Constantly doing & running on empty? Prioritising your wellbeing isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a necessity
To be honest, I used to be slightly dubious about the world wellbeing. It all just seemed a bit self indulgent. Was booking in a massage or having a day on the sofa really going to be the answer to my problems? Wasn’t it just going to be a time away from the constant to do list that needed to be done?
It wasn’t until two years ago that I really got wellbeing & the realisation it’s an investment in “being well” through “being.” Thing is, back then, I didn’t really do “being.’ It was all about the “doing”.…
I was constantly on the move and I would wear my busyness as a badge of honour. I juggled two small children, a full on job in a management consultancy, numerous social events, part time studying and launching a business. My default answer to everyone else’s request was “yes” and I never took any time to think about what I really needed and what I really wanted. I used to bark at my husband that “no-one listens to me” or “stop taking me for granted” but it turns out that is exactly the attitude that I had to myself. I never once stopped to listen to the warning signs that this constant state of busyness & pushing myself to achieve more was impacting on my health.
What first started as an inability to switch off [my mind was ALWAYS going] grew to something more physical - anxiety kicked in, followed by pins and needles & eventually it was shingles that got me signed off work for two weeks. The Doctor pointed out to me that I was, quite literally, exhausted and my body was just not going to keep up with my mind’s determination to keep going.
That time off work got me to re-assess what I should have always known. We are just not made to be constantly in this state of doing. It’s not good for us to be bombarded with constant texts, emails, social media notifications and an ability to be able to get things done from anywhere we want - included in our bed at night or sitting in front of our kids when we could be present playing. To be constantly ‘on’ is not good for us and at some point it’s going to catch up with us.
It still astonishes me how many clients I see [male and female] who are completely frazzled but who still can’t give themselves permission to stop. It’s only when they step back & start investing in their wellbeing that they see how transformative it can be. Investing in your wellbeing can be life changing - your relationships get better, your mood vastly improves, physical aches & pains can go & you just become a much better version of yourself.
So I write this article for the burnout you. The one who doesn’t often get a voice but who is there to remind you to look at the scenery occasionally.
Take some time to honour him/her - you are always going to be pleased you did.
Below are my top tips for introducing wellness into your life:
START SMALL: Block out 10 minutes a day when you do something that is purely for the sake of being. It can be anything from breathing [try the in for 3 seconds, hold for 4 and out for 5 seconds], going for a walk or doing something you love just for the pure sake of the enjoyment of it
DO NOT MULTI TASK: When you need to be sending emails then be present with that, when you are with your kids & friends focus on them. Do what it takes to make sure that you do one thing at a time - I try and hide my phone when the kids come in and check it again at 7 p.m. when they are back in bed
TREAT CHALLENGE: It takes 21 days to change a habit so try 21 days where you have to give yourself something that brings you joy [not necessarily material] but it could be a magazine, flowers, time with a coffee. Anything that starts with “I really shouldn’t but…”
It’s going to get your mind to start prioritising you and not everyone else.
CHECK IN EVERYDAY: Ask yourself daily, what do I need today? How do I feel in my body? What am I lacking? A big help is to think about what you feel you are most lacking from everyone else. That is usually a real indication of what you most need to give yourself
LOOK AT YOURSELF HOLISTICALLY: How do you eat? Do you exercise? Do you relax? Is their balance in these areas? Can you make time to work on all these areas?
GET SUPPORT: Find yourself a coach, a yoga teacher, a CBT specialist, a nutritionist - whatever you need. Having someone on hand to support you without judgement is fundamental to getting long lasting changes
PRIORITISE YOU: Realise that by putting yourself first, everyone else benefits. No-one wins when you are burnT out, frazzled & grumpy. When you feel yourself going into that frenetic pace do what you need to get yourself out of it - a long walk, coffee on your own, deep breaths, being in nature
MAKE IT PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE: The best thing you can do is to introduce self-care habits into your life [whether through morning or evening routines] so that it comes as routine as brushing your teeth. Put a reminder somewhere to do this for 21 days & you will see huge differences in yourself, your enjoyment of life & your relationships around you.