Let’s face it, we are all a bit over processed. Our lives are busy and demanding. Call it what you will-overworked, stressed, inundated, weighed down, swamped, flooded, snowed under, worn out, run down, drained, bushed or overwhelmed. As a society we’re all tired. I’m not sure why because back in the day they walked 10 miles to school-in the snow, uphill, both ways. But here we are.
Between work, home life and outside activities, it can be a real challenge to find the balance. The daily grind can wear you down and it is a fine line to that point of burnout. We are so wired to give our energy to everything else that often we end up on empty. I work with kids all day and then go home to them. But as much as we love the kids in our life, they can be totally exhausting. Don’t you notice when the weather starts changing we all start to fade a bit? Maybe because some of us are leaving for work before sunrise and getting home in the dark.
Last year I had a lot on the go for a human. As a result, I now consider myself an exhaustion expert. I was moving to cottage country after 25 years in the city, while simultaneously going through a legal case, a restructuring and a government inspection at work. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t enjoying much of it. Even though I’m an organized juggler, trust me, I know what tired is. The outcome of that experience was no desire to go there again, like ever. I actually took some time off and made my own self protection plan after working a bit with Executive Coach, Laurie Flasko, from Laurie Flasko & Associates, Inc.I’d recommend everyone do this.When I was 20 I probably wouldn’t have needed it, but burnout can happen to anyone, at any age.
I cannot stress enough how essential self care is. For years, my mom told me, “you have to take care of yourself or you won’t have anything to give back to others”. Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo til I was 47. It has been a journey that I still have to work at. I know there are some out there who feel taking time for you is selfish, but do it anyway. If you’re feeling a little weathered like the rest of us, there are some things you can do to get your sparkle back:
- Read up on Hygge. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well byMeik Wiking is all about embracing the cooler weather, creating and enjoying that comfy, cozy feeling. I must say this one comes to me quite naturally.
- Learn to say NO- You can’t please everyone, so stop trying. You will only tire yourself out. Know how much you can take on and know when you’ve had enough. They will get over it…or not.
- Relax and Breathe- I recently noticed on my fitbit HR that my heart rate goes up at work. It instantly drops when I leave the parking lot to go home. At the same time, my staff and I have been working with renowned sports psychologist, Dr. Vietta “Sue” Wilson, on breathing and releasing muscle tension. 3 minutes of her slow breathing exercises and we are jello. Proper deep breathing can really help you let it go.
- Improve your sleep. I recently began tracking my sleep. I now understand why I feel so tired all the time. The fit bit tracker shows you just how much sleep you’re not getting. I have tried to get 8hrs and I’m averaging 6.5 a night. My dad, the retired teacher and voice of reason, tells me I have to treat myself like a kid. “Get yourself to bed earlier,” he says. My goal is 10pm. Rarely happens. But I’m trying.
- Hydrate.The body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. We use it in our cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain bodily function. We lose water from breathing, sweating, and digestion. I work at a sports academy and I’m constantly telling the kids to drink. I know I sound high on the fitbit, but it also helps you to track your water intake. On the fitbit the magic number is 76 oz but that is tough to pull off. There are also other apps out there for this.
- Exercise. Need I say more? You need to move.
- Buy the beach house. By this I mean do that thing(s) you have always wanted to do.Life is short so make yourself happy now. What can I say, cottage life is loving me so far. There is just something about sleeping with the window open; hearing the sound of the wind and the waves. A peaceful environment is a good thing. If you’re in the city, try to recreate it the best you can.
- Get your green space. Have you ever noticed how walking in the woods or on a beach has this way of relaxingyou? Now go back to when your parents told you to go outside and get some fresh air. Scientists have shown that nature can relieve stress. Any green space will do. Go see a sunset.
- Disconnect from technology. It isn’t just the kids. We’re all addicted now. Make a drop off area for kids to hand in their devices at night so they can wind down. Then make a conscious effort to put your own away. Try to take some evenings or Sundays off. Pick up a book. Your foggy brain will thank you.
- Do what you love. One thing I noticed this summer when making my plan was that I tend to save all the good stuff for weekends. I work like a crazy person through the work week to earn myself some fun time on the weekend. The problem with that is you’re then too tired to enjoy the fun. Yes, it’s time to add the fun back into your life. Shop online if you have to. Have a campfire. Whatever works for you? This week I went to see a concert on a Tuesday and I booked a half hour massage on Friday. Go me.
- Cut yourself some slack- Instead of trying to be superwo(man), give yourself a break. How about a night off through the week? Why not pick up some takeout and save yourself having to cook. Take the pressure off. Allow yourself to kick back and take it easy more.
- Try something new- Explore what’s around you. In the Niagara Region I have discovered a neat place called The South Coast Guesthouse in Port Colborne ON. It offers workshops and retreats in the arts, culinary, yoga, meditation, photography, health and wellness areas. Located on 10 acres of lush green forest area, it is a first-rate place to find calm and relaxation. http://www.southcoastguesthouse.com/
- Escape- Watch a movie, a podcast or a TED talk to get inspired. Book a trip so you have something to look forward to. Give yourself some culture. Go to the theatre or a sporting event.
- Support with supplements-Since this is the time of year when people are in enclosed spaces, viruses travel fast. Visit your health food store or naturopath. Try just taking a couple things. Some vitamin B6, C and D will go a long way in strengthening the immune system.
- Eat and drink well- Venture out to some great new restaurants, breweries and wineries.
- Use a lifeline- Call family or friends. We are all so caught up in the world of technology that we forget to pick up the phone or to meet with the people we love sometimes. Try it instead of texting. Spending time with family and friends can (in most cases) help us cope and reduce stress.
None of the above suggestions are new ideas. We know them already. But we just need a reminder once in awhile to incorporate them into our hectic lifestyles. For generations our parents and grandparents have been telling us some of these things. Maybe it’s time we start listening to them.
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