10 Simple Things to Do when you’re Burning Out.

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Suffering from burnout?

Sick of feeling exhausted and bedraggled from life? Stepping up the self-care helps us boost our immunity to stress. Here, 10 easy tips to take to heart.

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Stress happens—to everyone. Burnout is inevitable, at times. There are many tricks to releasing stress that give us respite from feeling overwhelmed. Merely thinking about doing these things is not enough; in order to take care of our stress, we actually have to take some of these steps. Start small—try one or two of these suggestions.

10 Simple Things to Do When We’re Burning Out (Read: In Over Our Heads)

1. Connect with community. Hanging out with friends helps us feel better. Spending time with actual human beings boosts our mood. It energizes us, even if it’s people we don’t really know, at the local café. Sharing smiles with people gives us a lasting warm fuzzy.

2. Take frequent breaks. No one can thrive when we’re sitting at the computer for hours on end, all day long. Take a five minute break every hour. Walk to the water cooler and rehydrate, do 10 jumping jacks, do a deep forward bend, walk to the break room and refill your coffee cup, have a quick phone chat with a friend or step outside and take a peek at the sky.

3. Get enough fresh air and sunshine. This is important, especially in the wintertime. Spending time outside breaks up the monotony and reconnects us to nature. An easy way to “cheat” is to walk or bike to work. If we have to bus or car commute, park a few blocks away from the office. If we work at home, a quick walk around the block will suffice. If it’s cold, bundle up. There are really no excuses when it comes to being outside and enjoying the day at least a little bit.

4. Eat food cooked with love. Make sure to eat enough veggies. Eat real food and avoid processed and packaged food. Have a snack—if you’re experiencing mood-failure, get your blood sugar up.

5. Meditate. Practice sitting meditation every day for at least 10 minutes. If you’re too busy, meditate for one hour. Our minds are made for thinking. Consciously taking a break from our thoughts heals stress on many levels. I meditate every day for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning. It makes me feel like I’m cloaked in a protective blanket all day long.

6. Exercise. Our bodies are made to move. People have a lot of energy and sitting still for too long can drive us stir crazy. Exercise, even a little bit, is important everyday. It releases negativity and makes us feel good. It gets our heart pumping and our lungs breathing. My favorite ways to exercise are walking the dog, biking, hiking, yoga, dancing, skiing, snow shoveling, gardening and sex.

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7. House Plants. It’s nice to share space with other living things. House plants are natural air filters. They live on water and sunlight. That’s affordable! They bring relaxing and cheerful energy to a room. They are quiet. If you have to vent, houseplants are good listeners.

8. Stretch. Practicing yoga, even a little bit, breaks up the” fuzz” between our muscles and fascial tissue. A good stretch can give us the “space” we need to buckle down and take care of our responsibilities.

9. Get enough sleep. Our bodies are rejuvenated with a good night’s sleep. Enjoy a relaxing ritual before bed, to ensure a restful night. Have a cup of chamomile tea, meditate, take a hot epsom salt bath, or read for 15 minutes.

10. Laugh. Read something funny. Talk to someone funny. Watch a funny video. Amuse yourself. Laughter really is the best medicine.

In today’s busy world, it’s easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed; using creative solutions to deal with stress can help us prevent burnout.

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author: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: Chester Wade/Unsplash

Editor: Bryonie Wise

10 Basic Salves for Burn-Out & Everyday Depression.

Let's talk about Maitri: the difference between Self-Care & Making Friends with Yourself.

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anonymous Aug 22, 2015 7:03am

Love this article! Ive been practicing these steps for years…Its gotten me thru some pretty rough patches.I really enjoyed reading this tho.Msny folks dont realize what youve written is the Gospel Truth.

anonymous Jul 25, 2015 5:48pm

OK, here's my opinion:

These are good in themselves, but the number one way to take care of oneself is missing:

Align with the divine, in whatever manner you see the nature of the universe. There are many methods, many mansions.

IN THEORY this is a yoga page, so you are of course familiar with Patanjali's sutras.
In the sutras, the ultimate and persisting definition of yoga, are the yama and niyama of the ashtanga, which in turn contain SVEDHYAYA and ISHVARA PRANADANA. By the time you get to those, you're well along on your way.

