Once upon a time, I was burnt out. Constantly tired, running on caffeine and stress. I cared more about my work than I did about myself.
It seems counterintuitive looking back on it (how could I do my best work when I wasn’t feeling my best?) but I was driven to excel, even if that meant suffering in the process.
After about a year of overworking myself, I started feeling physically sick. I would wake up with migraines several times a month. I felt exhausted no matter how much I slept. I had frequent stomach pains, bloating, and digestion issues. While annoying, these issues weren’t going to stop me.
Eventually, I burned out and realized it was time to take a step back and re-evaluate my priorities.
I learned that you can have a busy, demanding job you love AND take excellent care of yourself. But here's the catch - It’s up to you to put yourself first - you and you alone are responsible for your health and wellbeing. The best part? You can start right now. Small steps can make a big difference. Here are my top five suggestions to get started:
1 | Turn off email AT night
Even if it’s 11pm to 7am, turn it off and don’t look at it. Put your phone in airplane mode. Give yourself time to completely disconnect. I would check email right before going to sleep and as soon I woke up. It was anxiety inducing and made me completely consumed with my work.
2 | Exercise
Make time to move your body at least five times a week. Go to the gym Take a class. Get a trainer. Do something to make sure you’re connecting to your body and getting a good sweat.
3 | Take care of your health
Find a doctor you love, get annual check-ups, and prioritize your health. If something feels off, investigate. Your body is your number one resource.
4 | Eat well
Eating well is not optional if you want good health and energy. Make healthy foods, have them delivered, or go out of your way to get them. You'll feel better, look better, be more productive, and inspire others around you.
5 | Be clear on your big life picture
When you love your work, it can be really easy to get consumed with doing well. Unfortunately work can take over, and leave very little room for anything else. Make sure you have a big life plan with short and long term goals, and work towards both. Make time for hobbies. Maybe you want to write, play in a band, make art - whatever it is, this is your life and you can create time for it. If you have a hard time with this (like I did), get support. Hiring a coach can help identify what you want and hold you accountable to change (shameless plug here 😊).
If you feel like you could be on the verge of burn out, try implementing one of these steps today. If all five feel daunting, try just one. You deserve it. You will benefit, and so will everyone around you.
I'd love to know - how are you going to take care of yourself this week?
Rooting for you,