspect of managing your expectations is considering whether the goals you’ve set for yourself, your kids or clients are achievable and realistic.

The truth is… miscommunication and misunderstood expectations can cause undue stress and strain in any relationship.

Managing your expectations and those of others depends largely upon good communication and clear messaging. 

If good communication occurs, fewer misunderstandings will happen in the future.   This will save you from misunderstandings that will tap your emotional resources and cause unnecessary stress.

#3.  MANAGE YOUR TIME:  “Either you run the day or the day runs you. (Jim Rohn). Start your day by listing your priorities and block out times in your schedule to focus on those priorities.  Don’t forget to schedule in breaks.  Research shows that taking breaks actually improves productivity.  Check out the Pomodoro Technique. 🍅

#4.  MEDIA:  Be mindful of limiting your media consumption because too much exposure to troublesome news can have a negative effect on your mood, mental health and overall well being.  The American Psychological Association states that constant exposure to media can “increase your perceptions of threat, activating your fight or flight response” which is a stress response.  This can lead to an increase in physical and mental health problems.  Instead focus on the media that helps you feel connected and supported.  Take a mental vacation and read a magazine, watch reruns of Saturday Night Live or other comedy shows and create a play list of your favorite movies and shows.  Tiger King anyone? 🐯

TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY

#5.  Maintain healthy habits:  You’re more likely to burnout if you’re body is running on fumes!  That’s why caring for your body is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself to feel your best!  Plus, eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep and regular exercise can help prevent lifestyle related diseases.  

  • Get plenty of rest:  Sleep apps such as Calm, Headspace, Noisli, Pzizz and Slumber.  If it’s your kids keeping you up late, these apps may be a helpful part of a bedtime routine: Sleepiest and Moshi.
  • Choose foods wisely to maximize your nutrition:  As a general rule, processed foods don’t help anyone’s health or waistline.  Try drinking more water or seltzer water instead of sugary drinks.  Fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables in addition to whole foods, grains and proteins that’ll help your body perform it’s best.
  • Regular exercise: Exercise is not only good for your physical health, it’s also been shown to boost your mood and decrease feelings of stress and depression.

#6.  Mini Breaks:  Sprinkle in short breaks throughout your day to combat mental fatigue and maintain your energy levels and mood. As a matter of fact, taking a few minutes to move in between desk work or sitting for long periods of time can help keep you more mentally sharp and alert.  Short breaks for a few minutes can go a long way:  Try dancing to your favorite tunes, going for a quick walk or stretching to release tension in your back, neck and shoulders.  Researchers have discovered that spending time in nature is associated with good self-reported health and well-being.  When I’m at work, even a 5 minute break helps clear my mind, even if I’m only walking from Building A to Building G!

#7.  Massage:  Do you ever just crave a good massage?  If your answer is yes, the reason is because massage has several benefits to help keep burnout at bay.  Massage is proven to reduce muscle tension, increase circulation and promote relaxation.  Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at home or learn how to give yourself a killer massage.

#8.  Medication:  The foundational training of an occupational therapy lens includes the study of psychology and mental health. Growing up with a psychiatrist as a father, the concept of prescribing medication to support a person’s psychological well-being is a self-care strategy I’ve seen work for many people and clients over the years.   Feeling down sometimes is normal, but if you notice that you’re having persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or anger or you no longer enjoy participating in activities you used to enjoy, it would be worth talking to your primary care provider about your options for taking care of your psychological and emotional health, whether it be through counseling or other psychopharmacological interventions.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR SPIRIT AND SOUL

Your soul, although invisible to the outside world, needs just as much nurturing, care and attention as your body and mind.  Your soul is what drives your mission in this life and beyond. Your soul is your inner life or the spirit and essence of who you are… And you are AMAZING!

Here are two simple ways to nurture your innermost being.

#9.  Meditation: Meditation is powerful, free, can be practiced anywhere and has incredible benefits for decreasing stress and anxiety.  It can help you to gain control over your thoughts, calm your mind and recharge your batteries.  Consistent practice of meditation, mindfulness or prayer can serve as an alternative or a complement to other approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy or medications.   Meditation combined with regular exercise such as yoga works wonders for the body and soul!  Check out Oprah’s top list of meditation apps.

#10.  Meet up with family and friends:  Staying socially connected is essential for feeling supported and avoid feelings of isolation. Having a support system is not just essential for filling your own cup, it’s one of our most fundamental human needs. In this age of COVID-19, social distancing is a misnomer.  It should really be called “physical distancing”.  Fortunately, today’s technology gives us many opportunities to meet new friends and opportunities to nurture and grow our social connectedness online. Brene Brown, a professor at the University of Houston who specializes in social connection says,:

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people.  We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and to belong.”   

If you’ve gotten this far on this post, I want to thank you for thinking about YOU and for being a part of the Play It Forward Community!

I challenge you to pick 1-3 strategies that will calm your mind, relax your body and soothe your soul! 

How do you prevent burnout?  What are your favorite activities to show yourself some love? 💖

Share with us in the comments below!

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