After what feels like waiting for forever for the sunshine and warm weather to come back, I think I am feeling the burn. Or maybe, burnout.
With the gray weather, I felt like I was having to put in way more effort to reach my normal level of productivity, and now that the weather has switched and I’ve been able to relax, I realize just how tired I am and how hard I had been keeping my nose to the grindstone.
Being that May is Mental Health Awareness month, and summer tends to be a time when we rush from one event, activity, or vacation to another, I think it’s important for us to end the spring and start the summer by being intentional about our self-care and wellness so burnout and sunburn don’t overtake us.
The important thing about self-care is the same thing that is important about coaching: it is in the eye of the beholder. What you need from self-care (and coaching) is going to be different for each person, and how you take care of yourself is going to be different too. The tidbits of advice below are things that I’ve found helpful, but before you get started, take some time and think about what would make you feel good and what you need.

  1. Take the time you need

If you are feeling burnt out, or even the early signs of burnout, it’s time to take a break. Take a breather. And don’t tell me you’re too busy. Maybe you’ve got a bad week, but unless you are literally saving lives, you can schedule at least a half hour for yourself.
What I’ve found about even these short breaks is that it’s important to actually use it as a break. You can be on your phone, but not for work. Text your best friend, call your sister or check out your favorite Instagram if that’s good for you.
If you can schedule more than 30 minutes, do it! You will be better for it, whether it’s an afternoon or a long weekend. The refreshing clarity we can find from taking a step back and relaxing is, just that, refreshing.

  1. Break down your to-do list

I tend to get overwhelmed at work particularly when tasks seem too huge to tackle. I also love crossing things off a list. So, by breaking down big tasks and plans into small steps that I take one at a time, I can combat that stress because each time I finish even a small step, I get to cross it off my list and that gives me a little boost of good vibes to take on the next small task.

  1. Commiserate + plan

You gotta talk to somebody. If it can’t be someone at work that you trust, confide in your best friend, but that’s only step one. You can only complain to your friends about how busy and stressed you are for so long without doing something.
Commiserate and complain and then ask for advice and talk out a plan that will work for you. If breaking down your to-do lists, and taking a work-free lunch, and running yourself a bubble bath, and going to a work out class don’t feel like they are going to work for you, figure out what will. Go to the people who know you best to help figure out how to get your wellbeing back on track.
We have created a cult around being busy and we put our stress on a pedestal. It’s time to break that pedestal down because it’s not good for us, and it’s certainly not good for our work. When we hit burnout, we are emotionally unwell and our productivity and mental capacity suffer. 
Burnout is a particular issue for leaders. If you are sacrificing your wellbeing for your productivity — just to get more done — you are doing a disservice to yourself, your team, and your company.

Self-care might be a buzzword, but taking care of yourself will never not be important. Make sure that you’re intentional about what you need, and why you need it.

We all go through times when work feels like it’s crushing us, but if it is consistently your work that’s the problem, it’s important to recognize that too. If you feel like it’s time to make a bigger change in your life, shoot us an email.

Nora Philbin

Nora is a co-founder of Happy Spectacular, which she still can't really believe, and she's on a lifelong quest for the world's best cheeseburger (applicants accepted).