self care: tips to avoid burn out (+ free worksheet)
Sometimes, when we're too busy working on our businesses and getting them off of the ground, we forget about ourselves. We ignore our tired eyes so that we can get that proposal finished; we brush off our achy limbs as 'part and parcel of the job' and we stay in our houses/studios burning the midnight oil to get that website completed. If you continue this way, you're going to burn out, and that's when your business is going to suffer (not to mention yourself).
YOU are your business, your company, your brand, and that's the number one reason why you should take care of yourself, and implement some self-care exercises on a daily basis.
Here are just a few things I'll try to do throughout the day in order to keep on top of my feelings. Even if I'm feeling ok, it's always best to give yourself that space to be aware of any warning signs of burn out:
1. Check in with yourself.
Find a quiet area with a chair, sit down and close your eyes. Take one breath in, and one out. Do this 12 times, counting each breath. Focus on your body's rhythm, how does it feel with your feet planted on the ground, your bum on the seat? Try to empty your mind, but don't worry if thoughts pop in and out (it's like me saying 'Don't think of elephants!', and now all you're thinking of is elephants, right?!). If a thought does pop in, just acknowledge it, and then let it out of your mind. The best way to think of your thoughts whilst checking in with yourself is that they are like a train. You're on the platform, and these thought trains are going by; you acknowledge that, but you see them leave, too. Try to do this twice a day, for just 10 minutes, or whenever you feel that need to check in.
2. Make space.
Remember, busy doesn't equal success. I may say this a lot, but it's something I wholeheartedly believe in. Just because you may view others as successful because they're humble bragging on social media about how busy they are, doesn't mean they are actually successful. Busy-ness (and I'm talking about running yourself into the ground here, not day-to-day events) doesn't mean you are successful, it means you're not looking after yourself.
Make space for your projects, experiment with spending time on them and fully immersing yourself. Make space for loved ones, family and friends. Remember to get out and do something for you, at least once a week, and then twice...Don't work and eat (I'm guilty of this!). Make time to dance around crazily for 5 minutes. Yep, it sounds crazy, but it actually works!
3. Leave your phone alone
For the past year, I've had a little rule with myself that I don't check my phone as soon as my eyelids open. I used to use my phone as a getting-up technique, the bright screen would forcefully wake up my dreary eyes, and I'd stay in bed for far too long, just scrolling mindlessly. Obviously, this isn't very healthy for your eyes and can really put a productivity-downer on your day.
Avoid looking at your phone/emails/social media until after breakfast, just before you start work. This will get your brain ready for work, without causing too much damage to your productivity.
4. Do the things that make you happy.
If you're doing things that aren't making you happy, stop. Simples! Spend your day doing things that bring joy, and make you feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be living the life you want. If you feel you aren't living that life, get in touch with me and we can see what we can do to change that. If you have to do things like accounts (which brings no one joy), make it fun! Go do them in a fancy hotel, get up and dance every time you finish invoicing someone; it may take longer but will be funner!
Here is a worksheet that is free download for you to print out and stick by your desk so you can answer these questions each morning before start work, and figure out what you need to do for yourself today. Maybe even get it laminated so you can wipe it clean every day! How fancy.
One OGB who is the Queen of Self-Care is Dionne from Changing the Menu. Her weekly newsletters actually warm my heart, and make me feel that it's ok to step away from the computer if I'm feeling sucky, even if there is stuff to be done. I seriously advise signing up to them!
Look after yourself, OGB's.