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  • Submit to Self-Care: How to Prevent Burnout, Part 1

    To me, self-care is like stretching before I run. I don’t think I need to stretch. I’ve never been injured during my decades of running, so stretching is for “other” people (never mind that I am in my 40s and that one day my legs will protest the mileage). Frankly, I’ve gotten away with this bad habit for too long–I’m on borrowed time.

    Self-care is similar: You don’t think you need to practice self-care until you’re injured (burned out).

    No one plans to become burned out. We say to ourselves:

    “I love my job too much to become burned out.”

    “I’m too strong mentally to ever let burnout happen to me.”

    “Burnout only happens to weak people.”

    “I cannot afford to factor in burnout.”

    “Burnout is for spoiled people.”

    Nope. That’s just not true.

    Burnout is swift and nondiscriminating. Symptoms of burnout are exhaustion, depression, cynicism, lack of motivation, and anxiety. It mimics major depression disorder, but it is not a medical diagnosis.

    Prevent burnout from hitting you by submitting to regular self-care.

    *Set boundaries on your time at work as well as time spent within the workday on meetings, conversations, and activities that are not necessary.

    *Get outside; take a walk; do desk chair yoga. Move during the workday.

    *Treat yourself. Bring your favorite tea or cozy blanket to work. Set a lunch date during the day.

    *We can only focus well for 45 minutes at a time, so allow yourself a mental break to think about something else. Make a quick grocery list; cross off items on your home to-do list, read a devotional; write a thank-you note.

    In Part 2 of Submit to Self-Care, I will explain how you can dig yourself out of burnout if you are already stuck.

    ****This post is not a substitute for medical care of advice. See your doctor or therapist.