In case you missed it all over my Twitter and Instagram, I’m currently enjoying some planned time off from work and life. I felt like I was completely burning out and my work was beginning to suffer. Yes, it’s good to be busy as a freelancer, but I was starting to feel as though I needed to be two people (more on that soon) and I found myself unable to focus on any area of my business for long enough to actually be proactive and productive.
Granted it is the ultimate luxury to be able to push everything aside in order to find pockets of time for self-care, however that isn’t what I’m here to tell you to do. As a self-professed workaholic who just genuinely adores what she does, I find it extremely hard to push things aside. Self-care is first and foremost about finding what works best for you. Meet the Daisybutter self-care alchemy class.
Lesson One: Mindmapping Your Self
Oftentimes when we find ourselves pummelling towards burnout, we forget about the little things that are part of our makeup. The things that give your soul fire. The things that make you, you. Whether it’s something as simple as enjoying your cup of 10am tea and ending up frequently having to skip it because you’re now occupied with meetings at that time, or you find joy in taking walks but have a new job that requires an hour’s commute on a train daily, let’s work on working out what makes up ‘you’.
Now list 6 successes, achievements and/or joys from the past 7 days. Two weekend mornings awake before 8am. Lengthy lie-ins spent reading and planning Instagram shoots. Being on top of next week’s blog posts. A fresh bowl of pasta with crushed broccoli and pesto stirred in.
And finally, note down some short- and long-term ways in which you can integrate that to your week. 8am: Tea with a sugar before work. 3pm: 5 minutes headspace at my desk. 8pm: A post-dinner read for 15 minutes before cleaning up.
Rediscovering the things that give you life is step one to avoiding burnout because it means you can lend focus to those areas. Of the list you created, now highlight three top activities that you can easily incorporate back into your weekly routine. Again, forget about time or money constraints.
Lesson Two: Making Time
I won’t bang on about the glorification of being busy again (you can read my full article about it here), but it’s important to make time for yourself. It’s YOUR life and your day, after all.
Whether you’re self-employed or work part-time or full-time or something sweet in-between, I guarantee there is some extra wiggle room in your schedule that you can devote to yourself. If, like me, you struggle to make time for yourself, treat it like a meeting and literally add it to your diary.
For example, today I’ve got a dog walk, Pilates class, upper body training session, personal writing slot and YouTube catch-up scheduled in. All of these are things that I tend to stretch myself too far on on a regular day and are the things that help me feel like I’ve had some ‘me’ time amongst work and adulting commitments.
Lesson Three: It Isn’t All Bubble Baths and Hot Chocolates
A common misconception about self-care is that it means you have to lounge around in a bubble bath with a hot chocolate, chanting extracts from lifestyle blogs and trendy coffee table books. It absolutely isn’t! Self-care looks different from person to person and it can even be something as simple as reminding yourself of what you’re here for.
You might, for example, decide to spend spring focusing on improving your fitness and really sprucing up your home ready for summer. The self-care part of this lies not in the bubble bath that Instagram would have you imagine, it lies in feeling balanced and content that you’re working towards your goals. Perhaps these focuses then flow into new focuses after that, to holiday with your friends and show off that hot bod or to host family in your stunning garden.
See? Beauty is truly in the balance.