8 Self-Care Tips to Prevent Burnout
A detailed guide of self-care ideas that you can integrate into your everyday routine.
In the year 2021, I was a full-time college student, had a full-time job, and began working full-time to build my writing business.
I found myself overwhelmed, stressed, and constantly tired. After a while, assignments began to pile, my weekly work hours increased, and suddenly, there was never enough time to relax and unwind.
I struggled to set out personal time which eventually led to burnout, frustration, and wasted time. Not only was I suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally, but my work ethic began to suffer as well.
Even with my business not progressing, and my grades slipping, it was not completely clear to me what the issue truly was. Eventually, I realized that I needed to unwind, and reward myself.
Self-care is very impactful. It has brought me tremendous joy and ease. Because I can pour into myself, I can create space in my mind and body to handle stress and hardship more healthily.
Toward the end of 2021, I was able to come up with 8 self-care methods that were successful in keeping me from burnout.
One significant lesson of 2021 was to unplug from all technology. Nowadays, technology is our main way of staying connected and updated with the rest of the world. Unplugging and taking some time to reconnect with yourself can bring incredible value to your life.
A few benefits of unplugging from technology can include reductions in stress, free time, and improvement in your mental and physical health.
There are many ways to get that break from technology. Here are two (2) ways I was able to successfully unplug:
- Set aside realistic times. Because I use technology for work, it’s difficult to unplug during the day. Additionally, my family and friends reach out consistently. I unplug from technology in the morning to become more present, and in the evenings to completely disconnect.
- Put your phone on, do not disturb. There are so many unnecessary notifications that come to my phone, especially at night. I began making a schedule for my phone to automatically set itself to “do not disturb.” I noticed that my nights and mornings became more peaceful.
Setting practical goals and reasonable methods to unplug can provide you with a significantly healthier and happier lifestyle.
2. Step Outside
With the pandemic still active and the regular chaos of everyday life, I found that taking time to slow down and get out into nature has been my go-to decompression strategy.
Spending some time outside has reduced my stress. It also always leaves me feeling refreshed and replenished. It has also improved my mood.
With any mental health management tools, it depends on the person. However, I found that spending 15–20 minutes a few times a week outside has greatly impacted my mental health.
Numerous outdoor activities can help you connect with nature and your mental health. Here are a few I’ve managed to adopt:
- Sitting on a balcony/patio
Here are some other examples of activities you can do to connect with nature:
- Reading under a tree
- Taking a bike ride
I know that even with all these great activity ideas, other things may prevent you from being able to go outside such as the weather. Some good ways to bring outside in could include:
- Play nature sounds
- Open curtains and windows
- Light a nature scented candle
3. Listen to Music
This one is by far my favorite and most effective self-care strategy. Listening to music can bring you relaxation, lower anxiety levels, and increase mindfulness.
Our musical preferences are unique which allows them to be personalized enough to be utilized as a therapy tool.
I have a playlist for different scenarios. Working out, the ride to work, studying music, and the list goes on. These playlists consist of 10–15 songs that bring me peace, and hope and leave me feeling nostalgic.
While listening, I make sure to focus on my breathing and I think calm, positive thoughts. I like to focus on the background music of different songs in an attempt to point out the different instruments and the way they blend.
After listening to my selection of songs, I take time out to reflect on myself, practice positive self-motivation and then transition back into my day.
Deep breathing and breath focus exercises are very common techniques used to evoke relaxation. This is simply paying attention to your breath and focusing on it.
The first step, which I found to be the most important, in deep breathing is finding somewhere comfortable and quiet for you to sit or lie down. This is to avoid distractions.
I proceed by closing my eyes, taking a few practice deep breaths, and then, I begin doing these simple exercises:
- Slowly inhale for 8 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. As you’re breathing, think warm thoughts, and imagine you are smelling your favorite candle scent or flower.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth like you’re blowing bubbles or blowing out a candle for 8 seconds. This allows your muscles to release completely.
- Repeat these steps until you have reached relaxation.
An app that I use to assist me with my breathing exercise is called Calm and it's available in the app store for Apple and Android products.
Practicing these exercises brought me complete tranquility on even my roughest days.
Exercise improves your overall health and is a great way to reduce stress. Exercising helps your body with producing endorphins. These are the body’s natural painkillers or the “feel good” chemical response from the brain.
The main thing I noticed while on my self-care journey, is that exercise increases my self-confidence, improves my mood, and helps with relaxation.
Working out has become a part of my weekly routine. Because of my schedule, it’s easier for me to work out early in the mornings or after work in the evenings.
I manage to work out 3 days a week for 30 minutes to an hour each. I set these goals for myself because they are reasonable, and it works best with my schedule.
When adding working out to your self-care routine, make smart goals that are appropriate for you.
Journaling is extremely beneficial and a very useful everyday coping mechanism. It is, in my opinion, the healthiest way to process your thoughts and emotions, positive or negative.
In my experience, writing down my problems has helped me come up with resolutions.
Not only has journaling enhanced my feelings of relief and increased my happiness, but it has also reduced my stress, help clarify my thoughts, and ultimately has helped me get to know myself better.
Everybody journal's differently and for some, it may take time to figure out the right routine. Fortunately, journaling doesn’t have to look a certain way. There’s no format, or structure. The most effective way to journal is to allow yourself complete freedom and allow your thoughts and emotions to flow on the paper.
Journaling has granted me the opportunity to better express and understand my emotions.
Finally, journaling has tremendously lowered my anxiety levels. With this, I can complete tasks with more energy, sleep better at night, and relax easier.
7. Take a Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath has been one of the most soothing self-care tools, especially after a long, busy day. Taking a hot bath has helped me remarkably.
To prepare for my bath, I use my favorite bath soap from Dr. Teals and essential oils, light a candle, and play my slow jams playlist to set the mood.
Soaking in hot or warm water releases the tension from my muscles and the essential oils help calm my breathing and my mind.
Adding a self-care bath routine to your self-care ritual is a simple and enjoyable way to find relaxation and relief.
Benefits I’ve gained from taking a self-care bath include:
- Relaxes my body and prepares it for sleep
- Helps soothe body aches and pains
- Relieves stress
- Allows me to slow down and clarify my thoughts
- Guaranteed “me time”
8. Find a hobby YOU love
Engaging in activities you enjoy can boost your mental health. Laughter, happiness, and joy help produce those endorphins which are great for handling depressive episodes and reducing stress.
One thing that works well for me is watching my favorite comedy. Watching movies can overall improve your mental health. Movies provoke emotion and encourage us to release them. I watch my favorite movies through streaming networks such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.
Great activities to explore include:
There’s no limit on the number of hobbies you can engage in. I found that no matter the activity, there should be joy and happiness while participating to achieve the goal of relief.
It's amazing how the simplest things can make a huge difference in your overall mental health.
In my journey through life, I learned that your mental health is the main key to being able to succeed in other areas of your life.
By simply making small changes in your everyday routine, you can prevent burnout.