Get it?

anonymous Jun 22, 2015 4:22pm

This is certainly a good list for those who want to PREVENT BURNOUT, and create more BALANCE in their lives. Burnout sufferers can sometimes not just recover just by doing these things.
– True burnout can mean finding a way to have someone else look after the things that you normally take care of (such as children or work), so you can fully rest and recover some sense of self.

anonymous May 22, 2015 10:07pm

I’m the other introvert in the room. For me — #1 — is the opposite. I tend to get burned out serving the community and interacting with all these wonderful people, many of whom I love. I need to remember it’s okay to plan quiet alone time, that there is nothing wrong with that. I think self care varies a lot, person to person. Remembering to spend time outside is a big one for me and a fast fix — take a break, go outside, look at the sky, breath the air for five minutes. Keep the blood sugar up and get enough sleep are also good ones for me.

However, I also agree with Jason. Sometimes, if you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or burned out, it’s worth examining the structures of your life. Sometimes we keep trying to do something we think we have to do — when actually it’s not a good fit. Giving yourself permission to find a healthier situation (job, committee, gym, living situation — whatever) can be a very wise thing to do.

anonymous May 20, 2015 2:51pm

11. Just Leave

Leave behind the source of your burn out, and don’t go stoking that fire. Sometimes the only way to find fresh energy is to get away…to a new start. Some burnt bridges should never be rebuilt, for one has many adventures to escape to where old worlds cannot follow.

    anonymous May 22, 2015 7:51am

    You can not escape life that easily. People have families, jobs, mortgages, car payments, college tuition, doctor bills, community obligations, etc., etc. These are the things that lead to "burn out." Running away is not an option for grownups. Therefore we must learn ways to cope when life begins to drain us. This article has some great suggestions to try when that happens.

      anonymous Jul 8, 2015 5:02am

      Learning to live with a problem isn't to solve the problem, it's carpet sweeping. There are always options, the so called common life that we were taught and forced to live instead of our own lives, is just one option, not an absolute. Here's something that I can recommend: http://www.alkuajatus.org

      anonymous Jul 21, 2015 8:39pm

      Renunciation has ALWAYS been an option.

anonymous Mar 7, 2014 9:47am

Of course, it makes sense that an introvert would experience community differently that an extrovert. I tend to be extroverted. I simply wrote this list from my own experience. You raise a valid point. Thanks for your perspective.

anonymous Mar 6, 2014 2:11pm

This is a beautiful list! However, as an introvert, #1 is a bit different for me (and introverts in general), as interacting socially is draining, not energizing. It's still valuable, and, with the right people is quite fulfilling. But it takes–not gives–energy for an introvert to interact. I might offer the suggestion that instead of assuming its a human need that energizes us all, recognizing that it is a human need that can be fulfilling when done in the ways that each unique individual prefers. 🙂

    anonymous Aug 8, 2015 4:46pm

    Yes, Robin. Well said, and as you mentioned, we introverts do need to push ourselves a little to spend time with the right people.

anonymous Mar 5, 2014 8:05am

I practice meditation only 10 minutes, first thing, every morning. The rest of the day I strive to be present in every moment and when things get tough, I tap into that meditative state and find my calm, peaceful center.

anonymous Mar 4, 2014 7:20pm

Thanks for sharing Ashleigh, you gave really good advice. I find that we are potentially missing something peaceful when we regard meditation as an exercise rather than a way of life. Meditation should be regarded as a continuous state of mind, and not something that we "do" periodically.

When I was meditating for long hours at a time, I find it difficult to assimilate the peace and connectedness that I feel to the everyday life. Only when I regarded meditation as a continuous state of mind did I manage to fully assimilate it to my everyday activities and tasks. This is when I felt the most permanence of peacefulness.

I hope this makes sense. What are your experiences with this?

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Ashleigh Hitchcock

Ashleigh Hitchcock is a simple girl with a complicated life. She has many jobs and 1000 hobbies; to stay sane, she practices meditation and yoga. Ashleigh’s greatest treasures are her friends, loved ones, and pets. When Ashleigh wants to cheer herself up, she smiles at strangers until she finds a really good one. Catch up with Ashleigh on Facebook and Instagram.