Here you are, tired and feeling a bit worn out, desperately seeking an answer to why you may feel unmotivated to get to work or are secretly hoping the kids won’t hear that you’re up. “Am I getting sick?” “Have I reached my maximum?” “Am I burned out?” are all valid questions.
Yes, there is such thing as being “burned out”, but there are specific factors that signal such distress. According to Mayo Clinic, a job burnout (which I believe can be applicable to anyone) is a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work. I have also found that it is when you reach such a point of exhaustion, that you are merely focused on surviving, not having the time or effort for anything outside of eating and sleeping. If you are concerned that this is what you are experiencing, you can take Psychology Today’s burnout test HERE.
In most cases, however, we think we are burned out when really we are just in DESPERATE need of “ME” time. This can happen when we have gone too long without doing things that are true to us, our personality, or who we are at our innermost core. Whether it be too focused on a particular project, the busy season at work, or running the kids around constantly plus cleaning the house and making dinner, these all can lead us to think that we are burned out, or worse, not good enough. So how do you know when you are there?
Take a moment to reflect on the following…
When was the last time you made yourself giggle?
When was the last time you had a social night out, with a group or just one another?
When was the last time you expressed yourself in a creative manner, FOR yourself (helping your child build their shoe box display doesn’t count)?
When was the last time you sat still, without distraction, and enjoyed nothing but silence?
When was the last time you cooked a quality nutritional meal for yourself?
When was the last time you enjoyed a mug of hot tea, sipping it slowly and calmly?
When was the last time you put effort into getting ready?
When was the last time you worked out?
When was the last time you reflected on your own thoughts? experiences? Self?
When was the last time you did something for you??? (if you think this means you can go on a shopping spree, think again! Unless you plan on going with a budget in mind, trying on clothes that make you feel good, and putting those back that are outside of your budget, shopping can be a dangerous road to self indulgence that leads to further distress).
So, what do you think? Are you in desperate need of YOU time? If you answered yes to three or more of these, then I’d say there is a pretty good chance you are in need of some “ME” time. Here is a list of my personal favorite To-do’s… in order for them to be most effective, I highly suggest enjoying them with no one else but your innermost Self (unless it requires company, of course).
Go for a stroll at a nearby park or down the block and back
Go for a bike ride
Hit the gym at a time when it is not super busy
Do a three to five day Social Media cleanse (no Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it)
(Ladies) Paint your nails or get a mani/pedi with or without nail polish. (Guys) Enjoy shaving without speeding through it, but rather experience it as a manly spa treatment
Get ready for your day and put enjoyable effort into it
Wash your feet before bed (a student of mine washes her feet before walking into my yoga class. I have always thought this is such a beautiful ritual to help prepare the body and mind for deep relaxation)
Take a yoga class or practice in the comfort of your own home
Meditate, even if only for five minutes. Just sit in silence or with soft music and watch your thoughts pass by and, eventually, dissipate.
Go out with your closest friends, friend, or on a date with your man and do something new and fun!
Do something to express your creativity such as writing a poem, journaling, taking pictures, sketching, strumming that guitar you haven’t played in years, etc.
Cook a special nutritional meal for yourself… take the time to determine what you are going to make and enjoy the entire process from ingredient shopping to finishing your plate!
Go without lights for a night and stick to candles, incense, and soft music
Put on some favorite tunes from the good ol’ days and dance, baby, dance!
Create a personal routine and put it into practice (for me, I seal my evening with a warm mug of camomile tea and a piece of dark chocolate)
Of course, this is your personal time to do what resonates with you. So find what you enjoy, something that you have been missing, and take care of YOU for once. You deserve it :)