You can’t pour form an empty cup: we’ve all heard it and we’ve all disregarded it in our everyday. I’ve noticed that lately the public eye has been turning towards preaching self-love and making us turn inside rather than out to figure out what’s wrong.
In my brief experience in HR I learned that one of the main reasons for people’s unhappiness is the fact that almost all of us almost all the time hover on the brim of burnout. And that’s a very important thing to be aware of. Burnout is something I have heard of and witnessed a few times and, well…. it ain’t pretty. In some cases, people actually die from it. Usually it’s occupational burnout that is most targeted by the media but that does not mean workaholics are the only ones prone to it. That being said, being present and aware of what you are doing and the surroundings you’re in is a key aspect of avoiding burnout.
And another big point of fighting back against potential burnout is self-love. Yes, I really think that what we loosely refer to as “loving yourself” is a very important factor in our personal line of self-defense. Because when you love something you are instinctively aimed at protecting it. And this is where we need to realize that thinking of – and taking care of – ourselves is not selfish. True, we may have kids or pets or lovers that need our protection and care as well but no one should take the first place but you. There, I said it. Because it’s a matter of survival in today’s world to take some time and breathe and do whatever the hell you want. And because keeping yourself sane and chill is what will enable you to care for others. And because you really can’t radiate ease and care if all you’ve got inside is anger and frustration.
Below are some of my go-to’s for finding your inner calm and caring for yourself better. And, of course, they all need to start with the willingness to do it. Sometimes in spite of other stuff.
Re-connect with yourself. We all know that we’re not perfect (but when has that stopped us from trying?!), but do we know who we are? I mean right now, not yesterday or 5 years ago: but now. We constantly evolve and change and so do our needs. And if in “taking time to do what you want” you turn to outdated clichés about yourself that you keep repeating over and over, you can’t expect that to feed you. Not really. Take time to connect with what you are now: stop and think about what you really want to do now. It might be totally different form what you used to do to relax earlier and figuring it out will be immensely rewarding.
Take time and pan it. OK, now that you know what you want to do for yourself, it’s time to do it. Take this seriously: plan it and stick to it as much as to anything else on your to-do list. If you don’t make effort for yourself you really can’t expect anyone else to do so. I confess, this one took me a while to figure out… We can’t continue kicking and punching with our last pang of energy and then expect others to magically re-charge us. You are your own battery: you decide what and you decide when: take responsibility for your well-being!
Fix what’s broken. Days and weeks and months without self-care can leave bruises; the tension builds up and you kind of get lost. Accept that in order to fix some of those things you might need something more: letting go of others for a day or two is fine, running and hiding under your childhood blankie is too: you decide which route to take. Take time with yourself and be patient: don’t intimidate yourself for how long it’s taking. Sometimes instead of just slapping on the band-aid and continuing to run is not the best option: we need to lie down and sneeze and sniffle through it.