A well-known scenario
You rush through the day. Trying to keep all the balls in the air: being a wife, mother, partner, employee, entrepreneur, sister, daughter … I can go on and on. With everything you have going on every day, it is not surprising that you might forget to take care of yourself. You have other things on your mind, right? Relaxation will come later, when things have calmed down a bit…
Think again! Relaxation is actually so important to help you to continue to play all those different roles “well”. Why is this so difficult to give yourself permission to do “nothing” for a while? How can you yourself ensure that relaxation is higher on your list of priorities?
It is only human to put yourself in second place. We often think that as long as everything around us is going well and everyone around you is feeling good, you’ve done a good job. That’s the moment you can lean back and relax. Like it’s some kind of a reward for all your hard work.
Taking a moment for yourself is quite difficult if you have a long to-do list for the day, or maybe even for the whole week. Your moment of rest will probably be at the end of the day, on the couch, enjoying a glass of wine while you put on Netflix. Another day passed. “Where has my time gone and how do I relax? Well, let me think about that tomorrow … “
Do you actually like not having to do anything for a while? Or does it start to itch just thinking about it? Are you convinced that you need be useful and productive all the time? Is that the reason you can’t take a moment for yourself?
You're not the only one
Well, let me put it this way: I know the feeling. For years and years I thought and felt that relaxation was the same as being lazy. Yup, I said lazy! I can still hear myself say: “I can never sit still, must have something to do, otherwise my hands start to itch.” Vacation? Nope, I prefered to keep working. When someone else asked me to do something, I would always answer: “Sure! I can find a moment to work that in.” I loved that ‘workaholic’ attitude. I felt that I was doing really well.
Until the moment when my body and my head had enough. Sleepless nights because I was worrying about everything that needed to be done. I actually yearned to do nothing. But I did not give myself permission to do so “because there is still so much to do”. Then came the time that I was crying more and more, because I no longer knew how to keep all the balls up in the air. And that’s when the burnout hit me. I could not hold on any longer! After all these years of hard work, and always being there for everyone, I couldn’t do anything anymore. Not because I didn’t want to, but simply because I was exhausted and worn out!
While it is actually very “simple” to prevent a burnout. Don’t take your daily moments of rest for granted. Take those moments very seriously. When I look back on how I lived all those years and how things should’ve been done differently, it all starts with that: those little moments of rest. To really take a break for yourself. To literally catch your breath. And to allow yourself a moment of relaxation, without feeling guilty. Because you can’t just give all of yourself. You’ll wear yourself out if you don’t recharge. And your energy supply will get smaller and smaller and eventually you’ll be worn out. Just think about charging your smartphone, you probably do that every day, right? But do you also charge yourself every day?
3 tips from Tineke:
Even if it feels like life is rumbling around you, you can take the time to recharge. To take a moment for yourself. Here are 3 tips to unwind:
Tip #1 – Plan your relax time
Make time in your agenda: block a few hours or a part of the day in which you make that appointment with yourself: “This is my time.” This can be as long or as short as you want. See this as an arrangement you would make with others. You don’t just cancel it or forget. Fill that appointment with yourself the way you want to: plan a nice creative hour. Or give yourself the time to do nothing at all. You will thank yourself later.
Tip #2 – A mini break without
Everyone has to go to the toilet several times a day. Many take their smartphone with them. Just scrolling through social media, because you’re there anyway, right? What if you don’t take your phone. Use those toilet visits to literally slow down. Making sure you’re not being distracted by what is happening in the rest of the world, but taking a moment for yourself. Just like we used to do in the pre-smartphone era. Nothing on your mind. At these breaks, consciously breathe 5 times. Follow your in-breath and your out-breath. Place your hands on your stomach to feel the breath there. Maybe even close your eyes. Can you feel it yet?
Tip #3 – Be creative
Let your body and mind relax by being creative without any goal. I remember it so well: in the years when I was always busy, with so much to do, I paid hardly any attention to my creative hobbies: piles of dust on my drawing supplies, and my crochet utensils disappeared in a drawer not to be taken out any more: “No time, not feeling it, too tired.” Really? Various scientific studies show that when you are creative, you end up in a wonderful flow that can give you that relaxation that you need so well. And what is better than doing what you like, and recharging at the same time? What do I do? I grab my coloring book and my markers and start colouring.
As soon as you take better care of yourself and take your moment of rest every day, you will notice that you are less tired, and that your energy level will rise again. And furthermore, this also has a positive effect on your creativity and how you feel about yourself. This way you can handle the hustle and bustle of the day much better. And you’ll feel content, and in the flow.
Because you are worthy of being the most relaxed version of yourself, in your life, and in your business.
Tineke’s burnout recovery process has given her the skills to better deal with (work) pressure and stress by developing her mindset and prioritizing relaxation in her life. She now coaches teachers to cope with pressure and stress, so that they can live life with more personal strength and relaxation.