As a business coach I am hyper aware that my clients need to move forward and meet their goals in order to attain their biggest dreams. I have a huge wellspring of desire for them to obtain everything amazing in their world.
Sometimes, however, it becomes crystal clear to me that my client may need to stop for a few minutes, hours or even (gulp) days. They are overwhelmed and have lost sight of their BIG picture. They need to take stock, deepen what they know is true for them, and adjust their goals before taking off again.
I had a conversation with a very successful salon owner this morning that caused me to think about this topic. As healers/creatives/givers/entrepreneurs we work our butts off. We give our clients our energy and the space that is all about them, not to mention the amazing service that they desire. We give to the team and support staff what they need throughout the day. To then, finally, go home to families that want/deserve our time and attention. We give all day long to others by listening, really seeing them, problem solving, and being masters of our craft to boot.
No wonder so many of us are exhausted at the end of the week and on our weekends. This is the exact prescription for burnout, let alone feeling guilty or shame about it because “We should just buck up”. I know what I speak of - I still remember spending a part of every weekend crying just to release the tension from the prior week. Ugh...I won’t go into the impact THAT had on my loved ones. However, I did eventually come to understand that as an introvert I needed more downtime than what I was allowing myself and to not allow other’s judgement about it sway me. I will admit this was a tough one for me personally.
As givers/creatives/healers why is it so hard to take care of ourselves in healthy ways in which we so easily take care of others without thinking about it?
What I see over and over with clients is that they forget to deepen where they are in order to move forward. To slow it down and be aware of what and why they do what they do. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, big leaps forward come AFTER clients have recharged their batteries and the creative juices are flowing again. It’s hard to be creative when we are exhausted.
Here are a few things you can do to help keep you refreshed and avoid burnout:
1) Ask yourself: what stories do you tell yourself that stand in the way of truly recharging your own batteries?
We all have those stories we tell ourselves: “If I don’t do that _____ ( you name the task...grocery shop, clean, run errands, etc.,etc.) no one else will and then _______ ( you name the outcome… we will starve, my guests will think I’m a slob, it will be even harder later, etc, etc ) will happen”.
The reality is that usually nothing too horrible happens when we choose to take care of ourselves first. Perhaps we can even get super creative in how we do do things in the future. Worst case scenario is that after we are rested we can do the tasks at hand easily and possibly even happily.
2) What are you missing or longing for?
What activities have you done in the past that you enjoyed and are now missing?
Reading quietly, dancing, yoga, biking, watching a movie uninterrupted, traveling, boxing? It can be big and it can be simple - whatever it may be for YOU.
What are you longing for?
Is your soul longing for a weekend escape or a night out with friends? A vacation where the only decision you make is what to wear today or a class you’ve wanted to take for a while?
Be honest with yourself first and then keep it simple ( or big - it is up to you afterall).
Years ago I read one of the best stories on self-care from Maya Angelou. She wrote that one time each year she gave herself a day. She would go to a city she did not live in and she would not tell anyone when or where she was going. She would get a nice hotel room, order room service, take a bath, and go to bed without setting her alarm. The next morning she would wake up naturally and then go explore the city without anyone knowing where she was. How simple and yet so powerful.
To point you in the correct direction: Look for the things that fill your soul up and gives you energy.
3) Give yourself permission to have time for yourself.
It may take practice on your part and/or a coach to help break through to claiming the right of self-care. Old patterns of thought are tough to challenge and then to change. Our culture or family of origin may have set us up to believe self-care is selfish or wrong in some way. We may have witnessed abuse in the name of self-care, so today that is the last thing we want to do. Which leads to...
4) Challenge yourself by starting small.
After looking at why you find it hard to give yourself permission start small and see what works for you. You may find one hour a week is all you need to shift into self-care and feel refreshed. You may find that one hour leads to a day. I have a client who gives herself 15 minutes after our coaching calls to walk in nature and that soothes her soul for 2 weeks.
What I most want for you is to find your baseline for not going into burnout and to be able to maintain your creative energy. The world needs you healthy, happy, and beautifully YOU.