There are certain times in life that call for us to be constantly busy, struggling to balance all the things on our plate all at once. While it cannot be avoided, burnout can! It’s the times that you feel you haven’t a minute to spare to take care of yourself that it’s more important than ever that you do.
Maybe you’re running your kids around while simultaneously juggling everything at home in addition to working a part-time job. The only rest is when your head hits the pillow for those few sweet hours late at night before you’re back at it early the next morning. Your kids and loved ones need you, so what can you do?
Phases like these are what I like to call “soldiering.” Let me be clear, however, that soldiering is not a negative thing. It shows strength and momentum, self-discipline to get done what needs to be done and love for those you do it for. Sometimes, it’s sacrificing what you want for the sake of others, putting yourself second. All this is okay.
Soldiering isn’t a phase that’s meant to last forever. You can only press on with such energy for so long, so know that an end is in sight and that you can carry on until then. And at the end, you can pause to look back at all your hard work has accomplished.
If this is a stage you’ve found yourself in before or are in right now, here are three things to keep in mind to keep from burning out.
Acknowledge that you are soldiering.
Soldiering becomes much more manageable when you acknowledge that’s the state you are in. When you have life on autopilot, you miss out on what goes on day-to-day; you’re not fully present to those around you. But when you’re able to acknowledge to yourself and those around you that you are doing what needs to be done, clarity comes, and you’re able to think through the outcome – the reason you’re in this phase of soldiering to begin with.
We often avoid self-awareness more than we practice it; sometimes, taking a close look at yourself is just plain scary – we’d rather go on, blissful and ignorant to what is really going on within us. So, self-awareness rarely comes naturally.
But when you habitually make yourself do it, you notice more your behaviours, your reactions, why you feel the way you do. You have insight to see why your environment or your hectic schedule affects you the way it does, both physically and emotionally.
As you look within and understand yourself better, you can make more informed and conscious decisions and impact the quality of your life and relationships positively – both during your soldiering phase as well as when your pace slows.
Take time for self-care.
Yes, it’s appropriate to put others first, to be selfless, but if we don’t take time to care for ourselves, we end up having little to give others. We often feel guilty doing things for ourselves or feel that it shouldn’t be a priority during busy times, but self-care is crucial.
During times like these, you become so energy-depleted and so emotionally drained. There’s no way to continue on if you don’t intentionally replenish and restore these! Take time to grab your favorite meal, read a novel, take a nature walk, or whatever it is that allows your mind and body to rest and recuperate. Just a few moments doing something restorative gives you the energy to tackle each new day afresh!
This season of soldiering won’t last forever, but while it does, utilize these tips to give you strength and help you cope!