We’ve all heard the saying about burning a candle at 2 ends leads to burn out. Now imagine a multi-wicked candle burning from all ends, what do you get? A fire!
This is how my patients who experience burnout describe their situation to me. They come in complaining of feeling mentally, emotionally drained, they can’t get a break and keep catching colds easily, and struggle to turn off their thoughts at night. Many times my candles, er, patients are still burning while sitting in my office. We often ignore these symptoms, but it is an emergency! I lead my patients through easily-implemented habits to improving their energy and feeling great and motivated about life again, increase their immunity so as to not catch every virus or bug that is going around, and finally to sleep through the night like a big cozy baby. Doesn’t this sound nice? When we have a plan for fire emergency preparedness, we not only restore ourselves, but we also prevent ourselves from becoming burned in the future. Here are my top 3 emergency tips for burnout that you can do right now! (Or after reading this article) 1. BREATHE. Put your hand on your belly and take a big slow gulp of oxygen in through your nose, focusing on moving the hand that is over your belly. Oftentimes when we are stressed we stop breathing fully and deeply. When we don’t have enough oxygen our brain assumes that we must be suffocating and it raises the alarm (i.e. more stress and panic!) in the body to conserve energy and oxygen. To avoid burnout, take a big slow inhale and blow out that flame! 2. MOVEMENT. Especially with seated work, or caregivers, there is a significant lack of exercise. Our prehistoric brains used to experience stress at the time of a physical threat, stimulating the human to run away or right the predator. Today, much of the stress we experience is mental and emotional. Combat this by going for a 5-minute walk. Bonus: practice deep breaths during this walk. Protip: during periods of burnout, I generally find that my patients feel more exhausted after strenuous exercise, so be sure to do something gentle and restorative. 3.SELF CARE. You might be on fire, but don’t forget you’re still a human too! Try dedicating 20 min to doing something for your own health and happiness. Keep these activities so simple and easy that you’ll feel great about accomplishing them. Some examples include: putting your phone and/or devices away before bedtime, washing your hair with that nice-smelling shampoo, spending 20 minutes reading your favourite book. Remember, to help others, you have to help yourself first! There you have it! 3 strategies I have my patients commit to time and time again, and would you believe it? Their burning candles get restored! Before you go, try the first one right now, and comment below how you feel!